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The duelling Clancys

According to The Baltimore Sun, hometown hero Tom Clancy is heading to Maryland’s highest court today to do battle with Wanda T. King “ formerly Wanda Clancy “ over rights to a series of books that bears his name.

At issue is a lucrative series of a dozen books called Tom Clancy’s Op-Center “ a fictional U.S. anti-terrorist agency written in a Clancy-esque style and given muscular titles such as Op-Center: Acts of War and Op-Center: State of Siege. […] Clancy will fight to overturn a 2005 decision by a Calvert County Circuit Court judge giving [his ex-wife] control of [the] series.

While Clancy and former-friend-turned-business-adversary Steve Pieczenik are credited with creating the series, the bulk of the writing has fallen to a less exalted author named Jeff Rovin “ whose name can generally be found on the covers in much smaller print than Clancy’s. […] The famous writer apparently became disenchanted with the series after King walked away with an equal share of the Jack Ryan Limited Partnership as part of the couple’s divorce settlement. In an e-mail introduced as evidence in the case, Clancy said of the Op-Center books: “I don’t even read them.”

The most gossipy parts of the story are toward the end, when Sun reporter Michael Dresser looks back at the messy-sounding divorce that preceded all of this.

Tom and Wanda Clancy’s marriage of more than 25 years apparently began falling apart in 1995, when she filed for divorce charging that her husband had committed adultery with a New York woman nicknamed “Ping-Ping” whom he met over the Internet.


In the Calvert County trial, Clancy claimed he wanted to take his name off the Op-Center novels for business reasons. Among other things, he claimed that the books were not making money and were hurting his “literary reputation.”


Pieczenik quoted Clancy as vowing to kill the Op-Center series before he would give “another dollar” to King and describing her in terms that devoted family man Jack Ryan would never have uttered about the mother of his children.