Books: Sitting Duck PATRIOT GAMES

by Tom Clancy Putnam; 540 pages; $19.95

Out strolling during his London vacation, an ex-Marine named Jack Ryan hears an explosion and sees a Rolls-Royce disabled by the blast. Armed men approach the car, clearly intending harm to its passengers. Ryan singlehanded puts a stop to this nefariousness, suffering a shoulder wound in the process. Next morning in the hospital, he learns that he has rescued the Prince and Princess of Wales from a terrorist attack by the U.L.A., a Maoist offshoot of the Irish Republican Army.

Pretty soon the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh arrive to pay their respects, telling Ryan that his wife and young...