When the U.S. learns that the Russians are on the verge of deploying a fully functional "Star Wars" missile defense system, well-known Clancy protagonist Jack Ryan is sent to extract the "Cardinal," a highly placed Soviet spy with critical knowledge. The action in this ambitious and boldly plotted thriller ranges from the Soviet war in Afghanistan to the Oval Office. Originally published in 1988, this is Clancy at his best, and narrator Michael Prichard's understated and crisp delivery keeps listeners fully engaged. A tale that makes longtime spy genre fans yearn for a return to the Iron Curtain era. Highly recommended.-Ray Vignovich, West Des Moines P.L. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.