The name “Tom Clancy” is known far beyond publishing circles; Clancy’s name is well known in both the film and gaming industries.
Blockbusters made from Clancy’s books like Hunt for Red October, The Sum of All Fears, and Clear and Present Danger have starred some of Hollywood’s biggest A-listers, including Morgan Freeman, Harrison Ford, Ben Affleck, and Sean Connery.
Ubisoft (a video game company) realized how influential the Tom Clancy tag was in action video games, so they just started stamping Tom Clancy on almost all of their action games.
As far as espionage and military science fiction novels are concerned, Tom Clancy was a trendsetter, redefining and expanding the genre while creating a blueprint for the present-day espionage/military/action writer.
So, here’s a dedication to a godfather, an article with all of Tom Clancy’s books listed in order, reviews/summaries of his top five books, and more.
Let’s get started.
Top 3 Tom Clancy Books
Who is Tom Clancy?
Tom Clancy was born on April 12, 1947, in Baltimore, Maryland. Tom was the third child of Thomas Clancy, a mail carrier for the United States postal service, and Catherine Clancy, who worked in the credit department of an Irish-American-owned store.
Tom Clancy grew up in Northwood, Baltimore, Maryland, and attended Loyola High School in Towson, Maryland. He went to Loyola University Maryland (known as Loyola College at the time), from which he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English literature.
Clancy had fulfilled his lifelong dream by joining the army reserve officers training corps, but he couldn’t serve due to his poor eyesight. That setback didn’t deter him from researching the many facets and dealings of the armed forces and military technology, an interest that would make him one of the greatest writers of his generation.
After graduating from Loyola College in 1969, Clancy went on to work for an insurance agency in Hartford, Connecticut, and got married that same year. He married Wanda Thomas King in 1969, an eye surgeon who was a nursing student at the time. They were married until 1996. At the time of their separation, they had four children: three daughters and a son.
Clancy started working for an insurance agency called The O.F. Bowen Agency. He would go on to purchase the agency in 1980, which also happened to have been founded by Wanda’s grandfather.
He had always dreamed of writing a novel, and it was during this time that he began writing them. He wrote The Hunt for Red October and sold it to the Naval Institute Press, which published it on October 1, 1984.
The novel was a huge success, earning huge praise from critics and famous readers, including President Ronald Reagan. After Reagan’s praise, more than 2.5 million copies of the book were sold, and it became a national bestseller. That launched Tom Clancy’s career, and he became one of the most sought-after authors. He also met several high-ranking officers in the U.S. military who were admirers of his work.
Tom Clancy Books In Order of Publication
Jack Ryan & Jack Ryan Jr. Books in Publication Order
- The Hunt for Red October (1984)
- Patriot Games (1987)
- The Cardinal of the Kremlin (1988)
- Clear and Present Danger (1989)
- The Sum of All Fears (1991)
- Without Remorse (1993)
- Debt of Honor (1994)
- Executive Orders (1996)
- Rainbow Six (1998)
- The Bear and the Dragon (2000)
- Red Rabbit (2002)
- The Teeth of the Tiger (2003)
- Dead or Alive (With Grant Blackwood) (2010)
- Locked On (With Mark Greaney) (2011)
- Threat Vector (With Mark Greaney) (2012)
- Command Authority (With Mark Greaney) (2013)
- Support and Defend (By Mark Greaney) (2014)
- Full Force and Effect (By Mark Greaney) (2014)
- Under Fire (By Grant Blackwood) (2015)
- Commander-in-Chief (By Mark Greaney) (2015)
- Duty and Honor (By Grant Blackwood) (2016)
- True Faith and Allegiance (By Mark Greaney) (2016)
- Point of Contact (By Mike Maden) (2017)
- Power and Empire (By Marc Cameron) (2017)
- Line of Sight (By Mike Maden) (2018)
- Oath of Office (By Marc Cameron) (2018)
- Enemy Contact (By Mike Maden) (2019)
- Code of Honor (By Marc Cameron) (2019)
- Firing Point (By Mike Maden) (2020)
- Shadow of the Dragon (By Marc Cameron) (2020)
- Target Acquired (By Don Bentley) (2021)
- Chain of Command (With Marc Cameron) (2021)
- Zero Hour (By Don Bentley) (2022)
Best 5 Tom Clancy Books
1. The Hunt for Red October (1984)
In Tom Clancy’s debut novel, we’re introduced to Jack Ryan, a CIA analyst. The story follows a Soviet nuclear submarine commander on his journey to the United States.
Jack Ryan, a CIA operative, thinks the command is not a threat but a future U.S. ally. Having communicated his theory to his superiors, he has been assigned the task of keeping the Russian submarine off American territory, and he must find out the commander’s intentions before things get out of hand.
Meanwhile, Marko Ramius, the submarine commander has to convince his superiors that the sub has been sunk because he intends to defect to the U.S.
The novel was groundbreaking, gave the readers the blueprint for Tom Clancy’s style of espionage and military-science storylines, and laid the foundations for many movie and TV series.
In 1990, the novel became a box office hit when Mace Neufeld Productions and Nina Saxon Film Design produced a $30 million dollar movie (of the same name). The movie was replete with Hollywood A-listers: Alec Baldwin, who played Jack Ryan; Sean Connery, who played Marko Ramius, Captain 1st rank Marko Ramius, Commanding Officer of Red October; and James Earl Jones, who played Vice Admiral James Greer, USN, Deputy Director of the CIA.
2. Clear and Present Danger (1989)
Clear and present danger is about the war on drugs in America during Ronald Reagan’s presidency. The President gives the blessing to a plan devised by the president’s national security adviser (James Cutter) and CIA deputy directors (Arthur Moore and Robert Ritter) to sabotage a Colombian cartel’s importation of drugs into the U.S.
They plan to use f-15 fighter jets to intercept planes transporting drugs from Colombia to the United States and deploy Spanish speaking infantrymen to observe and destroy small airfields that the cartel uses as launching pads for courier flights, as well as destroying manufacturing facilities.
Jack Ryan, who is now a top CIA official, has been kept out of the loop by the people in charge of the covert operations. However, Ryan is determined to uncover the conspiracy and find out how the U.S. government is involved in Colombia’s escalating cartel violence.
Ryan discovers what’s happening after hacking Ritter’s computer, and he is horrified. He teams up with John Clark, and together they manage to rescue the embattled U.S. infantrymen in Colombia. They also raid the cartel and capture its reader, Escobedo, and his intelligence officer, Escobedo. This will launch a chain of events that will culminate in the execution of Escobedo and the disownment of Chavez by his colleagues.
The two patriots seek accountability from those involved on the U.S. side, but Cutter commits suicide after Clark confronts him with the evidence, and the President purposefully loses the elections to avoid revealing details of the operations.
3. Without Remorse (1993)
The story is set in the Vietnam War era and follows John Kelly, a man who goes an extra 1,000 miles to avenge the death of Pam, a woman he loved.
He met Pam after Tish, his wife tragically died in a road accident. She was hitchhiking, and he picked her up only to learn that she was a drug addict. He then helped her get back to a healthy life, and they also fell in love.
After she recovers, they go on a scouting drive in the neighborhood where Pam’s pimps and drug dealers operate. One of the scumbags recognizes Pam, and a car chase ensues. Kelly is shot with a shotgun, and Pam gets kidnapped, raped, tortured, and dies from her injuries. Having recovered from his injuries, Kelly goes on a vengeful mission, waging a one-man war on the drug ring responsible for Pam’s death. He takes out its major players and pimps, including William Grayson (one of Pam’s pimps), and saves some prostitutes and female drug mules.
Meanwhile, the Pentagon has discovered a secret prisoner camp in Nam, housing POWs that have already been identified as dead. They also find out that a Russian officer is in charge of interrogation. The Pentagon knows that the captured men can only be freed using an armed operation, not peace talks, as they are officially dead.
4. Patriot Games (1987)
Jack Ryan, a professor of military history and CIA analyst, is in London on a family vacation. While there, he coincidentally gets caught up in a terrorist attack carried out by a splinter group of the IRA.
The terrorists are trying to kidnap the Prince of Wales and his family in a mall, but Ryan intervenes; he kills one terrorist (John Michael McCrory) and incapacitates another (Sean Miller). However, his triumph comes at a personal cost: he gets a bullet in the shoulder.
Ryan is later rewarded for his troubles when he is knighted by the British. But… the troubles are just beginning for him and his family because the IRA, led by Kevin O’Donnell, freed Miller after intercepting his ride to a maximum security prison, and they escaped to their secret camp in North Africa.
Miller wants revenge. He persuades O’Donnell to launch an operation in the United States targeting Ryan and his family.
The first assassination attempt fails, but the terrorists find a perfect opportunity when the prince and princess of Wales visit Ryan at his home in Maryland. They plan to kill two birds with one stone: they want to kidnap the prince and princess of Wales and Ryan’s family. This plan also fails, and the terrorists who manage to leave the scene in something other than body bags are caught trying to leave the country in a container ship.
In the end, Ryan witnesses the birth of his son, Jack Ryan Jr., a protagonist in subsequent Jack Ryan series.
5. Rainbow Six (1998)
In the sequel to Without Remorse, John Clark heads a secret international counterterrorism unit codenamed Rainbow Six.
There has been a sudden rise in terrorist attacks, and Clark and his team colleagues have become wary of the seemingly random acts of terrorism. When they start digging, they uncover a wild, end-of-time conspiracy that involves a radical environmentalist, an ex-KGB operative, and “Shiva,” a deadly strain of the Ebola virus.
Dr. John Brightling, a radical environmentalist and head of the Horizon Corporation, is behind the attacks. He is also the evil mastermind behind the genocidal plan to release a deadly strain of the Ebola virus developed by Horizon at the Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia.
Dr. Brightling knows that only Ryan and his team can stop him, so he sets up an attack on a hospital near Clark’s base, the same hospital where Clark’s wife works.
The mad environmentalist’s plans are foiled when Dmitriy Popov, an ex-KGB officer and co-conspirator in the random attacks, informs on the corporation’s deadly plans. Popov did not know of his employers’ genocidal conspiracy, so when he finds out, he forms Rainbow and the FBI.
After Dr. Brightling and his co-conspirators flee to their Amazon rainforest base, Clark and his team hunt them down, tear down the facility, strip the terrorists naked, and leave them in the Amazon forest with nothing.
Tom Clancy FAQs
Did Tom Clancy serve in the military?
Clancy did not serve because myopia (nearsightedness) made him ineligible. However, Clancy was in the Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps.
What is Tom Clancy’s real name?
Tom Clancy is not a pen name and his full name is Thomas Leo Clancy, Jr.
When did Tom Clancy pass away?
Tom Clancy died on October 1, 2013.
How much is Tom Clancy’s estate worth?
It is estimated to be around $300 million.
When you think of Tom Clancy, the first thing that should come to mind is literary success. A mound of bestsellers, massive book deals, massive action game deals, and Hollywood blockbusters.
These things did not come because he had people in special places doing him favors; these achievements are a testament to the man’s work ethic and unmatchable attention to detail.
Just like many literary giants, Clancy’s legacy has outlived him, and it comes as no surprise that he is still making headlines week in and week out. With October 1, 2023, marking ten years of his absence, you can expect big Hollywood movies/movie series, and action games to commemorate his tenth death anniversary.