Command Authority by Tom Clancy and Mark Greaney is the latest and most likely the last installment in the Jack Ryan series. It really needs no introduction. I found out that this would be the last novel from Tom Clancy since he’s not with us anymore. However, I feel that because of that fact, some users felt the need to give this book much higher praise than it really deserves. To put it in simple terms, this is not how I wanted to see the series to go out on. Although I am not as diligent as others in reading every single novel of the Jack Ryan universe, I have read enough to say that Command Authority is just too lackluster of a finish to what can be considered one of the best military novel series of all time. Is this the worst one in the whole series? I obviously can’t say for sure but I will have to say that Command Authority is on the bottom of my list when compared to all the other’s I’ve read.
Different country, same ol’ stuff. What I mean is that this time around, it is the Russians that gets to be portrayed as the “bad guys” while the US comes to rescue the day. Twist the story however the author feels like and what you get is usually the bad guys going down in the end while the good guys live to fight another day. Oops, I mean story. Usually that’s how it goes. In Command Authority, it tries to follow that same formula but oh man, you’re going to soon feel the heavy toll this book will bring. It is gigantic in length. As with most Tom Clancy novels, there will be small clashes here and there in the beginning but after a while, things start to escalate and you’ll be dragged right into the middle of it all.
What I liked most about past Clancy novels is that the author is not afraid to write in the eyes of the supposed enemy. It gets very boring and very fast when all authors do is tell the story through the eyes of the protagonist or the “good guys” group. Sadly, Command Authority didn’t give enough of the former. We are introduced to Roman Talanov right in the beginning and I had high hopes of reading more about this character as the story progressed. Well, that didn’t happen at all. And I mean nothing at all save for some bits here and there. The Russian president was portrayed as how I’m sure most people view “evil” government officials but again, I wished the author spent more time developing him instead of just giving the readers the normal go-around. That ultimately brings me to the another bad point. Command Authority is quite predictable. However, if you’ve read enough of these novels, I’m sure you can see where things will go at one point or another.
To add insults to injury, the flashback scenes that takes place about every other chapter that deals with Jack Ryan Senior is just another below average plot line that the author introduces in hopes of bringing to the readers some connection with the present day Jack Ryan Junior. It would have been much better if things were just cut more short instead of dragging out like how it was done here.
So what about the action? Well, I did like the tank battle during the beginning but there wasn’t much action after that scene for quite some bit. A lot of things we learn of happens after the fact and the mystery just continues rolling on and on. I also really liked the scene when they were trapped in the house and had no where to go. In fact, this scene was much, much more satisfying than the finishing action sequence. That actually felt rushed and it seems like the author was also fatigued himself when writing it. It definitely shows.
So what do I think of Command Authority in the end? To be honest, not much. This is definitely a bad way for the series to end in my honest opinion. Therefore, I’ll just have to forget about this novel and remember all the other good times I’ve had with the others. I don’t have to think too far back because I can clearly remember reading Threat Vector and it being much more superior than Command Authority in just about every single way.
Thanks Tom Clancy for all the hard work and effort you brought to the table with the Jack Ryan universe. Your writing and brilliant story telling will surely be missed by many.