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For many readers, Jack Ryan embodies the essence of the modern American hero. Morally centred, disciplined, humble yet powerful, Ryan (and his onscreen incarnations in Alec Baldwin and Harrison Ford) has made Tom Clancy one of the most popular writers in the world. But while Clancy has constructed the Ryan mythology, he has also quietly established his shadow double, John Clark. Appearing in The Cardinal of the Kremlin, Clear and Present Danger and Without Remorse, Clark has many of Jack Ryan's most appealing traits, but he is also a darker figure embodying the more paranoid sensibilities of the late nineties. As is made clear from the opening pages of Rainbow Six, ex-Navy SEAL Clark and his colleagues believe violent, deadly force to be the best deterrent for terrorism. Clark (a. k. a. Rainbow Six) has left the CIA to create an England-based organisation code-named Rainbow". Its mission: deploy an elite squad of American operatives combined with handpicked British, French and German agents to stop terrorism in its tracks. Rainbow's emergence could not be more timely: in quick succession, the force diffuses three attempted terrorist actions. But Clark becomes suspicious when Russian agents suddenly show interest in Rainbow's work. Rainbow Six appeals on all the levels that Clancy fans could hope for. The Rainbow operatives, from Navy SEALs to German mountain-leader school graduates, are rendered to inspire with their physical and mental prowess. The book is infatuated with the latest gadgets for scrambling, transmitting and decoding secrets. And, in a carefully woven narrative that simultaneously traces the Rainbow team, a former KGB agent named Popov, the Australian Olympic security team and a sinister group of American scientists, Clancy artfully reveals the mystery of "Shiva" at the centre of the novel. How does Clark measure up against Jack Ryan? He may be the perfect hero for a world with hidden villains. --Patrick O'Kelley --"