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Book details of 'The Teeth of the Tiger'

Cover of The Teeth of the Tiger
TitleThe Teeth of the Tiger
Author(s)Tom Clancy
PublishedAugust 2003
PublisherPutnam Pub Group
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Score: score: 2.5 ***--  Vote for this book

The Virtual Bookcase Reviews of 'The Teeth of the Tiger':

Reviewer J. Nicolay wrote:
First of all, let me state clearly I've been a big Clancy fan since "The Hunt for Red October" -- in fact, up until the past couple of years, I picked them up in hardcover as soon as they were released. However, starting with "The Bear and the Dragon," I've noticed the quality of Clancy's work slipping, especially in the editing. "The Teeth of the Tiger" is no exception, and, to me, stands as Clancy's weakest effort to date. To begin with, I just can't get past his new character, John Patrick Ryan, Jr., ending up in the intelligence business. Given that you need a certain degree of anonymity to be a spook, it's ridiculous that Jack Jr. would ever end up at "The Campus." C'mon, this guy would be a celebrity a la JFK Jr. or Prince William in the People magazine/E! Channel/Internet age! If I were running the nation's blackest intelligence-gathering/wet-work outfit, somebody like Jack Jr. would be the last person I'd want to bring aboard -- I don't care how gifted an analyst he was! As depicted in "Teeth," Jack Jr. is the type of person who'd be hounded by paparazzi pretty much 24/7, and it'd be a matter of days before "The Campus" was on the front page/cover of every newspaper and news magazine on the planet. Meanwhile, throw in the fact that the two assassins who get hired just happen to be his cousins, and you end up with a scenario Clive Cussler would discard as being too far fetched. To the book's credit, the plot element of Middle East terrorists joining forces with Central American drug lords passes muster, and the segments involving Mohammad are up to a similar standard of some of his best work. But all told, "Teeth" is a pretty weak entry, especially since it's clearly the beginning of a new series. Here's hoping the sequel will recapture some of the qualities that made his earlier works such entertaining and thought-provoking novels. I know he has it in him.

Reviewer Rob Slade wrote:
It is interesting to note, reading the reviews on Amazon, that even die-hard Clancy fans are starting to lose faith. Clancy has moved from curmudgeon to outright maverick in this work. The plot doesn't just depend on bending the rules, but by going completely outside them and playing God. (In which regard, I'm fairly sure that quite a few Catholics would take issue with the assertion that as long as you *think* you are doing the right thing, God can't say anything about it.) The "good guys" luck out a lot, but are extremely sloppy, and any group that did operate in this manner would tend to kill a lot of innocent people. Despite crises of conscience (very brief ones), none of the characters in this tale are attractive or sympathetic: they all seem to be pretty thin. But that isn't what we are here to talk about. Clancy demonstrated in "The Bear and the Dragon" (see reviews) that he didn't understand cryptography, and he proves his lack of comprehension again here. Sun makes good workstations, but they aren't supercomputers. Single pass DES (Data Encryption Standard) has fallen to brute force attacks, but serious users have plenty of algorithms to choose from that haven't. Clancy has moved the myth of the NSA providing encryption standards with backdoors built into it slightly out of the house, but it's still a myth. (Yes, the NSA does have smart people, but the one time they did really try it, with the Clipper/SKIPJACK key escrow system, it failed. Ironically, the failure didn't lie in their ability not to get caught, since they were completely open about it, but in a weakness that meant the escrowing system could be broken.) As far as getting everyone to buy into a proprietary, unreviewed encryption system and use it pretty much universally for several years without anybody twigging as to what was going on, forget it. There are a number of players in the crypto market, everybody serious enough to study the field knows not to buy snake oil, and anyone following the security field at all knows that backdoors get found every day. Just because you use the same accounting system as someone else doesn't mean that you can read all their files. (In fact, if you are breaking in to someone's system, it is often easier to grab the data files themselves and process them with your own tools.) There is no discussion about getting access to files on remote systems at all: Clancy just seems to assume that it can be done. Admittedly, he is assuming a backdoor into Echelon, and assuming that Echelon can, in fact, collect all the transmission of voice and data anywhere in the world. (We'll leave that tall order for the moment, since it isn't inherently impossible, however unlikely.) The data under investigation, however, isn't in transit: it resides on a bank computer. This book has annoying errors in technology, flat characters, a shaky premise, and very little of the old Clancy flair. copyright Robert M. Slade, 2004

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Book description:

A man named Mohammed sits in a café in Vienna, about to propose a deal to a Colombian. Mohammed has a strong network of agents and sympathizers throughout Europe and the Middle East, and the Colombian has an equally strong drug network throughout America. What if they were to form an alliance, to combine all their assets and connections? The potential for profits would be enormous-and the potential for destruction unimaginable. In the Brave New World of terrorism-where anybody with a spare AK-47, a knowledge of kitchen chemistry, or simply the will to die can become a player-the old rules no longer apply. No matter what new governmental organizations come into being, the only truly effective ones are those that are quick and agile, free of oversight and restrictions . . . and outside the system. Way outside the system. In a nondescript office building in suburban Maryland, the firm Hendley Associates does a profitable business in stocks, bonds, and international currencies, but its true mission is quite different: to identify and locate terrorist threats, and then deal with them, in whatever manner necessary. Established with the knowledge of President John Patrick Ryan, "the Campus" is always on the lookout for promising new talent, its recruiters scattered throughout the armed forces and government agencies-and three men are about to cross its radar. The first is Dominic Caruso, a rookie FBI agent, barely a year out of Quantico, whose decisive actions resolve a particularly brutal kidnap/murder case. The second is Caruso's brother, Brian, a Marine captain just back from his first combat action in Afghanistan, and already a man to watch. And the third is their cousin . . . a young man named Jack Ryan, Jr. Jack was raised on intrigue. As his father moved through the ranks of the CIA and then into the White House, Jack received a life course in the world and the way it operates from agents, statesmen, analysts, Secret Service men, and black ops specialists such as John Clark and Ding Chavez. He wants to put it all to work now-but when he knocks on the front door of "the Campus," he finds that nothing has prepared him for what he is about to encounter. For it is indeed a different world out there, and in here . . . and it is about to become far more dangerous.

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