Tom Clancy Act of Defiance

Tom Clancy Act of Defiance

by Brian Andrews, Jeffrey Wilson

Narrated by Scott Brick

Unabridged — 17 hours, 1 minutes

Tom Clancy Act of Defiance

Tom Clancy Act of Defiance

by Brian Andrews, Jeffrey Wilson

Narrated by Scott Brick

Unabridged — 17 hours, 1 minutes

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Overview

Notes From Your Bookseller

The legacy of Tom Clancy lives on as Jack Ryan and US intelligence face new threats, known and unknown. Will they uncover a missing sub before it's too late?

A rogue nuclear Russian submarine is steaming toward the East Coast of the United States. For President Jack Ryan, memories of past events may seem stunningly vivid, but the dangers are terrifyingly real in the latest entry in this #1 New York Times bestselling series.

US intelligence is reporting turmoil in the Russian navy. Their deadliest submarine, the Belgorod, has unexpectedly launched, and taken along with it a long list of questions. Who authorized the departure? What mission is it on? And, most disturbing of all, what weapons do the giant doors on the sub's bow hide?

It's been four decades since a similar incident with the Soviet sub, Red October, ended happily, thanks to a young CIA analyst named Jack Ryan.

Now, President Jack Ryan finds himself with fleets of ships, squadrons of jets, and teams of SEALs at his command, but what he doesn't have is insight into the plans of the Belgorod's commander. It falls to a younger generation of Ryans to do the dangerous work that will reveal that information.

But there's always a price to be paid. When the final moments tick away, will Jack Ryan have to choose between the safety of his country and the safety of his child?

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Forty years after Tom Clancy’s genre defining debut novel, The Hunt for Red October, a new Russian submarine is moving west… Gripping and powerful, Act of Defiance is Andrews and Wilson at their best!  A fitting tribute to the master. Tom Clancy would be proud."
—Jack Carr, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Only the Dead
 
"Welcome back to Tom Clancy's world, where familiar and new characters untangle a conspiracy that threatens to light the world on fire. Andrews and Wilson pack in enough action for three books."
—Larry Bond, New York Times bestselling author of Arctic Gambit
  
“I expected a lot from Navy veterans Andrews and Wilson—and they exceeded every expectation! Tom Clancy Act of Defiance is a remarkable tale of political intrigue and high-seas adventure. Jack Ryan and friends are in capable hands.”
—Marc Cameron, New York Times bestselling author of Tom Clancy Command and Control

“Tom Clancy Act of Defiance slips into the Clancy franchise with the skill and deftness of the Dallas dropping into the baffles of the Red October. For long-time fans, the nostalgic moments hit all the right notes. For new readers, the gripping story features the latest tech but doesn’t overwhelm. For the purists, Andrews and Wilson write with the authentic voice and steady hand of men who have “been there, done that” in the real-world. In short, it’s a great read. I highly recommend it.”
—Mike Maden, New York Times bestselling author of Tom Clancy Enemy Contact

“If Tom Clancy was still alive, this is the book he’d write.  Author duo Andrews & Wilson give military thriller readers what they’ve spent 40 years longing for: a tale of submarine warfare that builds upon the seminal Clancy masterpiece, Hunt for the Red OctoberTom Clancy Act of Defiance is simply magnificent.”
—Don Bentley, New York Times bestselling author of Tom Clancy Weapons Grade and Forgotten War

“Echoes of Tom Clancy’s The Hunt for Red October reverberate four decades after the late author’s famous debut… Well-paced excitement as the Ryans come through again.”
Kirkus Reviews

Product Details

BN ID: 2940159609793
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Publication date: 05/21/2024
Series: Jack Ryan Series
Edition description: Unabridged
Sales rank: 200,071

Read an Excerpt

PROLOGUE
Tuesday December 21st, 1984
Nevsky Prospek
Leningrad, USSR
2231 Local Time
 
Dimitri Gorov resisted the compulsion to shove his hands into his overcoat pockets.
It wasn’t just the bitter cold making him tremble.
Fear was the true culprit.
Tonight’s clandestine, face-to-face meeting with his American CIA contact had been months in the planning. They had a simple brokered arrangement: information in exchange for freedom. In Dimitri’s coat breast pocket, he carried a microfilm roll containing the schematics and engineering details of the Red October—the Soviet Union’s most advanced and stealthy Typhoon class ballistic missile submarine. With its revolutionary “caterpillar drive,” the Red October would be able to slip undetected past the American’s undersea hydrophone arrays, past their SH-60 Seahawk helicopters with dipping sonar, and past their Los Angeles class fast attack submarines patrolling the Atlantic like sea wolves. This new submarine had cost the Kremlin tens of billions of rubles and was the product of a decade of research and design collaboration between the country’s greatest scientific minds. He took great pride in his contribution to the project, but pride didn’t change his station in life. Pride didn’t put quality food on the dinner table, buy his wife a fur coat, or give his son a chance to find greatness as a man.
Nyet…pride is a poor man’s compensation for following the rules.
Dimitri had grown weary of following the rules.
A blast of artic air buffeted him as he trudged west toward the city center. The metaphor was not lost on him. Even at this late hour, the Rodina bullied him, trying to turn him back. Jaw set, he undid the fur lined earflaps on the top of his wool ushanka and knotted the ties under his chin. As if in response to his obstinance, a streetlight flickered and went dark as he made his way along Nevsky Prospekt. Leningrad’s main promenade, and quite possibly the most famous of all streets in the Motherland, was utterly abandoned. Only the desperate or deranged would be out at this hour and in this weather, and the thought brought a fatalistic smile to his face.
Which one am I? Probably both…

He’d lived in Russia his entire life, but this was his first visit to the city formerly known as St. Petersburg. Originally named after Saint Peter, not Peter the Great which was a common misconception, the city was the most western and cosmopolitan of all Russian cities. It was often compared to Venice, due to the city’s many rivers and canals, but Dimitri had never traveled outside of the Iron Curtain, so who was he to validate this claim? Regardless, Leningrad was beautiful, even blanketed in snow. He’d arrived earlier in the day by train with his wife and son at Moskovsky Station—named as such, he presumed, because in Russia all roads lead to Moscow. They’d taken a walk along Nevsky Prospekt while the sun had been up and the city had been bustling. The architecture bespoke a bygone age—an era of Tsars and prosperity—when hotels, opera houses, and even apartment buildings were designed to compete with palaces.
A lifetime of conditioning under the tenets of communism at first made him scoff and resent such waste, but the beauty and possibility advertised by such design quickly crept into and excited his bitter heart. This bygone city, eclipsed and barely persevering in the shadow of communism, represented but a fraction of the wealth and opportunity he would find in the West. In America, the land of prosperity and dreams, he and his family would eat meat every night. They would buy Levi’s blue jeans, wear comfortable shoes, and Alina could go to a salon to have her hair done every week. But the thing he looked forward to the most was living in a house with central heat.

In America, we will finally be warm…
            Squinting into the wind, he spied the landmark he was looking for ahead—grand equestrian statues flanking the eastern entrance to the Anichkov Bridge. As he approached, the Horse Tamers came into focus— four sculptures, depicting men in the various stages of breaking a stallion, had been commissioned by Emperor Nicolas I and sculpted by Pyotr Karlovich Klodt. On Dimitri’s side of the street, a bare-chested, kneeling horse master pulled against the reigns of a rearing stallion. Despite not being an actual sculptor himself, Dimitri did consider himself an artist. Where Klodt was a sculpture of bronze, Dimitri was a sculpture of iron and titanium. Where Klodt depicted man overcoming nature, Dimitri’s art literally empowered his fellow man to tame the sea. At this very moment, Marko Ramius and his crew were traversing the depths of the cold and unforgiving North Atlantic. Inside the Red October, they were warm, provisioned, and immune to both wave and weather. But take away the metal and the machine, and they wouldn’t last a day.
            “I would have liked to have gone to sea on my creation,” he murmured, as he approached and stared up into the wild eyes of the rearing stallion, “if only for a day, it would have been enough.”
            He’d met the Captain at the Red October’s christening ceremony. Handsome and self-assured, imposing in his black and gold parade naval officer’s uniform, Ramius had almost been too intimidating to approach. But Dimitri had mustered his courage and introduced himself to the man. Ramius’s handshake had been firm as iron, but it was the submarine captain’s dark and penetrating eyes that had unnerved Dimitri—eyes that seemed to peer beneath the flesh and into the inner workings of Dimitri’s soul. In that moment, he’d felt judged and stripped naked, as if Ramius had extracted his secret plan to betray the homeland with merely a look. Then, something unexpected had happened. Ramius had thanked him, acknowledging the engineer’s attention to detail, his ingenuity, and the thousands of hours Dimitri had spent working tirelessly on the design of the Red October.
            “It is the finest warship in the Soviet fleet,” Ramius had said with a stoic nod.
            “Thank you, sir,” Dimitri had said, with a stoic nod of his own.
            “Exceptionally quiet, plenty of power, and armed to the teeth.” But then, with a wry smile, the sub driver had added, “my only complaint is that she is so bloated she changes depth like a crippled whale. Maybe you can fix this flaw in the successor class, da?”
            “That is good to know…I will make a note of this,” Dimitri had said, and that had been the last time they’d spoken.
            I almost feel bad for him, Dimitri thought, imagining the intrepid sub captain patrolling the ocean depth with false confidence, believing his ship and crew to be immune to detection. Once I give these data to the Americans, they will know how to find you, Marko.
A dribble of snot from his nose ran onto his top lip—pulling him back from his romantic ruminations, to the new journey he had planned for himself— and he wiped it away with a finger of his glove. He pulled back the cuff of his coat sleeve to check the time on his wristwatch, which read 11:42 pm. The time for daydreaming about the future and reminiscing about the past was over. In three minutes, his contact would meet him under the southernmost arch of the bridge, where they could talk in shadow. Dimitri was no spy and no student of tradecraft. Nor was he a managed asset of the CIA, indentured to a life of espionage where he would be expected to supply a steady stream of information to the Americans. He’d refused that offer outright from the beginning. His betrayal would be a one-time event. Reilly could either take it or leave it.
The CIA man had taken it, without a moment’s hesitation.
Dimitri resisted the urge to look behind him. He’d not seen anyone following him, but that meant nothing. The KGB was an omnipresent threat. They could be watching him right now, from behind curtains in apartment buildings or through the windows of darkened parked cars. He’d had taken great risks bringing his family with him to Leningrad. If he was caught, the price he and his loved ones would pay was too horrific to contemplate. Alina and Konstantin would be tortured and executed, but not Dimitri. Not right away. His penance would be to watch. Only after they’d murdered his heart, would the KGB sadists go to work on the rest of him. He shuddered and pushed the grim thoughts from his mind. He was in the end game now, which meant he had no choice but to bring them with him. After handing over the schematics, the CIA would orchestrate their defection. Dimitri didn’t know how they planned to get him and his family out of Leningrad, but Markus Reilly had assured him that they had done it safely many times before.
            He wiped his nose again.
Now that it had started running, it wouldn’t stop until he got indoors and warmed up.
Annoyed, he turned south, crossed Nevsky Prospekt, and walked down Fontanka River Embankment road. After a hundred meters, he reached a set of stone steps leading down to the riverbank and boat dock. The Fontanka was completely frozen and the icy crust was covered in several centimeters of snow, marred by numerous tracks and footsteps going every which way. Apparently, walking the frozen river was a winter novelty enjoyed by both young and old, because Dimitri saw footsteps both small and large. The calculating engineer in him hesitated before putting a foot on the ice, questioning if it would bear his weight, but then he chided himself. The empirical evidence was right before him. Hundreds of people had taken a stroll on the frozen waterway and walked away dry and safe.
This is the least dangerous thing you’ll do today, you fool, his inner voice said, laughing at him.
With a sniff, he stepped onto the frozen river and turned back to the north. The Anichkov Bridge had three shallow arches, each spanning an equal third of the river. He walked along the bank toward the easternmost arch where Reilly would be waiting bathed in absolute shadow. Heart pounding, he shuffled his numb, booted feet over the ice. Not until he’d stepped under the arch and into the darkness could he make out the crouching figure in the center of the hollow with his back to the sloping wall of the bridge.
“I’m hungry and cold. Can you spare a ruble or two?” the figure said, turning his head to look at Dimitri.
This was the challenge-response phraseology that Dimitri had expected to hear. His own answer would dictate how the meeting went. In the event he suspected being compromised or failed to recover the plans, he was supposed to say, Nyet, I have none to spare, comrade, and keep on walking. However, that was not the case tonight, so he used the other option.
“Life is difficult, comrade, but tonight I am feeling generous.”
The figure stood.
Dimitri walked over to greet him, but his heart sank the instant Reilly’s features came into focus. Something was wrong.
“Do you have the item?” the CIA man asked in Russian. Dimitri’s English was terrible, so all communication was conducted in his native tongue.
“Da,” he said but made no move to retrieve the cannister from where it was hidden in a false pocket inside his coat. “Have you made all the necessary arrangements?”
The American hesitated a moment before delivering the most crushing news of Dimitri’s life. “Go home,” Reilly said, his weight betraying his own disappointment. “The deal is off.”
The words hit Dimitri like a punch to the solar plexus, and he suddenly felt ill.
“What? I…I don’t understand?” he stammered.
“I know and I’m sorry, but it’s out of my hands. This came down from the highest level.”
“Why? This information changes everything for your country.”
“We don’t need the schematics anymore.”
“But of course, you do. You will never find the Red October without these data…and without me.”
“I probably shouldn’t be telling you this, Dimitri, but with your clearance level I’m sure you’re going to find out soon enough. Ramius defected. He’s provided us with everything we need to know about the Red October,” Reilly said and from the look in the CIA man’s eyes, Dimitri knew it was true.
His American dream shattered, the Russian engineer stood unmoving, as if his feet had become absorbed by the ice. “But I brought my family…”
“I know.”
“I risked everything for you.”
Reilly nodded solemnly. “For what it’s worth, I want you to know that I lobbied for you, and so did the station chief, but we got overruled. The risk reward calculus has changed, and the higher ups don’t want to risk our defection chain or you and your family’s lives for information we already have. If we part ways now, you go back to your life and your job and everything will be fine. As far as we can tell, you’re not compromised.”
“American bastard,” Dimitri said, his voice more growl than speech. “Fuck you and your lies and false promises. I should have known. I’m so stupid.”
Reilly pressed his lips into a hard line.
What was that expression? Defeat? Shame?
Dimitri could see that the man’s eyes had gone wet, but American pity meant nothing to him. If he’d had a pistol, he would have shot the man. He turned and walked back the way he’d come without another word or a backward glance. Just like before, his hands trembled, but this time instead of fear, anger was the driver. His son, Konstantin didn’t know the real reason they’d traveled to Leningrad, but his wife did. How could he face her like this?
Rage blind, he trudged backed to the hotel where they were staying.
With each step his fury grew.
This is Ramius’s fault. How could such a man defect? He is a naval captain!
He stopped abruptly in his tracks.
The Red October was on patrol. It had left Polyarynyy on December 3rd and was not due to return for months. How could the captain defect at sea? How was such a thing possible?
“Unless…Ramius surrendered the Red October,” he murmured, stunned instantly at even the possibility of such an act. “I offer them the plans, and he gives them the ship—this is the only thing that would make the Americans back out of our deal. How could he do such a thing to me? He’s cheated me, and my wife, and my son of our future. And the Americans…they made me a promise!”
What happened next unfolded in a blur—his normally analytical engineer’s mind a tempest of rage, denial, and shattered hope. He arrived at the hotel and told Alina everything, oscillating between shouting and sobbing as he did. He was vaguely aware that his ten-year-old son Konstantin was listening, vaguely aware that he should not be saying such things in front of the boy who idolized him, but Dimitri was not himself. Nor was he himself when he drank a half a bottle of vodka, stormed out of the hotel room, and wandered the streets of Leningrad in the middle of the night mumbling about the injustice of life and God and country. And when he decided that he would find the American CIA man and broker a new deal, he mistakenly wandered out onto the Neva river…confusing it for the much smaller Fantanka.
When the ice cracked and gave way beneath his feet, Dimitri sobered instantly in surprise and dread.
 The current took him, dragging him unseen and unforgivingly beneath the crust toward the Gulf of Kronstadt. As the cold, black nothing took him, Dimitri breathlessly cursed Marko Ramius, the American CIA, and his own rash stupidity.

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