The teeth of the tiger

The Teeth of the Tiger
Side and front cover art for The Teeth of a Tiger.
First edition cover
Author Tom Clancy
Country United States
Language English
Series Jack Ryan universe
Genre Thriller novel
Publisher G. P. Putnam's Sons
Publication date 1 August 2003
Media type Print (Hardback)
Pages 480 pp (hardback edition)
ISBN ISBN 0-399-15079-X (hardback edition), ISBN 0-425-19740-9 (mass market paperback)
OCLC Number Dewey Decimal 813/.54 21
LC Classification PS3553.L245 T44 2003
Preceded by Red Rabbit
Followed by Dead or Alive

The Teeth of the Tiger is a thriller novel by Tom Clancy. Published on August 1, 2003, it is a part of the Jack Ryan universe, and follows the adventures of Jack Ryan, Jr., son of the original Jack Ryan, set in a post-9/11 world.

Plot summary

In Rome, a Mossad station chief is assassinated. The murder piques the interest of the Campus, an "off-the-books" intelligence agency situated in direct line-of-sight between the CIA and the NSA. A private military company, Hendley Associates, funds the Campus via stock market trades influenced by the captured intelligence data, thus removing federal oversight and allowing free rein in its operations.

Jack Ryan Jr., the son of former president Jack Ryan Sr., soon discovers the Campus' operations. Wanting to serve his country in the post-9/11 world, he is hired by the agency as an analyst. Elsewhere, Brian Caruso, a nephew of the former president, is a U.S. Marine returning from Afghanistan to be decorated for his achievements in battle. Dominic Caruso, his brother, is an FBI agent who, while investigating a kidnapping of a little girl, finds her in a tub raped and killed. Caruso kills the suspect, ostensibly in self defense after ordering the suspect at gun-point to pick up a knife (and thereby providing a "threat").

The Caruso brothers are soon recruited into a Campus strike team, chosen for their ability to kill enemies in cold blood. However, Brian is unsure of the morality of carrying out preemptive assassinations, even against terrorists. This changes when cells of Islamic fundamentalists cross the U.S.-Mexico border and attack several suburban malls. Brian and Dominic happen to be at one of the malls when the attack occurs. Although they efficiently find and dispatch all four shooters, dozens of people are killed; similar massacres occur at most of the other targeted sites. When a child dies in his arms after the attack, Brian abandons his earlier moral qualms. The Campus decides the brothers are ready and implements a "reconnaissance-by-fire" strategy to flush out the terrorist leaders.

To carry out the assassinations, the brothers are issued a weapon utilizing succinylcholine, developed by a Columbia University professor whose brother died in the 9/11 attacks. The succinylcholine is delivered through a hypodermic needle disguised as a pen. Twisting the nib switches the tip from a normal tip to a sharp needle that delivers 7 milligrams of the substance. Only 5 milligrams are necessary for death. The substance causes complete paralysis at 30 to 50 seconds and death at 3 minutes, shutting down all the muscles within the victim (including the diaphragm), with the exception of the heart. However, it makes the murder look like a heart attack, thus raising no suspicion.

Disguised as tourists, the team travels across Europe, finding and murdering several major players in the terrorist organization. The first three murders go off fairly routinely, the brothers are able to apply the syringe and quietly escape before the targets expire. For the fourth assassination, the brothers are joined by Jack Ryan Jr. Although originally present as an observer, Jack is forced to kill the target himself when a random accident spills wine on the brothers' suits, spoiling their anonymous appearance. After murdering the terrorist, Jack uses his hotel key to gain access to his computer, and downloads the entire contents for later analysis.


Hendley Associates (intelligence agency)

  • Jack Ryan, Jr. – protagonist, son of Jack Ryan, Sr.
  • Twin brothers Dominic "Enzo" Caruso and Brian "Aldo" Caruso, cousins of Jack Ryan, Jr.
  • Gerry Hendley – former senator and founder of Hendley Associates; friend of Jack Ryan, Sr.

The Organization (terrorist group)

  • "The Emir", an influential figure who heads the Organization; still at large.
  • Uda bin Sali, a terrorist banker/financier in the United Kingdom; killed by Brian.
  • Anas Ali Atef, terrorist recruiter in Germany; killed by Dominic.
  • Fa'ad Rahman Yasin, terrorist messenger in Austria; killed by Brian.
  • Mohammed Hassan al-Din, a high-level terrorist leader who varies his location, also is half-British which allows hims to disguise himself in any country in Europe; is the killer of Mossad agent David Greengold; killed by Jack Ryan Jr.
  • Muhmad, a terrorist of unknown rank, who witnessed the deaths of both Fa'ad and Mohammed.
  • 16 terrorists who attack 4 malls across the U.S. just to impose fear, four are killed by Brian and Dominic

The Cartel (immigrant smugglers)

  • Ernesto, the leader of the cartel, but most think he's part of a council, after giving permission to work with the terrorists, he and the cartel are not mentioned.

Critical reception

Like Red Rabbit,[1][2] Clancy's The Teeth of the Tiger was poorly received by critics.[3] Reviews for The Teeth of the Tiger have been "tepid at best."[3] The Washington Post described it as a "bloated, boring, silly novel"[4] with "inane dialogue, gossamer characterizations, endless repetition and bumper-sticker politics."[4] The St. Louis Post-Dispatch panned it as well, saying that the most positive thing about the book was that it was "mercifully briefer than its chronological predecessor in the Jack Ryan series.".[5][6] The San Antonio Express-News described the novel as "an acceptable thriller"[5] that is "an obvious attempt to reinvent the franchise [Clancy] has created."[5]

Controversy over use of real-life locations

The novel's depiction of violence in a real setting elicited a minor controversy among Charlottesville and Albemarle County, Virginia residents at the time of its release, as reported by Charlottesville weekly newspaper The Hook.[7] Charlottesville Fashion Square, a shopping mall in the Charlottesville area, serves as the setting of a multiple homicide by an Islamic terrorist in the story.[7][8][9] The scene includes accurate references to the mall's contemporary tenant stores, as well as to the University of Virginia.[9]

A spokesperson for Charlottesville Fashion Square told The Hook that the mall's operators were not pleased with the mall's inclusion in the book. Albemarle County Police chief John Miller indicated that he did not consider the novel a threat to the town.[7]


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