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5 Best Tom Clancy Books (2024)

Best Tom Clancy Books ReviewBio

Thomas Leo Clancy Junior was born on the 12th of April, in the year of 1947, in Baltimore, Maryland, United States of America. Far more known by his professional name Tom Clancy, he was a famous American writer with most of his works belonging to the spy thriller and military-science genres. More than one-hundred-million copies of his works were sold.

Clancy was born in Baltimore, Maryland, and brought up in Northwood, a Baltimore neighborhood. His family was Irish-American and the author was child number two to Thomas and Catherine Clancy. His father was employed with the US Postal Service, while his mom was employed in the credit department.

Best Tom Clancy Books


The author attended a Catholic secondary school with the teaching being headed by the Jesuit religious order. Upon graduating from there, he started Loyola College and received his Bachelor of Arts in English Literature. He started working for an insurance company situated in Hartford, Connecticut, during which time he devoted himself to writing his very first novel, which he did. Now, with all of that set-aside, let’s take a look at the best Tom Clancy books.

Jack Ryan Series


The Premiere Picks

Clancy’s Jack Ryan series is among the best Clancy series of all time. It is home to a couple of the most popular Clancy books and best-selling Clancy books, as well. The Jack Ryan series is comprised of thirteen books in total, so that Clancy’s Jack Ryan books in chronological order go as follows:

  1. Patriot Games
  2. Red Rabbit
  3. The Hunt for Red October
  4. The Cardinal of the Kremlin
  5. Clear and Present Danger
  6. The Sum of all Fears
  7. Debt of Honor
  8. Executive Orders
  9. Command Authority
  10. Full Force and Effect
  11. Commander-In-Chief
  12. True Faith and Allegiance
  13. Tom Clancy Code of Honor

An Abduction

Worth noting is that the chronological order doesn’t add up with the publishing order, but that is no big trouble, at all. Beginning Clancy’s Jack Ryan series in order, the first title among Clancy’s Jack Ryan novels is Patriot Games.

The Prince and Princess of Wales were certainly horrified when there was an attempt to abduct them and their young child, especially when it happened in the mall in London. It is soon discovered that the attack was led by Ulster Liberation Army members. One of Tom Clancy’s best books we’ve picked up.

Splintered Group

The Ulster Liberation Army is a Maoist, extremely radical terrorist group from Ireland that came from the Provincial Irish Republican Army. Luckily for the prince, the princess, and their son, Jack Ryan was nearby, so he launched a counterattack, knocked out one of the attackers, and killed the second one.

Unfortunately, in the heat of the battle, Jack Ryan was shot in the shoulder by the same person he was about to kill. One of the most complete Clancy’s Jack Ryan books.

Knighted and Gilded

While still recovering from the shot he took in the shoulder, Jack Ryan is gilded by the government of Great Britain, soon enough becoming a knight. In the meantime, the man that Jack apprehended from the attack has received a life sentence, which is cut short when his buddies rescue him.

Miller vows that he will exact his revenge on Ryan, who was relieved that the Irish group won’t make any attempt on him in the United States. Little did he know what would come of that.

Attracting the Right Crowd

Former Marine Corps member, teacher, and historian Jack Ryan moved to England in the course of researching for a book that he was writing. After the events from the previous novel, with the Ulster Liberation Army at bay, he has attracted both the CIA Deputy Director and the British SIS’ equivalent.

When Greer, the CIA’s Deputy Director, asked him to take an analyst job, Jack accepted without a second thought given to the whole matter.

No Time for Himself

However, in the course of working as an analyst for the Central Intelligence Agency, Jack slacked off on his other work, though it is understandable seeing as he was working to debrief a defector from the Soviet Union.

The defector at hand has a hell of a story to tell, though, namely that a number of Soviet officials were interested and were making arrangements to take the life of the Pope, namely John Paul the Second. One of the top Tom Clancy books and for a reason!

Verifying the Claims

It is uncertain whether such a thing is the truth or not, but be as it may, Jack Ryan is forced to first make an attempt and make sure that such arrangements and such murderous plots are really being made, and then stop them in their tracks.

Soon not only the life of the Pope is at stake, but also the lives of countless people from the Soviet Union and the USA, with Jack Ryan being the only person who can save them. It’s one of the best Tom Clancy books for young adult readers.

Getting Away from War

Going forward with Clancy’s Jack Ryan novels in order, we can’t do without mentioning The Hunt for Red October. The novel at hand is set during the very stressful, tension-riddled Cold War times, when a Soviet submarine captain imperils the world.

Jack Ryan, a specialist with the CIA, is called in to examine the ongoing situation and help the USA stay away from wartime conflict with the Soviet Union. What follows is a terrifically suspenseful, nail-biting thriller that we can’t recommend enough.

Jumping Ship

Out of all the Jack Ryan novels by Clancy, The Hunt for Red October might just be our number one pick.

Captain Marko Ramius, the commander of the Soviet submarine in question, named Red October, is spurred on by the memory of how his spouse died because of an event that saw him and a few other officers defect to the USA. Marko takes the life of the political officer on board the submarine and they have their plans set.

All the Wrong Attention

Marko prepares, writes, and sends out a letter addressed to the Soviet Navy, telling them about the plans he has about defecting. In retaliation, the Soviets send a whole armada of ships and submarines in search of the Red October, which put ill at ease the British and American armies.

The Soviet ambassador informs the USA President that it is but a rescue mission, with the USA offering to help. Jack Ryan, on the other hand, thinks that the best idea is to have the Red October crew receive asylum in the USA to avoid the whole ordeal. It is one of the best-rated Clancy books, without a doubt.

Lucky to Be Alive

During the lengthy and sea-bound chase for the Red October, a ship was sunk, leaving only one single crew member alive. The Soviets feared that he would reveal that it was the Red October that sank, but that’s not the case and the Red October is still out there.

Soon enough, the Americans have made a plan to get hold of the Red October, while the crew are granted new identities. Now, all that’s left is to get the message across. Out of all the books in Clancy’s Jack Ryan series, this is one of Tom Clancy’s famous books ever.


Still following Clancy’s Jack Ryan series chronological order, we arrive at the novel titled The Cardinal of the Kremlin. The Cardinal of the Kremlin begins in South America, off the coast, where a certain target vanishes in thin air, leaving only green light in its wake.

Elsewhere, namely near the Afghanistan border, a number of pillars and domes rise into the night. During all of this, there is nothing more pressing than the race towards making the first missile defense system.

Man on the Inside

Given the duty to assess and examine what the Soviet Union is capable of are the analyst for the CIA, Jack Ryan, and Colonel Mikhail Filitov, a Soviet Union member that doesn’t have much trust endowed into him by his coevals.

Both of them have to get the job done, but Filitov is the first, which is when trouble begins. We then find out that Filitov is an American agent in the Kremlin, codenamed Cardinal, and he is going to be betrayed soon. Having no other course of action, it is all up to Jack Ryan to save him. Out of all Clancy’s Jack Ryan books in order, this might be Tom Clancy’s best book.

John Clark Series


Just As Great

John Clark series is yet another series very much worth the moniker of the best Clancy book series. It has some of the best-selling spy novels by Clancy in its composition, which is only three books long. With that noted, we can take a look at Tom Clancy’s John Clark series in order:

  1. Without Remorse
  2. Rainbow Six
  3. The Bear and the Dragon

Losing One Life, Saving Another

The first novel among Clancy’s John Clark books is, of course, Without Remorse. Without Remorse is also viewed by some Clancy’s fans as being one of the best Clancy books and we have to agree. The novel starts in the period of the Vietnam War.

After John Kelly’s wife passed away, he picks up a lonesome hitchhiker and takes her back with him to his own island. He knows nothing about her, her story, or whether she is a drug addict, but when he does find out the latter, he nurses her back to the hale and hearty state.

Everyone Ends up Dead

A deal was made that the girl would talk about what happened to her, where the other girls like her are being held, so that they could be saved, too. However, spotted just before the meeting, the girl is shot and killed, with Kelly sustaining injuries, too.

While this is going on, the Pentagon has discovered a secret prison camp in North Vietnam, where an as of yet thought to be dead prisoner is alive and well. They understand the dire circumstances and make a plan to rescue them all. Quite possibly, the best Tom Clancy book out of all the Tom Clancy’s books.

Feverish Fury

Still reeling from the events that took place and killed the girl that he saved, John Kelly holds a mighty passion in his heart about wanting to eliminate all of them and, with his SEAL experience, he very well could do that.

However, soon enough, he is pulled into the Pentagon’s business, too, so that he has two things to tackle, one on a more intimate note and the other on a more political, professional. With integrity to frighten most politicians, John Kelly will stop at nothing. The book is a veritable contender for the best Tom Clancy novel ever.

Brand-New Group

Following along with Tom Clancy’s novels in chronological order, we come to Rainbow Six. Worth noting is that the series is sometimes called Clancy’s Rainbow Six series because of this particular novel.

Rainbow is a brand-new antiterrorist organization that has been created, with its headquarters located in Hereford, England, where the British Secret Service base is located. The team is made up of distinguished, capable military and intelligence officers, with the leader being John Clark, codename Rainbow Six.

Sewing Terror

John Brightling, the CEO of Horizon Corporation, a pharmaceutical company, on the other hand, has surreptitiously hired an ex KGB agent, Dmitry Popov, as his personal consultant. Popov has many connections that allow him to create terrorist incidents all over Europe.

However, Popov is not privy to the real reason why such a thing is required, only that he has to do it as his job. Dmitry follows through and the terrorist perils being, with many hostages being taken. We stand with our ranking of the best Tom Clancy novels and view the book at hand as one of the best Tom Clancy novels.

Noticing a Pattern

As such, Rainbow and their services are summoned so that they can stop the terrorists from hurting anyone and they are to do this without letting any harm come to the hapless hostages. Dmitry, soon enough, notices that the ones responding to these terrorist incidents aren’t any law enforcement based in the local towns or cities, but a black operation.

Just as that thought crosses Dmitry’s mind, Rainbow start their investigation into whether a super terrorist is behind the whole ordeal. Among the best books by Tom Clancy on the entire list of best Tom Clancy books.

Next Epidemic

An even greater problem has to do with John Brightling and his followers, who are all environmentalist radicals. They see that the Earth is being destroyed by human doing, so they want it to go back in the hands of nature.

They’ve made a virus they refer to as the Shiva virus, which is an Ebola-based flesh-eating virus. They test it on people they’ve kidnapped, but once the Rainbow team gets word of it, it is a race against time. This is one of the most famous Tom Clancy books that we’ve ever enjoyed reading.

Trouble Brewing

Next up with Clancy’s books in order written for our enjoyment – and we’ve found that this is the best order to read Clancy books –, we have The Bear and the Dragon. Jack Ryan, on his own, is finding out that being the President of the United States is no easy job.

With troubles like a Liberian revolution currently taking place, with troubles back at home that can frighten any man, with the Asian economy losing steam, and with attempts being made in Russia to kill the SVR’s chairman with a rocket-propelled grenade launcher, there’s no surprise why it’s such a tough feat.

Who Could They Be?

Soon enough, the identities of the assailants are being looked at and they’re trying to piece together who exactly they might be. A KGB splinter group? A Russian mob squad? Or, someone wholly on the margins?

John Clark is sent out to find out what is happening and he soon finds that what is going on is wholly unexpected and very much disconcerting. If we’re just picking the 5 best Tom Clancy books, this one is taking a spot for sure.

Where Allegiance Lies

What black ops specialist and most loyal, most trusted friend to the President of the United States, John Clark, is best at doing is finding out things.

When he discovers that Chinese forces are making a move to do something so terrible, he knows that he has little time to act, but if he doesn’t, everything will be lost. One of the best Tom Clancy books that we’ve picked up from the whole, entire list of Tom Clancy books, and justifiably so!

Jack Ryan, Jr. Series


A Baker’s Dozen

The Jack Ryan, Jr. Series is yet another awesome Tom Clancy’s series. The series features some of the best new Tom Clancy books and Clancy’s recent books, as well.

The series is comprised of some thirteen books, but starting from the sixth, the author is actually Mark Greaney as Tom Clancy passed away in 2013. As such, there still are Tom Clancy’s new books, but they only belong to the series he began. Now, for Clancy novels chronological order:

  1. The Teeth of the Tiger
  2. Dead or Alive
  3. Locked On
  4. Threat Vector
  5. Command Authority
  6. Support and Defend
  7. Full Force and Effect
  8. Under Fire
  9. Duty and Honor
  10. Point of Contact
  11. Line of Sight
  12. Oath of Office
  13. Tom Clancy Enemy Contact

Unlikely Spot

The series at hand is sometimes also said to belong to the Campus series Clancy has written, though that actually means that it encompasses some of the Jack Ryan series books and all the Jack Ryan, Jr. series books.

With that said, let’s begin with Clancy’s Campus books in order. In Vienna, a man named Mohammed is sitting at a café, though the things that he is doing or, to be more precise, discussing are not suited for any café in the world.

Joining Forces

Mohammed is discussing how his own network and group of sympathizers and agents across the Middle East and Europe can join a Colombian drug network for terrorism in the United States so that they can sow fear, terror, death, and destruction.

What he doesn’t know about, however, is the Jack Ryan, the USA’s president, has a top-secret agency called The Campus for just these kinds of troubles that he plans to start. No list of the best Clancy books ranked can be made without including this marvelous entry.

Family Business

A beginner Federal Bureau of Investigation agent named Dominic Caruso, only a year removed from Quantico, has, by using his deductive skills and sleuth prowess, managed to solve a rather touchy and troubling case of murder and kidnapping.

Dominic’s brother is a captain of the Marine Corps and Dominic’s own cousin, Jack Ryan, Jr., is no stranger to espionage, intrigue, and black ops. As a child, he watched his father do all that while he was growing up. However, right now is the moment when he finds out whether this kind of a job is for him. Out of all the books written by Clancy, this is among the best Clancy books.

Staying Posted

The second title that we’ll be taking a look at here and also belongs to Clancy’s The Campus books is Dead or Alive. Jack Ryan is no longer the President of the United States. However, though he no longer holds the Oval Office, he still knows what is going on with his creation, the secret anti-terrorist group called The Campus. He created it, after all, so he should know what’s happening inside, right?

Kept in the Dark

What Jack Ryan isn’t aware of, however, is the fact that his son, along with his two cousins, Dominic and Brian Caruso, has been accepted and working alongside the Campus and all the shadowy, undercover agents it has.

What the Campus is currently focused on is a man named Emir, who, though he is a recluse by nature, is still heading many terrorist attacks that shake the world. Now that John Clark and Ding Chavez have joined the Campus on the hunt for Emir, his days are numbered.

One Last Run

Book number three that we come to while following the steps of Clancy’s books in chronological order, is titled Locked On. In Locked On, we see as Jack Ryan, Sr., is faced with a certain choice. At present, he is going on his run for the President of the United States once more, with which a peaceful respite in retirement can be forgotten about. However, he wants to be there to help his country in this truly terrible and black hour.

Close to Home

What Jack Ryan, Sr., couldn’t have expected, however, is such a devilishly fiendish action from his nemesis, who attack one of the closest friends of Ryan, namely John Clark.

Faced with a run versus the clocks, something that he is rather used to, John Clark is forced to go around the world so that he can keep up the pace with the terrible foes they are facing. He needs to find out who is doing this, why they are doing this, and then stop them swiftly. Out of all Clancy book reviews, this is one of Tom Clancy’s best novels.

Something Is Up

On the other hand, Jack Ryan, Jr., Chavez, and Dominic, along with the Campus members, are tasked with their own mission, namely why it is that Dagestani-based terrorists are meeting with a military officer from Pakistan?

It seems that the answer to this question will resolve many headaches and many lives will be solved in the process, as well. While making a list of the best and worst Clancy books, you’d have to put the book at hand among the former, without a doubt. We really can’t recommend these books just enough.

No Time to Rest

Now, with Tom Clancy’s books in order or our favorite Tom Clancy novels reading order, we arrive at the novel that is titled Threat Vector. Jack Ryan, Jr., alongside his friends, colleagues at the under-wrap organization called The Campus, is well aware that the battle against the enemies of the United States of America is never even close to being over and the latest events have made that abundantly clear.

Holding Office Again

The Campus, for what it is worth, had a brilliant run while being a secret organization, but now it has been found out. So, the only thing that they can do is try and find out who it is that knows about the covert organization and eliminate them swiftly.

On the other hand, Jack Ryan, Sr., following the run for the elections in the last book, is now in the Oval Office once more, but he has no time to rest, as his help and wisdom are needed now more than ever before. If Jack Ryan, Sr. can’t help them out, then all may be lost now and forever. To assert what the greatest Clancy books ranked are and not have this novel here would be a grave mistake and a great disservice.

Trouble Everywhere

Certain problems on the internal economical and political side have led the Chinese leadership to set for a catastrophe. Now, those interested in taking the power are also taking the chance to attack Taiwan, which is being secured by the Americans.

As the two nations are seemingly set for conflict, Jack Ryan, Sr., uses the only thing that he thinks might do the trick – The Campus. The Campus is busy fighting a war on two fronts, but if they can’t do it, then no one can. There are still new books by Tom Clancy arriving in this series, though, as we noted, they are written by a different author.

Max Moore Series


Often Overlooked

The Max Moore series by Clancy is yet another brilliant source of the best Tom Clancy novels ever published. The Max Moore series is comprised of just two books, but they are two of the finest novels we’ve picked up from the author. These two Clancy novels in order go as follows:

  1. Against All Enemies
  2. Search and Destroy

Losing Crew

Starting this particular order of Clancy’s books is the novel Against All Enemies. In Against All Enemies, we meet a former Navy SEAL member named Max Moore. Max Moore was with the Central Intelligence Agency on a certain mission in Pakistan, when a bombing led by a group of terrorists killed the rest of his group, leaving Max Moore as the sole survivor of the dastardly and horrible event.

In the Shadows

After such a tragic turn of events, Max Moore, fueled by revenge, is going deeper into the lands to try to find out what is going on behind the curtain, not in Pakistan but on the border between the United States and Mexico, where a kind of conspiracy has been brewing for some time.

What Max Moore is to find out, however, is something that will both rock his world and force him to act as fast as he humanly can. He must not lose his poise, because if he does, everything will be lost.

War on Drugs

Now, as he arrives there, Max Moore is witness to a war for drugs that is going on between two cartels, namely the Juarez and Sinaloa. Bodies are everywhere, with scarcely any telling of whether the victims are predominantly innocent people befallen by the terrible bullet hail or they’re the victims of their own volition.

Moore, along with a group of agents, enters here to find out something, but they can’t sit idly by as such horrible travesties take place.

All or Nothing

In the second title of this series that we come to by following the order of Clancy’s books, namely Search and Destroy, the plot is even tenser and even more suspenseful. In Search and Destroy, former SEAL member Max Moore is still reeling from the events that took place and still not let off of the hook when something tragic happens.

He is given a choice, but what a demonical choice it is – either venture to save some thousands upon thousands of innocent people, but, in turn, have his wife killed, or do the opposite, save his wife, but have thousands of people died because of his choices. It is safe to assume that Max doesn’t go by the choices that are given to him, but blazes his own trail.

Red Storm Rising


Desert Storm

Red Storm Rising is, when taking a look at Tom Clancy novels list, one of the greatest Tom Clancy novels ever. Red Storm Rising was published in the year of 1986, sporting a sizable page count of nearly seven hundred pages, all in all.


Red Storm Rising begins with a group of Militant Azerbaijanis attempting to devastate a refinery for oil in Nizhnevartovsk. If they are successful in doing this, then the economy of the Soviet Union would be nearly halved because of shortages.

Upon looking at and examining the situation, the Politburo decides to take the Persian Gulf violently so that their losses can be salvaged. Aware that the United States of America has made it known they will keep the oil-making countries in the Persian Gulf safe, the USSR understands that thwarting NATO is their number one priority.

Disguising the Truth

In order to cast attention on a different thing, the Politburo tries to embroider both their trouble and their desires, with public declaration being made that arms would be reduced so that obsolete submarines can be scrapped up.

A faux operation is also carried out by the KGB in a Kremlin building, erroneously accusing West German Intelligence as having sent a spy among their men. The West German Government is denounced by the USSR and they express a desire for retaliation. Now, having seized Germany, one step closer to having their plans come to fruition. This is among the easiest picks from Clancy’s novels ranked to recommend, too.

Wins and Losses

Even though an attack on a NATO facility in Lammersdorf was ruined when a Spetsnaz officer was apprehended, the USSR still doesn’t give up on their strategies and operations. Trouble is caused when NATO uses fighter-bomber and stealth aircraft to seize air control over Eastern Europe, with the bridges that the USSR was supposed to go through being bombed, thus hindering their further movement and mobility.

Revealing the Truth

Taking Iceland with their sizable and mighty Navy, the USSR has dominated an airbase in Keflavik, thus gaining an upper hand. Several developments are made with both sides taking certain territories and making advancements here and there.

Following trouble with taking West Germany completely, a USSR prisoner is saved and sent to an island where he tells them of the true reasons for the war, with which the USA shifts their priorities towards the depots for fuel, thus cutting off the USSR once more. One of the best Clancy books that we’ve ever bought and we reread it quite often for its many, many merits.

Coming to Terms

Moscow and the Politburo deliberate on whether nuclear warheads are to be used so that they can salvage something. The ones leading the Germany counterattack are executed for being far too slow and causing too much trouble for the USSR. Soon enough, a ceasefire is negotiated, accepted, and signed, with which the conflict is ended by both sides.


Every Man a Tiger: The Gulf War Air Campaign is one that we think is worth your time. Of course, we can’t forget about Clancy’s End War books, Clancy’s Ghost Recon series, and Clancy’s Splinter Cell books, too.

Robert Hazley

Robert is a science fiction and fantasy geek. (He is also the best looking Ereads writer!) Besides reading and writing, he enjoys sports, cosplay, and good food (don't we all?). Currently works as an accountant (would you believe that?)