More spy intrigues on an international scale

Book review by Sebastian Lim

Title: Tom Clancy’s Support And Defend

Author: Mark Greaney

Publisher: Penguin Books

ISBN: 9781405919296

Support And Defend is a novel focusing primarily on Dominic Caruso and The Campus, written by series co-author Mark Greaney.

It continues the saga of young Dominic Caruso, who has worked for the FBI and gained exceptional skills in the intelligence sector. He now spends his time working for a secret US intelligence unit that operates completely off the books and is known simply as The Campus.

The focus for this thriller clearly reflects the newspaper headlines. Specifically, its content is still relevant irrespective of the timeline. Especially on issues surrounding leakages of highly sensitive secrets and the damages caused to the country.

Caruso is faced with just such a situation in Support And Defend, which opens with a prologue that depicts an incident on a ship off the coast of India. A militant group of the Palestinian political organisation Hamas has infiltrated the ship and targeted the captain for death. The group fulfils their deadly promise and awaits martyrdom as a result of their actions. This event will be tied to others later on.

Meanwhile, Caruso is dealing with the grief of losing his twin brother in an operation two years earlier and has chosen to study the martial arts technique Krav Maga under the guidance of a former Israeli special forces officer. This peaceful practice is shattered when a group of Middle Eastern terrorists storm the home of Caruso’s mentor, killing his entire family in the process.

Caruso eventually returns home to the United States, deeply shaken and seeking revenge for the murder of his friends. His own investigation into these events leads him to one man, Ethan Ross, an operative in the intelligence game working as a mid-level staffer for the National Security Council.

Seeking to jumpstart his career, Ross has decided to share top-secret information with members of the media. This includes the names and locations of all US intelligence operatives working around the world. If this information, now located in an electronic device called a “scrape,” were to fall into enemy hands, the results would be devastating.

Caruso realises that this leaked information is what targeted his Israeli colleague for death, and that may be only the beginning.

In true Tom Clancy fashion, Greaney weaves a political firestorm of a thriller that finds Caruso chasing down Ross from the US to the Caribbean and eventually to Geneva, Switzerland. The action is nonstop, and Support And Defend contains all the prerequisite political details Clancy fans have come to expect and enjoy.

Kudos to Greaney for keeping the story going while also blazing out his own path. President Jack Ryan is only briefly referred to and the focus is mainly on Dominic Caruso in a tale of vengeance and global intrigue.

It’s by-the-numbers stuff, with the requisite villainy, continent-hopping, décolletage, neat tools and cliffhangers. But, of course, that’s just what Clancy’s fans read him for, and Greaney manages to carry on that entertaining tradition seamlessly.

Sebastian Lim is an experienced journalist and editor who now runs his own book review blog — The views expressed here are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent that of The Weekly-Echo.