Tom Clancy and the 'Long-Awaited' Novel

In Entertainment, Uncategorized on April 8, 2010 at 7:50 am

There’s already a lot of hype about Wednesday’s announcement that Penguin will publish Dead or Alive, a new Tom Clancy novel on December 7th.

The New York Times cleverly points out that this novel — which promises most, if not all, of Clancy’s best known characters, is a lot like the rock super-groups of the 70s and super-hero groups like the Avengers.

Much of the coverage, though, focuses on how this is Clancy’s first novel in seven years:

as The Bookseller said in their headline, “Penguin to publish first Clancy in seven years”

or as Crain’s New York Business put it: “Tom Clancy to write again.”

Not say that Clancy doesn’t deserve the attention. He is, after all, the author of 13 New York Times Bestsellers and Penguin plans an initial press run of 1.8 million copies.

What I find curious is how Clancy is suddenly the author of a long-awaited new novel, a characterization that would put him in the category of the acclaimed Lorrie Moore, whose new novel A Gate at the Stairs came out last year — 15 years after her previous novel


Joseph Heller, who waited more than a decade to follow up Catch-22 with Something Happened

or people like Ralph Ellison and JD Salinger, who never published second novels.

He’s not even really like Dan Brown, who waited six years after The Da Vinci Code to publish a follow-up.


Because while Clancy hasn’t technically written a new novel in seven years, he has become a virtual publishing industry, overseeing dozens of books and vidogames by other writers with characters he’s created.

There’s Tom Clancy’s Op-Center books, Tom Clancy’s Net Force books and, of course, Tom Clancy’s Net Force Explorers and the Tom Clancy’s Power Plays books.

And, let’s not forget the dozens of  Tom Clancy-driven videogames including the Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six series, , the Tom Clancy’s Ghost Reecon Series and the Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell series.

While I have no doubt that the CEO of Penguin UK Tom Weldon was right when he said “We can’t think of a better Christmas present than the return of one of the world’s greatest thriller writers, Tom Clancy. This will be a huge piece of event publishing,” let’s be clear that this isn’t the return of say, Donna Tartt or Henry Roth.

I’m sure he won’t have an trouble selling the 1.8 million-copy first run and probably more and maybe he’ll be able to buy another baseball team

I’m jut saying you really have to be gone for us to have really missed you.

  1. I would like to expand upon your statement that he “oversees” dozens of books and properties. Even for the books he does write, he has a staff of researchers. I don’t know how big it is, but even one is more researchers than any other fiction writer I know, and probably the non-fiction writers, as well.

    The startling depth of his military/intelligence knowledge (including classified matters) was what originally attracted devoted fans to him from that community, but I wonder if those readers would feel the same way if they knew other people were filling in the details for him.

  2. […] Tom Clancy and the ‘long-awaited’ novel ( […]

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