The World’s Crises Spots

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When our first re-booted Op-Center book, Tom Clancy’s Op-Center: Out of the Ashes, made the New York Times and other best-seller lists, it put the bar high for the second book of the series, Tom Clancy’s Op-Center: Into the Fire. That book didn’t disappoint, and also-gained best-seller status right out of the shoot.

This week, Tom Clancy’s Op-Center: Into the Fire was released for the first time as a mass market paperback. Tom Clancy’s Op-Center: Out of the Ashes is already out as a mass market paperback. We expect demand for both books to continue to be strong. Why? Because the kind churn in today’s world says we still need heroes – heroes like those serving in our military and other government services who go “downrange” to protect the freedoms we hold so dear. Here is how we put it in the Dedication to Tom Clancy’s Op-Center: Out of the Ashes:

Decades ago, Winston Churchill famously said, “We sleep safely at night because rough men stand ready to visit violence on those who would harm us.”  More contemporaneously, in the 1992 film, A Few Good Men, in the courtroom dialogue, Colonel Nathan Jessup (Jack Nicholson) responds to an aggressive interrogation by Lieutenant Daniel Kaffee (Tom Cruise) with, “We live in a world that has walls, and those walls have to be guarded by men with guns…Because deep down in places you don’t talk about at parties, you want me on that wall. You need me on that wall.”

This book is dedicated to the selfless men and women – in and out of the military – who toil and sacrifice in obscurity so we may sleep safely at night.  They receive no medals or public recognition, and few know of their risks, dedication, and contributions to our security.  They endure lengthy – and repeated – deployments away from their families.  Yet they stand guard “on the wall” for all of us, silently, professionally, and with no acclaim.

And we’re happy out professional colleagues who are best-selling writers of military thrillers are high on these books. Here is what Jeff Edwards, bestselling author of The Seventh Angel and Sword of Shiva, had to say:

Op-Center is back with a vengeance!  OUT OF THE ASHES isn’t just a reboot of the Op-Center series; it’s one of the best techno-thrillers to hit the shelves in a long time.  Dick Couch and George Galdorisi have just raised the bar for military adventure fiction.  Suit up, strap in, and hang on, because you’re in for one hell of a ride.

Read more about Tom Clancy’s Op-Center: Into the Fire (available now in mass market paperback) and other books in the series here:

http://www.georgegaldorisi.com/blog/books-blog

Tom Clancy and the Future

Tom Clancy

Few writers have been so universally recognized as being prescient about the future than Tom Clancy. Even years after his untimely death in 2013, fans and observers all over the world still marvel at his ability to see more clearly into the future than most of us could ever hope to. He had a knack.

Tom Clancy’s complex, adrenaline-fueled military novels spawned a new genre of thrillers and made him one of the world’s best-known and best-selling authors. When Clancy died in October 2013, one of the most celebrated authors of our generation no longer walked among us.

Many people had – and continue to have – diverse options about Tom Clancy. However, most agree, above all else, he was prescient about the future of geopolitics, intelligence, military operations and emerging technology and weaponry. In his own words:

I hang my hat on getting as many things right as I can. I’ve made up stuff that’s turned out to be real — that’s the spooky part.

Tom Clancy also left a gift for aspiring writers with words that are as important today as when he said them years ago He said none of his success came easily, and he would remind aspiring writers of that when he spoke to them:

I tell them you learn to write the same way you learn to play golf. You do it, and keep doing it until you get it right. A lot of people think something mystical happens to you, that maybe the muse kisses you on the ear. But writing isn’t divinely inspired — it’s hard work.

Op-Center: Back with a Vengeance

Out of the Ashes

When St. Martin’s Press decided to reboot Tom Clancy’s Op-Center series, we were all eager to see what these key reviewers thought of the first new book out the chute: Tom Clancy’s Op-Center: Out of the Ashes. Here is what Booklist’s Jeff Ayers had to say:

“Tom Clancy’s Op-Center books (12 in all) were popular, but the series ended after the last one was published in 2005. Now, almost 10 years later, St. Martin’s has resurrected Op-Center with this offering from coauthors Couch and Galdorisi. A series of terrorist attacks at NFL stadiums during games causes havoc, and the president’s response does little to restore confidence. He realizes the time has come to reestablish the Op-Center, a group known for its unmatched SWAT, computer, and infiltration skills. The recruitment process takes up the beginning third of the novel and proves surprisingly compelling. Once the team is up and running, the operation to strike back at the terrorists begins. Couch and Galdorisi are veteran military-thriller authors, and they show their talents here. Op-Center fans will be pleased to have the series back and will look forward to more installments in the future.”

And what pleased us even more, were the comments some of the best known military fiction writers had to say about Tom Clancy’s Op-Center: Out of the Ashes.

From New York Times best-selling writer Larry Bond:

“The U.S intelligence agencies have spent billions since 9/11 learning how to “connect the dots.” But what if there are only one or two dots? Out of the Ashes is a smoothly written story by two authors who understand the inner workings of U.S. intelligence, government, and the military, and tell a frightening and exciting tale about a very new, but also a very old, threat.”

From New York Times best-selling writer Stephen Coonts:

“Thriller addicts like me devoured every Tom Clancy’s Op-Center tale.  Now they are back, intricately plotted, with wonderfully evil villains and enough realistic military action and suspense to ruin a couple of night’s sleep.  Highly recommended.”

Read more about Tom Clancy’s Op-Center: Out of the Ashes (available in trade paperback and mass market paperback) and other books in the series here:

http://www.georgegaldorisi.com/blog/books-blog

Life Imitates Art

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Our first book in the rebooted Tom Clancy Op-Center series Tom Clancy’s Op-Center: Out of the Ashes lived up to the predictions Publisher’s Weekly, Booklist, Library Journal, Kirkus and others had, and made the New York Times and other best-seller lists. The second book of the series, Tom Clancy’s Op-Center: Into the Fire also received positive reviews. Here is what Booklist had to say about the book:

“Op-Center runs outside government channels, keeping tabs on potential threats to the U.S. beyond the purview of the conventional agencies. A North Korean general and his family are killed in an apparent robbery, but, in fact, it is the first step in a developing coup. Then a U.S. naval vessel, the USS Milwaukee, is engaged in exercises near the South Korean border when the ship’s commander is accused of violating North Korean territory, and the boat is attacked. The Op-Center team initiates a rescue of the survivors, but the mission requires that the group sneak in, make sure the Milwaukee is scuttled before the North Koreans grab it, and rescue the soldiers—all without starting a war. A secret treaty between North Korea and China involving a potential source for oil only makes the mission even more crucial. This is a top-notch military thriller, combining politics, suspense, and action. Couch and Galdorisi continue to make the Clancy brand shine.”

Read more about Tom Clancy’s Op-Center: Into the Fire (available in trade paperback now and mass market paperback on May 3) and other books in the series here:

http://www.georgegaldorisi.com/blog/books-blog

Are Book Reviewers Prescient?

Out of the Ashes

While the book publishing industry has undergone seismic changes over the last decade, one thing that hasn’t changed is the symbiotic relationship between the major publishing houses and the most well-known book reviewers: Publisher’s Weekly, Booklist, Library Journal, and Kirkus are among the most well-known and well-respected.

When our publisher – St. Martin’s Press – decided to reboot Tom Clancy’s Op-Center series, we were all eager to see what these key reviewers thought of the first new book out the chute: Tom Clancy’s Op-Center: Out of the Ashes, – and by extension – the new series.

Our overarching goal with the rebooted Op-Center series – beyond telling a story with a great plot, compelling characters, and plenty of action – was to continue the Clancy tradition of being prescient about the future of international relations, intelligence, the military and all the rest. And we hoped the initial reviews of our Op-Center books would be prescient about how well the series would sell.

We weren’t disappointed.  Here’s what Publisher’s Weekly had to say about Tom Clancy’s Op-Center: Out of the Ashes:

“Fans of the original Op-Center series created by Tom Clancy and Steve Pieczenik that ended with Jeff Rovin’s War of Eagles (2005) will welcome this solid continuation from Couch (SEAL Team One) and Galdorisi (Coronado Conspiracy). The original Op-Center, “an information clearinghouse with SWAT capabilities,” fell under the budget ax and was disbanded, but after a horrific series of bombings at four NFL stadiums, U.S. president Wyatt Midkiff decides to dust off the Op-Center file and bring the group back to life. Chase Williams, a retired four-star Navy admiral, agrees to head the new center and hunt down the terrorists responsible for the devastating attack. The trail takes the men and women of the revitalized agency into the Middle East, where they find a new plot aimed at the American homeland. This thriller procedural packs plenty of pulse-raising action. The open ending promises more to come.”

And Tom Clancy’s Op-Center: Out of the Ashes lived up to the advance billing, landing solidly on the New York Times, USA Today and other best-seller lists!

Read more about Tom Clancy’s Op-Center: Out of the Ashes (available in trade paperback and mass market paperback) and other books in the series here:

http://www.georgegaldorisi.com/blog/books-blog

Life Imitates Art in Northeast Asia

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As we move through 2016, what many predicted has finally happened – North Korea continues to scare us to death. We foreshadowed this in our second book of the re-booted Tom Clancy: Op-Center series, Tom Clancy’s Op-Center: Into the Fire. Not many understand what is at the root of the emerging crises in Northeast Asia. Life imitates art as we show in Into the Fire .

Booklist is a book-review magazine that has been published by the American Library Association for more than 100 years, and is widely viewed as offering the most reliable reviews to help libraries decide what to buy and to help library patrons and students decide what to read, view, or listen to. Booklist’s reviews singled out Tom Clancy’s Op-Center: Into the Fire for high praise. Their review struck a chord for readers as well as for libraries who have ordered both books. The phenomenon of the rebooted Op-Center series is catching on for a wide audience.

Here is what Booklist’s Jeff Ayers said about Tom Clancy’s Op-Center: Into the Fire:

Op-Center runs outside government channels, keeping tabs on potential threats to the U.S. beyond the purview of the conventional agencies. A North Korean general and his family are killed in an apparent robbery, but, in fact, it is the first step in a developing coup. Then a U.S. naval vessel, the USS Milwaukee, is engaged in exercises near the South Korean border when the ship’s commander is accused of violating North Korean territory, and the boat is attacked. The Op-Center team initiates a rescue of the survivors, but the mission requires that the group sneak in, make sure the  Milwaukee  is scuttled before the North Koreans grab it, and rescue the soldiers—all without starting a war. A secret treaty between North Korea and China involving a potential source for oil only makes the mission even more crucial. This is a top-notch military thriller, combining politics, suspense, and action. Couch and Galdorisi continue to make the Clancy brand shine

And coming soon…the next installment of the Op-Center series: Tom Clancy’s Op-Center: Scorched Earth.

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Life Imitates Art in the Mideast

Out of the Ashes

As we enter 2016, what many feared for the Mideast has finally happened.  We predicted this turn of events in our first book of the rebooted Tom Clancy: Op-Center series, the book, shown here, Tom Clancy’s Op-Center: Out of the Ashes. Not many understand what is at the root of the enmity between nations in the Gulf.

We wrote the first book of the series in 2012 and had Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the greater Mideast in our sights. Now life imitates art. We were especially pleased Publisher’s Weekly focused on how the novel had life imitating art.

Fans of the original Op-Center series created by Tom Clancy and Steve Pieczenik that ended with Jeff Rovin’s War of Eagles (2005) will welcome this solid continuation from Couch and Galdorisi. The original Op-Center, “an information clearinghouse with SWAT capabilities,” fell under the budget ax and was disbanded, but after a horrific series of bombings at four NFL stadiums, U.S. president Wyatt Midkiff decides to dust off the Op-Center file and bring the group back to life. Chase Williams, a retired four-star Navy admiral, agrees to head the new center and hunt down the terrorists responsible for the devastating attack. The trail takes the men and women of the revitalized agency into the Middle East, where they find a new plot aimed at the American homeland. This thriller procedural packs plenty of pulse-raising action.

And here is what one of the most well-respected thriller writers of our generation, Stephen Coonts, had to say about Tom Clancy’s Op-Center: Out of the Ashes:

“Thriller addicts like me devoured every Tom Clancy’s Op-Center tale. Now they are back, intricately plotted, with wonderfully evil villains and enough realistic military action and suspense to ruin a couple of night’s sleep. Highly recommended.”

Read more about that book, Tom Clancy’s Op-Center: Out of the Ashes here:

http://www.georgegaldorisi.com/books/out-of-the-ashes

Fiction and Future Wars

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Late last year, the Atlantic Council published an anthology of short fiction and graphic art it curated during the first year of its Art of Future Warfare Project. Entitled War Stories from the Future, the collection makes good on the project’s ambition “to advance thinking [about] the future of warfare [by] cultivating a community of interest in works and ideas arising from the intersection of creativity and expectations about how emerging antagonists, disruptive technologies, and novel warfighting concepts may animate tomorrow’s conflicts.”

Writing in a forward to the anthology, Gen. (ret.) Martin Dempsey, recently retired chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, commends the book’s ten stories for their “power to develop the professional imagination.”

On no topic do these war stories more powerfully engage the imagination than human-machine collaboration, which Deputy Secretary Bob Work calls “the big idea” now animating the Defense Department’s pursuit of a third offset strategy to mitigate deterioration in conventional deterrence. “We will go after human-machine collaboration,” Work said, “by allowing the machine to help humans make better decisions faster.” What Work described as the “building blocks” of this collaboration—learning machines, automated systems, machine-assisted human operations, human-machine combat teaming, and autonomous weapons—are the very wonders and worries of War Stories from the Future.

As one would expect, the book depicts an array of cool machines and futuristic capabilities. A renegade pilot wears haptic gloves to command a spaceplane from the ground station of her college dormitory. The Internet of Things goes awry in the violent crash of autonomous streetcars in Seoul and the fatal hacking of a certain president’s pacemaker in Moscow. Tattoos stream data, robotic EMTs rescue the wounded and 3-D printers fabricate an airborne arsenal literally on the fly.

And women play decisive roles. Commanding palm-sized drones from a cubicle 5,000 mi. away, Karin renders real-time intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance to two female lieutenants defending a desert city against insurgents. Claire coordinates police interventions on Britons who exhibit a genetic tendency toward radicalization. A small, dark-haired woman holding an ambiguous shopping bag stands defiantly (or threateningly or perhaps plaintively) before a monstrous armored vehicle in the middle of a sunbaked highway.

Still, the compilation’s deeper insights arise from its ruminations about the complex relationship between humans and the machines of future war. While robotics and autonomy spare human flesh in these stories, the remote operations they enable also turn soldiering into a profession of physical isolation and spiritual alienation. Big-data computations drive action by helping humans make good, speedy decisions faster, but the great drama in these stories still turns on the heroic, tragic, and comic consequences of human choices.

The novelist Frederick Pohl, author of The Space Merchants, once wrote, “A good science fiction story should be able to predict not the automobile but the traffic jam.” So, too, in War Stories from the Future: It is the messy, odd coupling of “human-machine combat teaming,” not their elegant symbiosis, that will do the most to inspire professional imagination about the third offset strategy.

More here on the Atlantic Council’s War Stories from the Future:

http://www.atlanticcouncil.org/publications/books/war-stories-from-the-future

Arrows in the Night

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Ahmad Chalabi died late last year. Most people don’t recognize his name. Until three years ago, neither did I. That was before I wrote a review of the book Arrow’s in the Night for the U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings. If there is one book that helps explain why, in 2016, the United States in still mired in the Mideast, it has my vote. Here is part of what I wrote:

Only a handful of people, those in the top policymaking positions in the United States’ government in the years – and even decades – prior to OIF, understand why the United States ultimately went to war to depose Saddam Hussein. Until now.

Arrows of the Night takes the reader on a half-century journey beginning with Chalabi’s exile from Iraq in 1958, to the American invasion of Iraq in 2003, to Chalabi’s work in post-Saddam Iraq. This journey is both complex and compelling as the primary subject, Ahmad Chalabi, has a larger-than-life resume of triumphs and scandal including a degree in mathematics from MIT, a doctorate from the University of Chicago, work as a university professor and a wildly-successful banker, a conviction for embezzling, and work as a CIA operative.

Throughout this journey, in all his occupations and avocations, Ahmad Chalabi maintained a singular focus – and as Bonin describes – an obsession, to overthrow Saddam’s Ba-athist regime and return to his Iraqi homeland in a blaze of glory. This was his strategy, and everything else was tactics. While the United States ultimately might have gone to war in Iraq again under the George W. Bush administration to finish what his father’s administration had not, without Ahmad Chalabi, the last half–century relationship between the United States and Iraq – and indeed the entire Middle East – would likely have been vastly different had this complex and complicated man never been exiled from Iraq, or had he merely lived quietly in exile.

This, in a nutshell, describes Ahmad Chalabi’s journey, which began in 1958 when his wealthy Shiite family was exiled from Iraq after a revolution that ultimately put Saddam Hussein in power. It describes how the young Chalabi devoted his life to restoring his family to prominence. His first coup attempt was in 1963 at age nineteen, while on a school break from MIT. His next was aided by Iranian intelligence. But as the years passed and Saddam stayed in power, Chalabi came to realize that he needed the United States to help him rid Iraq of Saddam. Only the world’s superpower could make this happen.

More on Ahmad Chalabi’s journey in this New York Times article here:

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/04/world/middleeast/ahmad-chalabi-iraq-dead.html?_r=0

And in this New York Times Op-ed here:

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/05/opinion/why-america-invented-ahmad-chalabi.html

Advance Praise for Into the Fire

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Just a few months ago, Tom Clancy’s Op-Center: Into the Fire was released for the first time as a trade paperback publication. The first book in the series, Tom Clancy’s Op-Center: Out of the Ashes received high praise from all the traditional book reviews. Into the Fire continues in the same tradition. Here is what Publisher’s Weekly had to say about Into the Fire:

Couch and Galdorisi’s stirring sequel to 2014’s Out of the Ashes pits Cmdr. Kate Bigelow, captain of the USS Milwaukee, and her crew against North Korean naval and special forces units intent on seizing the ship, which has been conducting training exercises in the sea off South Korea. The North Koreans have found vast undersea energy deposits in international waters and have made a secret deal to sell them to the Chinese. Taking the ship hostage will give them leverage against the U.S., which will surely oppose this deal. Bigelow proves to be a formidable foe, managing to outrun and outgun her North Korean adversaries. She runs the Milwaukee aground on the small island of Kujido, sets up a defensive base, and settles in to wait for friendly forces to come to the rescue. Tasked with that mission is Chase Williams, director of the secret Op-Center, who with other elements of the U.S. military attempt to pull off a daring, skin-of-the-teeth operation. A terrorist attack on the United Nations provides an exciting coda.

Stay tuned to this website for more on Tom Clancy’s Op-Center