Earlier this week we shared the dedication for Tom Clancy’s Op-Center: Out of the Ashes. That dedication has stood the test of time in the short time the series has been rebooted. Here is our Author’s Introduction to Tom Clancy’s Op-Center: Into the Fire:
The setting for Into the Fire is Northeast Asia, the center of enormous strife today and the cauldron where the next superpower confrontation could well take place. The issues causing discord in this region go back several millennia and it is unlikely they will resolve themselves in the next few years. Today’s fiction may, in every sense of the word, be tomorrow’s headlines. At the center of this story is North Korea. As Adam Johnson noted in the Reader’s Guide for his Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, The Orphan Master’s Son, “It is illegal for a citizen of the DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] to interact with a foreigner.” In a nutshell, this helps understand why North Korea is the most isolated nation in the world and why that nation’s decision-making is often completely unfathomable. Little wonder The Wall Street Journal called Johnson’s book, “The single best work of fiction published in 2012.”
Juxtapose this against the widely-heralded United States “Rebalance to the Asia-Pacific Region,” and you have the compelling ingredients for conflict—you don’t have to manufacture them. What North Korea does will continue to bedevil the United States—and the West for that matter—for the foreseeable future. The Hermit Kingdom remains the world’s most mysterious place. As a Center for Naval Analyses Study noted, “The Kim-Jong-un regime has not completely revealed itself to the outside world.” Not to put too fine a point on it, North Korea would likely qualify as one of former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld’s, “Unknown unknowns, the ones we don’t know we don’t know.”
North Korea is not new to the Tom Clancy Op-Center series. The first book of the original series, Tom Clancy’s Op-Center, was set in North Korea. The plot line for that book, published in 1995, had renegade South Korean soldiers setting off a bomb in Seoul during a festival and make it look like it was done by North Korea. Without putting too fine a point on it, the plot points of Tom Clancy’s Op-Center were skillfully manufactured two decades ago and the reader did not have to suspend disbelief to that great an extent. Now, with today’s confluence of similar geopolitical imperatives in Northeast Asia—with tensions between and among China, North Korea, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea and other nations in the region flaring frequently—Into the Fire readers will have no need to suspend disbelief. What is happening in North Korea today could become the world’s worst nightmare tomorrow.
Book signing today at Barnes and Noble Mira Mesa!