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Tom Clancy's Dreamiest, Most Purple-y Prose

In between bursts of gunfire, blaring submarine sirens, and the clack of spy gadgets, Tom Clancy, who died this week at age 66, often exposed himself as a little bit dreamy, a lot philosophical, and desperately in need of a thorough edit. Some of his attempts to wax philosophical are so comical that Amazon reviewers have taken to posting the choicest bits, like the reader who points out this gem from Netforce: "Lust reared its head inside Tyrone. At the same time, fear dried his mouth to a consistency roughly that of a pile of bones left to bleach in the Gobi desert sunshine."

Below, the most delightfully purple Tom Clancy prose we’ve had the pleasure of reading.

Ideas are important. Principles are important. Words are important. Your word is the most important of all. Your word is who you are.”

― Clear and Present Danger 

Of all human lamentations, without doubt the most common is, If only I had known. But we can't know, and so days of death and fire so often begin no differently from those of love and warmth.”

― Debt of Honor 

Life was such a strange thing, so permanent when one had it, so fleeting when it was lost- and those who lost it could never tell you what it was like, could they?”

― The Bear and the Dragon

Clark embraced Ryan in the way that men do only with their wives, their children, and those with whom they had faced death.”

― Clear and Present Danger

Being a victim is more palatable than having to recognize the intrinsic contradictions of one's own governing philosophy.”

― The Hunt for Red October 

In the right-front seat, Colonel Johns put his grief away into a locked compartment that he would later open and experience to the full. But for now he had a mission to fly.”

― Clear and Present Dange