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Clandestine Operations Books In Order

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Publication Order of Clandestine Operations Books

By: W.E.B. Griffin, William E. Butterworth IV
Top Secret (2014)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Assassination Option (2014)Description / Buy at Amazon
Curtain of Death (2016)Description / Buy at Amazon
Death at Nuremberg (2017)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Enemy of My Enemy (2018)Description / Buy at Amazon

Clandestine Operations is a series of historical military fiction novels written by W.E.B. Griffin. The books follow the exploits of an army veteran who is charged with heading the organization that will eventually become the CIA.

+The Story
W.E.B. Griffin has written a lot of military fiction over the years. The author’s stories are inspired by his own experiences in the army. Griffin joined the military in 1946. He did a lot of counter-intelligence work, making quite the name for himself.

Griffin got a bit of a reprieve after he left the army and started college but then the Korean War started and he was drawn back into the fray as a correspondent. Eventually, civilian life came knocking but Griffin never stopped walking within the circles of the military, so much so that when he finally sat down to produce fiction, no one was shocked when W.E.B. Griffin began to churn out military novels.

Griffin’s Clandestine Operations series actually picks up where the author’s previous Honor Bound series left off. The Honor Bound books began publication in the early 1990s. They took readers into the heart of the Second World War, exploring the internal struggles that assaulted the Nazi Party as the war escalated.

By the time the events of ‘Top Secret’, the first Clandestine Operations novel, come around, the War has ended. The series throws the spotlight on James D. Cronley Jr., a second lieutenant with a squeaky clean record.

With the Second World War having only come to a close a few weeks ago, Cronley is waiting with baited breath for the next great military challenge when his superiors in the government come knocking.

The Second World War might have ended but the West is no safer than it was during Hitler’s campaign. The guns and the tanks have fallen silent but a new enemy has emerged, one more cunning and even more vicious than the Germans.

The Soviet Union cannot be allowed to cement its grip over Europe. And that is where Cronley comes into play. Cronley’s superiors promote him to the position of Chief of Directorate of Central Intelligence, deploy him to Europe and task him with frustrating and harassing the Soviets wherever the opportunity arises.

The organization that Cronley has been charged with creating, structuring and leading will eventually become the Central Intelligence Agency. And the people spearheading the enterprise expect Cronley to prove the necessity and efficacy of their project by punching holes through the Soviet campaign.

However, the United States Government is a fractured organism, and some of its more powerful figures, the likes of J. Edgar Hoover are determined to oppose Cronley’s efforts, largely uncomfortable with the air of secrecy that surrounds the operations of the precursor to the CIA.

Cronley is assured that he has the backing of the President, with Truman now convinced that the CIA could become the perfect alternative to the OSS which had been disbanded.

Yet Cronley has to contend with the fact that the backing of the president is not the same thing as the protection of the president; if things were to ever go wrong, if the worst ever came to pass, especially in light of Cronley’s encounters with foreign agents in the field, he would have only his wits and abilities to rely on.

The Clandestine Operations series is spent following Cronley about as he maneuvers the political and military challenges of his new mission. While Cronley’s primary enemy is the Soviet Union, his missions keep drawing him into encounters with German soldiers and operatives and, in particular, former Nazi agents.

A number of characters from the Honor Bound books appear in the Clandestine Operations series. However, one does not need to read the Honor Bound series to understand the Clandestine Operations series.

In fact, all the Clandestine Operations books are designed to stand on their own. The author goes to great lengths to provide background information on every character and plot thread in any given installment that might have its roots in previous novels.

This approach is often appreciated by new W.E.B. Griffin fans but heavily criticized by his longtime followers that have read all his works and, thus, hate the fact that he spends entire pages and chapters narrating information they already know.

These criticisms might explain the complaints against the length of the Clandestine Operations books that sometimes emerge. It has been suggested that the novels are not only much longer than they need to be but that they also drag in some places, especially the first half.

The fact that Griffin spends so much time divulging background information might explain the drag. It is also worth mentioning that Griffin’s military novels are known for their taut action and adventure, so the fact that he spends so much of the Clandestine Operations series delving into the various relationships and politics at play does not impress his longtime readers.

Griffin writes the clandestine novels with his son William E. Butterworth IV.

+Top Secret
WWII only ended a few weeks ago but James Cronley, a second lieutenant already has a new assignment. His bosses want him to head a new project that will eventually become the CIA.

One war might have ended but a new one has already started, this time against the Soviet Union. James’ superiors want him to frustrate them any way he can. He only has a few days to accomplish his first mission. He must get the job done without unnecessarily riling up his superior officers.

+The Assassination Option
James Cronley did rather well on his first mission. And he got all the right sort of attention. He even got a promotion out of the ordeal. Unfortunately, now everyone wants a piece of him.

J. Edgar Hoover, in particular, wants to know more than Cronley can tell him about his first successful operation. Cronley must find a way to keep all the interested parties, not just Hoover but the Soviets, at bay.

This is as he discovers the existence of an alliance between Mossad and a former German Intelligence Chief, not to mention the emergence of a German family connection he did not know existed.

Book Series In Order » Characters » Clandestine Operations

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