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Out of the Ashes (Op-Center #13)

Tom Clancy's Op-Center: Out of the Ashes - Tom Clancy, Tom Clancy, George Galdorisi, Dick Couch, Steve Pieczenik

The combination of the refocusing of intelligence after 9/11 and Congressional budget cuts shuttered the original Op-Center, fifteen years later after the worst terrorist attack since 9/11 the new President decides to reestablish it.  Out of the Ashes by Dick Couch and George Galdorisi relaunched Tom Clancy’s Op-Center series as former four-star admiral Chase Williams is tapped by a new President to relaunch Op-Center to avenge the latest terrorist attack and work to prevent the next one.


A rich Kuwaiti couple are assaulted in New York by upset Giants fans after a game resulting in the wife being braindead, her husband hires a Indonesian engineer/terrorist-for-hire that results in a attacks on four NFL stadiums and hacked other stadium’s PA to cause panic.  In the wake of thousands of dead, the new President and his National Security Advisor decide to reform Op-Center are surprised when Paul Hood turns them down only to learn he has ALS, but did bring his recommended pick former Admiral Chase Williams who the President approves after along discussion.  It takes Williams three months to get a skeleton version of Op-Center up and running with the focus on the Kuwaiti and the Indonesian who are taken out by Joint Special Operations Command team under Op-Center’s control.  Almost a year and a half later, a Saudi prince in charge of a oil pipeline through Jordan and Syria finds the new Syrian government an obstacle and decides to have the U.S. get rid of it.  Hacking a military drone, he makes it appear that the Syrians have missiles that can take out the newly arrived U.S. carrier group which sets off the U.S. military to begin planning an attack on Syria.  The new leader of Syria goes to Iran to ask for help and the new Grand Ayatollah mines the Strait of Hormuz adding fuel to the Saudi prince’s plan.  However, a civilian analyst realizes there is issue with the drone footage and send it to her former colleagues at the NRO who agree and determine the site is in Saudi Arabia but the captain of the ship she is on refuses to send the information up the chain of command.  However, Op-Center intercepted the emails and redirected their JSOC team from investigating Syria to the site in Saudi Arabia only for the civilian analyst and a Navy helo pilot to take it upon themselves to go to the site and get shot down by the prince’s on-site leader and captured.  The JSOC team rescues the two women, “interview” everyone on the site, and send the information to Op-Center which is sent to the White House stopping all plans for an attack on Syria.  But the President orders a strike on Iran’s mining capabilities, which results in the Iranian leader to order a Sarin attack in Washington as retaliation.  Even though Williams warns the FBI Director repeatedly, the attack still occurs.  After Williams gives the President the information his team had collected, the President orders the death of the Grand Ayatollah and destroys the Iranian navy as retaliation.  The civilian analyst loses her job and the helo pilot her wings, but both are recruited by Op-Center.


The book suffered not from two authors but two different stories that could have each made a good book being shortened and mashed together.  This resulted in the actual Op-Center portions of the book being shafted with only Chase Williams the only character connected with it being given depth and character interactions shown being stilted and dry in comparison to the scenes in the Middle East were the characters and dialogue were more rounded and livelier. Yet despite the mashed together stories, Couch and Galdorisi did one other “mistake” and that was the helo pilot and civilian analyst’s rogue trip seemed more Hollywood than reality which the author’s were at pains to portray actually though there was a goal in mind as seen at the end of the book though it had been telegraphed the entire second half of the book.  Yet the book was fast moving and kept the reader interested if you were able to figure out quickly that it was essentially set up for the future books.


Out of the Ashes restarts the Op-Center franchise though a book that contained two stories that would have been good books on their own but were forced together by either the decision of the authors or by the publisher.  Dick Couch and George Galdorisi gave an interesting preview of what they might bring the series though it could also very easily make one not continue given the issues with the book.