Mark Greaney found the perfect combination with his debut novel. It began a bestselling series of international intrigue and spy thrillers. The Gray Man books in order will take readers all around the globe with its captivating and action-packed missions following the titular Gray Man.
The Gray Man, or Courtland Gentry, is an elusive figure and a lone wolf. He lurks in the shadows and is a great assassin, always hitting his target. But then the target is on him, and Gentry must fight formidable foes to make it out alive.
Who is Mark Greaney?
While Mark Greaney may have had ideas and manuscripts that never came to fruition before the publication of his first novel in 2009, his path to authorship certainly holds true to the old adage that good things come to those who wait.
The Gray Man became a national bestseller. It also sparked the beginning of what would become his longest running series and the inspiration behind a Netflix adaptation. The subsequent success of Greaney’s debut also set him up perfectly to co-author alongside Tom Clancy.
Greaney wrote three books with Clancy for his Jack Ryan series before Clancy’s death in 2013. Greaney then went on to write four more books within the Jack Ryan universe.
But the biggest portion of his bibliography remains his Gray Man series. These books exemplify what Greaney does best, which is pen captivating thrillers that span the globe.
Contrarily to some spy thriller authors, and also what one might expect from the level of detail in his books, Greaney actually has no military or police training. He attended university for international relations and political science, then nearly 20 years later published his debut.
However, first-hand experience and research is incredibly important to Greaney. On his website, there is an entire section about the firearms he describes in the books. This section also details the different intelligence, law enforcement, or paramilitary organizations Greaney mentions in his books from around the world.
Further research has seen Greaney travel the world to the locales he writes about, as well as visiting the Pentagon, military bases, and intelligence agencies. He also has trained alongside military and law enforcement for training in firearms, battlefield medicine, and close-range combative tactics to lend that realism to his writing.
He currently lives in Memphis, Tennessee with his family.
Gray Man Books in Order
If you have never read the Gray Man series before, then there are eleven books available for you to binge immediately. The twelfth book in the series, Burner, has an anticipated publication date in February 2023.
While each book does follow its own mission and mystery, you should read the Gray Man books in order. This is the case with most thriller books.
That’s because there is significant character development that takes places throughout the series. Only in reading the books in order of publication will you grasp the chronological timeline of this development.
As well, this character development does impact the overarching plot development for the series as well. So, to best understand the path of Court Gentry’s career and his relationships to those around him, reading the Gray Man books in order is the best option.
- The Gray Man (2009)
- On Target (2010)
- Ballistic (2011)
- Dead Eye (2013)
- Back Blast (2016)
- Gunmetal Gray (2017)
- Agent in Place (2018)
- Mission Critical (2019)
- One Minute Out (2020)
- Relentless (2021)
- Sierra Six (2022)
- Burner (2023)
About the Gray Man Series
Written along the lines of some of the most iconic spy figures such as James Bond or Jack Ryan, Court Gentry is a striking figure on an international scale.
Throughout the series his past as a former CIA operative will come back to haunt him, but as the books begin Gentry is an elusive assassin for hire. His reputation is legendary as he accomplishes the impossible and then fades back into the shadows.
As he is so elusive, Gentry’s alias is the Gray Man. The series is predominately known as Gray Man but has also been referred to as the Court Gentry books.
In the books Gentry is a lone wolf who operates best alone. His missions take him all around the world from the alleyways of Paris to the streets of Prague.
The Gray Man Netflix Movie
There has also been a star-studded adaptation of Mark Greaney’s Gray Man books. However, as is the case with many adaptations, there are significant changes from page to screen. If you haven’t already watched the movie, there will be spoilers for those changes in this section.
Despite its star-heavy cast, Gray Man the movie did not receive good critical reception. Audiences found it middling, while media critics found the character exploration to be lacking.
The movie stars Ryan Gosling in the main role as the Gray Man, referred to in the movie as his old CIA alias: Sierra Six. The antagonist in the movie is Chris Evans, who plays the brutal Lloyd Hansen delightfully. Gray Man also stars Ana de Armas, Billy Bob Thornton, Jessica Henwick, Dhanush, Alfre Woodard, Regé-Jean Page, and many more.
The directors were Anthony and Joe Russo of MCU fame, and the writers were Joe Russo, Christopher Markus, and Stephen McFeely. It has a runtime of two hours and two minutes.
However, despite its mixed reviews, Netflix has already signed off on more adaptations from this world. Just a week after the film premiered in July 2022, the streaming company announced there will be a sequel and a spin-off film.
Changes from Page to Screen
In addition to the primary name of the main character, some of the other changes from page to screen include Gentry’s backstory. How he was recruited to the CIA was changed for the adaptation to paint a more sympathetic, moral main character.
The relationship between Fitzroy, played by Billy Bob Thornton, and Gentry is also significantly altered in the adaptation. The movie creates a much stronger, more familial relationship between them.
There is also a change-up in the introduction of characters Carmichael and Suzanne. While they are integral to the movie, they were not in the first book at all.
As well, Ana de Armas’s character, Dani Miranda, is an original character that was not part of the books. Again, this change was to create a more sympathetic main character for viewers to connect with.
The last change we’ll mention is the set-up of the movie. While in the books Gentry is on the run from the CIA after a mission, in the movie he is still a CIA operative who then needs to be taken out to stem the possibility of information leaking. This entirely changes the premise of why Gentry became alienated from the CIA.
Final thoughts on Gray Man books in order
If you are a fan of spy thrillers, then you should absolutely read the Gray Man books in order. Seeing as Mark Greaney has also written Jack Ryan novels for Tom Clancy and his estate, you can see the similarities between the two action-packed series.
While each book does follow its own mystery and a new mission, you should read these books in order so as to get the best possible reading experience. In reading the books in publication order you will understand the nuance to Gentry’s character development and also understand his motivations.
Have you read the Gray Man books in order? Which one was your favorite? Let us know in the comments below.
I just finished reading my first Gray Man Book, it was Dead Eye. I was hooked on by the second chapter. Amazing story and awesome writer. Will be getting the rest of the books.