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Review: Tom Clancy's Against All Enemies

This review of Tom Clancy's 'Against All Enemies' is a special to Blackfive from Elise Cooper. Read her reviews on Blackfive by clicking here or the Books category in the sidebar.

Tom Clancy’s latest novel, Against All Enemies, is a New York Times Bestseller.  This is not surprising since the plot is both interesting and timely. Clancy, along with Peter Telep, combine a plausible scenario, the War on Terror and security along the Mexican border.

The plot begins when a terrorist bombing in Pakistan eliminates an entire CIA team except Max Moore, a CIA paramilitary operations officer and ex-Navy Seal.  Moore seeks revenge by finding the terrorist cell responsible for these actions.   In this action packed thriller, Clancy intertwines two plots.  One involves Moore overcoming a nightmarish incident in his Seal past while the other has Moore leading a group of operatives from different agencies, such as FBI, DEA, ATF, BORTAC Border Patrol, and the CIA, in an effort to disband the main Mexican drug cartel and stop a terrorist plot. What makes the plot so fascinating is Clancy’s ability to show how America’s national security could be threatened by the forging of an unholy alliance between two major enemies, the Mexican drug cartel and the Taliban. Throughout the book there are explanations on why the drug cartels are so powerful and the different types of organizations that have to be combated to win the war on drugs.

He also explores the out of hand brutality in Mexico.  The reader through the depiction of the violence is able to understand what is all too real.  An excellent quote from the book shows some of the cruelty “…Mexican Federal Police lying in blood pools, some brutally gunned down, others with their throats slit…two dozen immigrants who’d had their heads chopped off…the cartels know no bounds.”

Most of the characters in the story play a secondary role to the plot.  However, the main character, Max Moore, is well developed.  The reader is able to understand his innermost feelings as well as his job, life, desires, and haunting thoughts.  He clearly details Moore’s feelings that in the military he found a sense of brotherhood. In addition Clancy is able to realistically portray through strong conversational dialogue the dangers and attitudes of CIA operatives.  Sonia Batista, is a supporting character, who will hopefully play a larger role in the next book with her bubbling, intelligent personality.  She is a CIA operative who will do anything to ensure a successful mission, including literally getting in bed with the enemy.

In this book the technical realism did not overtake the plot or the characters.  Those readers who are novices will not get frustrated with the minute details of technology; yet, there are enough technical explanations for those who desire it.  Speaking of technology there is a great quote for those frustrated, at times, by the new technological world: “Perhaps these Americans were so hypnotized by their technology that not even a shoulder-fired missile launch right beside them would be enough to pry them away from their apps and games…After all, they strolled through shopping malls like zombies, staring blankly into the tiny screens clutched in their hands, never looking up…”

If you want to understand the threat of terrorism and the drug cartels to America this novel is a must read.  Although seven hundred plus pages, it is such a fascinating story that the reader flies through it, not ever wanting to put it down