September 08, 2003 12:00 PM

By Tom Clancy

Jack Ryan Jr. and his two cousins Brian and Dominic Caruso have been recruited by a secret organization known as the Campus. Set up by a former U.S. senator with deep pockets, the Campus is privately funded and “doesn’t exist.” Bye-bye, bureaucracy. Jack Jr., 23, whose dad, the ex-President, doesn’t appear this time, is hired to track terrorists by following their e-mails. Once the terrorists have been identified, Jack’s cousins will deal with them in a decidedly proactive manner.

Clancy’s look at counterterrorism is educational as well as visceral; he can walk you through the spy game—even its hardware, like computers and digital phones—with a conversational ease. There is more fact than fantasy here, and it has the brisk pacing of, well, a Tom Clancy novel. (Putnam, $27.95)

BOTTOM LINE: Plenty of bite

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