Dead or Alive (novel)

Dead or Alive is a techno-thriller novel, written by Tom Clancy and co-written with Grant Blackwood, and released on December 7, 2010. It is Clancy's first novel in seven years after The Teeth of the Tiger (2003), and follows the hunt by The Campus for "the Emir", a Middle Eastern terrorist based on Osama bin Laden. It unites several characters from the Ryanverse, including former president Jack Ryan, his son Jack Ryan Jr., his nephews Dominic and Brian Caruso, and Rainbow Six veterans John Clark and Domingo Chavez.[1] The book debuted at number one on the New York Times bestseller list.[2]

Dead or Alive
First edition cover
AuthorTom Clancy with Grant Blackwood
Audio read byLou Diamond Phillips
CountryUnited States
  • The Campus
  • Jack Ryan
PublisherG.P. Putnam's Sons
Publication date
December 7, 2010
Media typePrint (Hardcover, Paperback), Audio
Preceded byThe Teeth of the Tiger 
Followed byLocked On 

Plot summary

Most wanted terrorist Saif Rahman Yasin, known as the Emir, secretly enters the United States by private plane. Having altered his physical appearance and living in the state of Nevada, he coordinates his massive operation as leader of terrorist organization Umayyad Revolutionary Council (URC), codenamed Lotus. It aims to weaken the current presidential administration with a series of seemingly isolated terrorist attacks and culminating in the destruction of the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository, using a nuclear device assembled from radioactive material stolen from an abandoned nuclear waste storage site in Russia, in order to poison the water table for the western United States.

After successfully foiling a hostage situation in the Swedish embassy in Tripoli, John Clark and Domingo Chavez are forcibly retired from their duties in the CIA and Rainbow. They are then recruited into The Campus, where they take part in the organization's hunt for the Emir, which spans through Sweden, Pakistan, Canada, and Libya. They suffer a tragedy when operative Brian Caruso died due to injuries sustained during a firefight with his brother Dominic against URC terrorists in Tripoli. After further investigation and at one point cooperating with National Counterterrorism Center deputy head and Clark's longtime friend Mary Pat Foley, The Campus later deduce that the Emir is in the U.S.

Meanwhile, former president Jack Ryan is working on his memoirs and initially refusing to speak out against his successor, Ed Kealty. When he finds out that the Kealty administration are planning to prosecute U.S. Army Ranger Sam Driscoll for murdering sleeping Middle Eastern terrorists in a cave during their fruitless search for the Emir, he decides to announce his candidacy for President of the United States in the next election. After the announcement, charges against Driscoll are dropped and he was given an honorable discharge. Clark later recruits him into The Campus. Additionally, Ryan finds out that his son Jack Ryan, Jr. is working for The Campus as an analyst, which he reluctantly accepts.

URC terrorists destroy a Petrobras oil refinery outside São Paulo, Brazil and trigger a series of attacks on small towns across the United States. Jack and Clark later thwart the destruction of a cargo ship carrying flammable material, killing the Indonesian perpetrators tasked by the URC. Chavez and Dominic are sent to Brazil in order to investigate the refinery incident and later capture a URC courier, who reveals that the Emir is in the U.S. and coordinating the attacks. Along with Clark and Jack, they proceed to Las Vegas to apprehend him, preventing him from blowing up the Yucca nuclear waste storage facility in the process. After returning to Virginia, they interrogate him by injecting him with succinylcholine and simulating a heart attack, allowing him to confess his crimes and reveal the plans behind Lotus, which involves the cooperation of Pakistani intelligence in conquering the country and securing their nuclear inventory (to be continued in the next novel Locked On). After a day of interrogations, the Emir was covertly given by The Campus to the FBI in order to be imprisoned and charged by due process of law.


The Campus

  • Gerry Hendley: Director of Hendley Associates / The Campus
  • Jerry Rounds: Head of intelligence
  • Sam Granger: Head of operations
  • Rick Bell: Head of analysis
  • Jack Ryan, Jr.: Analyst
  • Dominic Caruso: Operations officer
  • Brian Caruso: Operations officer
  • Gavin Biery: Head of IT
  • John Clark: Operations officer, former Rainbow commander and ex-CIA officer
  • Domingo “Ding” Chavez: Operations officer, former Rainbow team leader and ex-CIA officer

Umayyad Revolutionary Council

  • Saif Rahman Yasin (the Emir / John): Leader
  • Shasif Hadi: Courier of one-time pads used by the URC for covert communication, later takes part in the Petrobras refinery incident in Brazil
  • Citra and Purnoma Salim: Indonesian fugitives in charge of the destruction of the cargo ship Losan at Newport News, Virginia
  • Kersen Kaseke: Malaysian agent in charge of the Claymore mine attack on a church in Waterloo, Iowa
  • Dirar al-Kariim: Operations officer in charge of an unsanctioned siege of the Swedish embassy in Tripoli, later hanged and decapitated by the URC as punishment

Other characters


After the lukewarm reception of his novel The Teeth of the Tiger (2002), Clancy took a break from writing fiction for seven years. Dead or Alive was announced by publisher Penguin Group in a press release on April 7, 2010. Penguin USA president David Shanks stated: "Tom’s genius for telling a story with exceptional realism and cutting edge authenticity are his hallmarks as a writer. In his latest novel, he turns up the tension between U.S. forces and their most lethal rivals.” Several characters from the Ryanverse such as Jack Ryan, John Clark, and The Campus were brought together in what was dubbed "the All-Star Team".[3][4]

A book trailer was released on November 4, 2010.[5] Clancy promoted the novel in a video discussion with retired U.S. Air Force general Chuck Horner, which was released on December 3, 2010.[6] Dead or Alive was launched by the Yeomen Warders and the Red Devil paratroopers at the Tower of London on the eve of its eventual release.[7]

Osama bin Laden

The book was notable for its antagonist the Emir and his terrorist organization Umayyad Revolutionary Council, which were based on real-life terrorist Osama bin Laden and his group al Qaeda. It also inspired the idea that special forces units hunting for a terrorist like bin Laden are more likely to find him living in comfort, rather than in a cave in Pakistan or Afghanistan. This was proven true when bin Laden was captured and killed by the U.S. Navy SEALs in his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan on May 2011, five months after the novel was published.[8][9]



The book debuted at number one on the New York Times bestseller list.[10] In addition, it debuted at number three on the USA Today's Best-selling Books list.[11] Two years later, the mass-market paperback edition of the book peaked at number four on the New York Times bestseller list.[12]


The book received average reviews. Publishers Weekly lauded it, saying that "Clancy is back at the top of his game." [13] The Los Angeles Times was slightly less generous, calling it "sprawling but propulsive." [14] Kirkus Reviews gave it a mixed review, stating: "If reality were a comic book or a Stallone script, this would be a useful road map. As it is, it’ll be gobbled up like a Happy Meal, Ronald Reagan’s 'perfect yarn' franchised into neatly packaged commodity."[15]


  1. "Tom Clancy's 'Dead or Alive' to feature all-star list of Clancy characters". The Independent. Retrieved 25 October 2018.
  2. "The New York Times bestseller list for December 26, 2010" (PDF). Retrieved 25 October 2018.
  3. "DEAD OR ALIVE - New Tom Clancy Book Release Date". Book Equals. Retrieved 8 November 2018.
  4. Flood, Allison. "Tom Clancy heroes join forces against terror menace". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 November 2018.
  5. "DEAD OR ALIVE by Tom Clancy". YouTube. Retrieved 8 November 2018.
  6. "Tom Clancy, Dead or Alive: Discussion w/'Chuck' A. Horner, retired Air Force general 9780399157233". YouTube. Retrieved 8 November 2018.
  7. "Book Launch of Tom Clancy's Dead or Alive". Shotsmag Confidential. Retrieved 8 November 2018.
  8. Summers, Nick. "Tom Clancy's 'Dead or Alive': Did It Predict the Osama Raid?". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 8 November 2018.
  9. Matthews, Christopher. "4 Real Life Events Predicted by Tom Clancy". Time Magazine. Retrieved 8 November 2018.
  10. "Hardcover Fiction Books - Best Sellers - December 26, 2010". The New York Times. Retrieved 4 December 2018.
  11. Deutsch, Lindsay. "Tom Clancy made a splash with 7 No. 1 books". USA Today. Retrieved 4 December 2018.
  12. "Paperback Mass-Market Fiction Books - Best Sellers - October 28, 2012". The New York Times. Retrieved 4 December 2018.
  13. "Starred Review, Dead or Alive". Publishers Weekly.
  14. "Book review, Tom Clancy's Dead or Alive". Los Angeles Times.
  15. "DEAD OR ALIVE by Tom Clancy". Kirkus Reviews. Retrieved 8 November 2018.
This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.