2 Ways to Read Jack Ryan Books in Order by Tom Clancy

Jack Ryan Books in Order

Jack Ryan movies and TV shows run aplenty. You’d have to be living under a rock not to have heard of them. And I imagine that you’re here now because you’ve seen one and are now looking for a list of Jack Ryan books in order.

There are two ways to read Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan books in order: Publication order and chronological order. In this article, you’ll find both. We’ll first list the classic publication order and then end with the chronological order.

But before dive into the list of Jack Ryan books in order let’s learn a little bit more about the series and its main character: Jack Ryan.

About Jack Ryan Series

Often referred to as the Ryanverse, the Jack Ryan series is one of the most successful political dramas franchises in the United States and the world. The saga was first created in 1984 by highly-awarded author Tom Clancy when he published The Hunt for Red October.

Due to its success, Tom Clancy kept writing Jack Ryan books until his death in 2013. The series has since continued with other authors approved by Clancy’s family state. There are five films and a TV series based on Clancy’s novels starring Jack Ryan, with five different actors taking on the main role:

Who is Jack Ryan?

Jack Ryan is the main character in this hugely successful franchise. When the series begins, Ryan is a former U.S. Marine and stockbroker who becomes a history teacher at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.

Ryan later works for the CIA as an analyst and field officer, before eventually rising to the position of Deputy Director. Over the course of the series, Ryan serves as National Security Advisor and Vice President, and then as the President following a terrorist attack on the White House.

Ryan then went on to spend two non-consecutive terms and mostly dealt with international problems in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and Africa.

#1 Jack Ryan Books in Order of Publication

This first list of Jack Ryan books in order follows the publication order of the series. This is the order we recommend to all new fans of the Jack Ryan series.

  1. The Hunt for Red October (1984)
  2. Patriot Games (1987)
  3. The Cardinal of the Kremlin (1988)
  4. Clear and Present Danger (1989)
  5. The Sum of All Fears (1991)
  6. Without Remorse (1993)
  7. Debt of Honor (1994)
  8. Executive Orders (1996)
  9. Rainbow Six (1998)
  10. The Bear and the Dragon (2000)
  11. Red Rabbit (2002)
  12. The Teeth of the Tiger (2003)
  13. Dead or Alive (2010)
  14. Locked On (2011)
  15. Threat Vector (2012)
  16. Command Authority (2013)
  17. Support and Defend (2014)
  18. Full Force and Effect (2014)
  19. Under Fire (2015)
  20. Commander-in-Chief (2015)
  21. Duty and Honor (2016)
  22. True Faith and Allegiance (2016)
  23. Point of Contact (2017)
  24. Power and Empire (2017)
  25. Line of Sight (2018)
  26. Oath of Office (2018)
  27. Enemy Contact (2019)
  28. Code of Honor (2019)
  29. Firing Point (2020)
  30. Shadow of the Dragon (2020)
  31. Target Acquired (2021)
  32. Chain of Command (2021)
  33. Zero Hour (Expected publication: June 7, 2022)

#2 Jack Ryan Books in Chronological Order

This second list of Jack Ryan books in order reflects the chronological timeline of the Jack Ryan books. However, as with any chronological list, spoilers may exist for later books.

We only recommend this Jack Ryan reading order for fans rereading the series.

  1. Without Remorse
  2. Patriot Games
  3. Red Rabbit
  4. The Hunt for Red October
  5. The Cardinal of the Kremlin
  6. Clear and Present Danger     
  7. The Sum of All Fears     
  8. Debt of Honor     
  9. Executive Orders     
  10. Rainbow Six     
  11. The Bear and the Dragon 
  12. The Teeth of the Tiger     
  13. Dead or Alive   
  14. Locked On
  15. Threat Vector
  16. Command Authority
  17. Support and Defend
  18. Full Force and Effect
  19. Under Fire
  20. Commander-in-Chief
  21. Duty and Honor
  22. True Faith and Allegiance
  23. Point of Contact  
  24. Power and Empire
  25. Line of Sight
  26. Oath of Office
  27. Enemy Contact
  28. Code of Honor
  29. Firing Point
  30. Shadow of the Dragon
  31. Target Acquired
  32. Chain of Command
  33. Zero Hour

How to Read Jack Ryan Books in Order

In an effort to make understanding the Jack Ryan books in order a little easier, we’ve divided the list into four sub-sections:

  • Original Series: Books about Jack Ryan written only by Tom Clancy.
  • Jack Ryan Jr / Campus series: Written only by Tom Clancy, or coauthored with Mark Greaney, Marc Cameron, or Grant Blackwood.
  • Post-Tom Clancy Books: The continuation of both Jack Ryan and Jack Ryan Jr series after Tom Clancy’s death, by Mark Greaney, Marc Cameron, Grant Blackwood, Mike Maden, and Don Bently.
  • Other books placed in the Jack Ryan Universe: These are two other books by Tom Clancy, set in the Jack Ryan universe, but not about him.

Original Jack Ryan Series

There is no better place to start your journey of Jack Ryan books in order than with the originals. These are the main books by Tom Clancy.

The Hunt for Red October Jack Ryan Books in Order

1. The Hunt for Red October

This is the best-selling novel that began Tom Clancy’s illustrious career and brought his beloved hero, Jack Ryan, to the ultimate submarine adventure.

Russia’s ultra-secret missile submarine, the Red October, is quietly making its way west beneath the frigid Atlantic Sea. While the Americans have their eyes on it, but the Russians want it back. The superpowers speed across the ocean on the most urgent mission of their lives, with all-out war only seconds away. The quest for Red October has begun, and it is the most spectacular pursuit in history.


Patriot Games Tom Clancy

2. Patriot Games

When Jack Ryan foils an Ulster Liberation Army terrorist assault on the Prince of Wales and his family, he not only earns the respect of a nation, but also the resentment and loathing of the country’s most dangerous individuals.

Now a ULA target himself, Jack Ryan delves into the murky world of counter-intelligence, where he discovers a link between the ULA and an international underground network. This thrusts him into the front lines of the deadly fight against international terrorism and also into the most desperate battle of his life.


The Cardinal of the Kremlin Jack Ryan

3. The Cardinal of the Kremlin

In this installment, Jack Ryan puts everything on the line in the Soviet Union as the superpowers struggle over Star Wars.

The weapons agreements between the superpowers looks to be progressing. However, a US spy satellite indicates that the Soviets are constructing a vast laser-defense system. Control will stem from an otherworldly complex of pillars and domes in the Soviet highlands near the war-torn Afghan border.

So the Americans must get more information. Colonel Mikhail Filitov of the Soviet Union, codename Cardinal, America’s highest-ranking operative in the Kremlin, will be the one to deliver it. However, when Filitov’s cover is likely to be blown by the KGB, and CIA advisor Jack Ryan must save him.


Clear and Present Danger Tom Clancy

4. Clear and Present Danger

Colombian drug lords, fed up with being hounded by US law enforcement, killed the US Ambassador and the FBI’s visiting director. Their message is clear: Don’t bother us. However, they have gone too far when they decide to send infiltrating squads to Colombia.

Back in the United States, warriors equipped with the most advanced weapons their country can develop are ready to confront the enemy. But is anyone aware of who the true adversary is? The solution must be found by Jack Ryan and CIA field officer John Clark. While they anticipate danger from the outside, the biggest threat may come from within.


The Sum of All Fears Jack Ryan Books in Order

5. The Sum of All Fears

As leaders throughout the world grapple with the problems of a new world order, CIA Deputy Director Jack Ryan in Washington is pouring all into a plan that might finally bring peace to a Middle East still ravaged by conflict. However, too many people have died for the plot to work, and the terrorists have one more desperate hand to play. The world falls into nuclear peril with a single heinous crime.

With his hopes for peace dashed, Ryan finds himself in a predicament he never imagined: With the globe on the verge of war, what do you do if the US President is incapable of dealing with the greatest issue of all?


Debt of Honor Tom Clancy

6. Debt of Honor

In this installment, Jack Ryan protects the United States against economic sabotage by the East, which would inevitably lead to war.

Ryan has come out of retirement to serve as the new President’s National Security Adviser. But he rapidly learns that peacetime issues are just as complicated as wartime issues. Adversaries have turned into friends, and enemies have turned into friends; even the nature of the battle has altered. 

When one of America’s new adversaries plans a strike not just on its land but also on its economy, Ryan will have to prepare an inexperienced President to handle the threat. Because there is a debt of honor due, and the price will be exorbitant.


Executive Orders Jack Ryan

7. Executive Orders

The President, along with the majority of the Cabinet and Congress, dies when a rogue plane crashes into the Capitol Building in Washington D.C. Meaning the guy who just became the new caretaker Vice President is now President of the United States: John Patrick Ryan.

But how can you administer a government if you don’t have one? What do you do first? Ryan is well aware that the world’s eyes are on him right now, and many of them are hostile. There are many willing to take advantage in Beijing, Tehran, and even Washington. They’ll make their moves soon, and they’ll face Jack Ryan with a predicament he couldn’t have imagined.


The Bear and the Dragon Tom Clancy

8. The Bear and the Dragon

Jack Ryan, who was recently elected President in his own right, learns that being President hasn’t gotten any easier. Domestic pitfalls abound, the Asian economy is in free fall, and now, in Moscow, someone may have attempted to assassinate the chairman of the SVR — the former KGB — with a rocket-propelled grenade.

Things in Russia are already unstable enough without high-level assassination, but the identity of the possible assassins might be much more troubling. Were they political foes, Russian Mafia members, or disgruntled former KGB officers? Or is there something even more dangerous in motion? Jack will have to figure it out, before time runs out.


Red Rabbit Jack Ryan Books in Order

9. Red Rabbit

Red Rabbit transports us back to Jack Ryan’s early days at the CIA, offering us a glimpse into his earliest encounters with terrorism.

Jack Ryan is thrown into a world of political intrigue and conspiracy when he joins the CIA as an analyst. He soon finds himself interrogating a Soviet dissident with an astounding story to tell: Senior Russian officials are conspiring to murder Pope John Paul II while he is staying in England.

The CIA newbie must put his inexperience aside and use all of his wits to first uncover the plot’s specifics — and then stop it from happening. Because not only the Pope’s life is on the line, but also the Western world’s stability.


Jack Ryan Jr. / Campus Series

This next set of Jack Ryan books in order are by Tom Clancy and one of his co-authors.

From this point on, the action will mainly focus on Jack Ryan Jr., and his operations with a mysterious intelligence organization known as The Campus. This is while his father Jack Ryan Sr., the protagonist of the main series, is busy with his political affairs in the White House, as the US President. However, the elder Ryan will still be very present as the series progresses.


10. The Teeth of the Tiger

Just before stepping down as President of the United States, Jack Ryan established the Campus, a covert organization tasked with operating in locations where the CIA and FBI could not, and with the ability to employ any and all methods to neutralize terrorists posing a threat to America.

Now his son, Jack Ryan, Jr., is a member of that gang, and he’ll be on the front lines when a bunch of Islamic terrorists backed by Colombian drug dealers strike at the core of American civilization. With no other option for fighting back the enigmatic instigators, it’s up to Jack Ryan Jr. to confront the terrorists the only way he knows. 


11. Dead or Alive

The Campus is under attack from the Emir, a ruthless serial murderer. The Emir has avoided arrest by every law enforcement agency in the globe despite being the author of several horrendous atrocities. And he’s going to launch a massive attack on America’s heartland.

But intelligence expert Jack Ryan Jr. is on the Emir’s tail. He and his Campus comrades are on a search that will take them around the world, into the murky arenas of political gamesmanship, in a quest to avoid the destruction of the West, following in his illustrious father’s footsteps.


12. Locked On

When a lethal terrorist organization threatens to force any world power into surrender, it must be stop by any means. That’s all Jack Ryan Jr. needs to move his operations at the Campus, a secretive intelligence organization, from the back room to the front lines.

Meanwhile, his father, US President Jack Ryan Sr., is running for re-election and is facing a privately sponsored effort to undermine him. John Clark, a former Navy SEAL, is at the center of the plot and Ryan Sr. quickly learns that being friends with him may be dangerous.


13. Threat Vector

When Jack Ryan Jr. finds that his team’s every move is being tracked while on a top-secret, off-the-books Campus operation in Turkey, he realizes that US intelligence has been gravely compromised.

Meanwhile, back in the United States, President Ryan watches in dismay as China’s debilitated leader yields to a war-mongering general set on wreaking havoc in the East. At the same moment, China launches a cyber strike on the United States, devastating its government and military systems. A secret team must neutralize the threats, and the Campus is the ideal location.

Except a nefarious person known only as the Center is keeping a close eye on the Campus and Jack Ryan Jr.


14. Command Authority

Decades ago, as a CIA agent, Jack Ryan, Sr. was dispatched on what was meant to be a basic support mission to investigate the murder of an officer who had been looking into strange financial operations at a Swiss bank. 

Ryan’s perseverance unearthed not only financial deception, but also the presence of Zenith, a KGB assassin. He was never able to track down the attacker. But nothing is ever truly concealed in the dark realm of clandestine operations.

In today’s ever-chaotic Russian republic, a new strongman has emerged: The enigmatic President Valeri Volodin. His ascension to power was quick, but it was marred by deception and betrayal. His personal empire is founded on a deadly secret from his past, and anybody who gets near to uncovering it will be killed. 


Post-Tom Clancy Books

After Clancy’s tragic death by heart failure on October 1, 2013, the Jack Ryan books were continued by his family estate through 5 approved writers: Mark Greaney, Grant Blackwood, Mike Maden, Marc Cameron, and Don Bentley.


15. Support and Defend by Mark Greaney

Dominic Caruso, an FBI agent and Campus operator, who has already been scarred by his brother’s murder, is devastated when he is unable to save a colleague and his family from a terrorist assault.

Ethan Ross worked at the National Security Council as a mid-level worker. But now he’s a wanted fugitive on the run with a micro-drive full of material that might derail American intelligence activities throughout the world. The CIA wants the drive back, but so do the Russians and numerous terrorist organizations, who are all getting closer to getting him. The only hope is Agent Dominic Caruso.


16. Full Force and Effect by Mark Greaney

When Jack Ryan Jr. is in Ho Chi Minh City on the hunt for an ex-CIA operative with vital documents, he is left with a corpse, no documentation, and only a bloody note as a clue as to what transpired.

The incident leads him to a secret security agency with ties to North Korea, which has just resurrected under the leadership of a young, power-hungry ruler. The rogue state has now discovered a method to realize its nuclear aspirations — at whatever cost to the rest of the globe.

President Jack Ryan will not allow this, but North Korea and its allies have plans for the US leader that would permanently silence him.

Jack Ryan Jr. and Sr. fight against time on the ground and on the worldwide stage to prevent a maniac from obtaining the world’s deadliest weapon.


17. Under Fire by Grant Blackwood

Jack Ryan Jr, main Campus operative, is in Tehran when he runs across an old acquaintance, Seth. Seth hands Jack a key and a strange message as they part ways, then vanishes. Jack is now being pursued by MI6 and the CIA. They’re on a mission to find Seth. Jack claims to know nothing, but he may know enough to locate his pal on his own.

Jack has few clues and limited room for errors in a hostile foreign nation, pursued by spies from all sides and unclear who — if anybody — he can trust. He’s putting his life on the line for Seth. But who is on his old friend’s side? What if it’s not even Jack’s?


18. Commander in Chief by Mark Greaney

Russia is in a bad way. Its economy is in free fall, and its foreign ‘adventures’ have been expensive. President Volodin understands that rebuilding Russian dignity is critical to his own survival.

Only one man in the West, American President Jack Ryan, realizes the underlying source of the turmoil as a series of explosions, killings, and attacks upset the global order.

With Russian forces massing on Europe’s borders, President Ryan cannot deploy military force without escalating the crisis and putting Volodin in a stronger position. Instead, he relies on his clandestine intelligence services. Every threat must be discovered, infiltrated, and neutralized. However, the clock is ticking and this conflict is on the verge of becoming worldwide.


19. Duty and Honour by Grant Blackwood

An attempt on the life of covert officer Jack Ryan Jr. is executed, while he was enjoying some well-deserved vacation. He survives, only to find that another assassination attempt is on the way. After narrowly surviving the first time, Jack sets out to discover who is trying to kill him and why.

Jack follows a trail set by his would-be assassin across France and Switzerland to Rostock, a secretive security business situated in Germany, using clues left by his would-be assassin. Jurgen Rostock, the organization’s leader, is someone Jack knows from a prior mission — one that has clearly enraged him.


20. True Faith and Allegiance by Mark Greaney

While on leave, a US Navy Commander is assaulted in a busy restaurant. But how did the assassin know where he was?

A Canadian businessman is escorted away from the Tehran airport to be interviewed. But why has his secret been broken after he has been a CIA operative for more than a decade?

A colossal data leak has compromised America’s spy agencies, and the noose is tightening all across the world.

Now it’s up to the Campus to track out the source of the leak. Their inquiry will reveal a menace that has infiltrated the highest levels of authority. And the only person who can stop it is President Jack Ryan, who is closest to the danger.


21. Point of Contact by Mike Maden

When Jack Ryan Jr. is dispatched to Singapore for what appears to be a routine administrative duty, he is concerned that he will be forgotten in the battle against terrorism. But it’s evident that the mission — and his unassuming new companion, Paul Brown — are more than meets the eye.

Brown and Ryan must identify a mole threatening a whole new sort of warfare, with North Korean missile tests in full gear and a terrible typhoon coming down on the island country. And it’s not long until it’s evident that someone is ready to kill in order to hide their traces.


22. Power and Empire by Marc Cameron

As the globe is shaken by seemingly unrelated acts of terrorism, Jack Ryan prepares for a vital meeting with China’s increasingly hostile President Zhou. However, when a routine traffic stop on a remote road in rural Texas results in the recovery of a stolen USB stick, it becomes evident that the attacks are linked.

Meanwhile, in the South China Sea, as tensions rise, a US surveillance ship is trapped in a fierce storm, which threatens to force it into the path of the Chinese navy, with potentially deadly repercussions.


23. Line of Sight by Mike Maden

During a mission break, Jack Ryan Jr. is urged by his mother to go to Sarajevo and find a girl whose life she rescued during the war. Finally, he believes, life is slowing down.

That is, until he meets Aida, a beautiful and selfless lady. Jack is captivated by her, and her perilous profession assisting Syrian migrants in entering Europe impresses him. But the region is becoming increasingly dangerous, and Aida is abducted by the Serbian mafia just as Jack relaxes his guard.

Jack’s calls for aid fall on deaf ears due to his lack of formal standing, and he realizes he must act alone to save the lady he loves. But, as simmering tensions threaten to explode, Jack will quickly learn that Bosnia is a perilous place to work alone.


24. Oath of Office by Marc Cameron

US spies employ a high-tech drone to monitor a French guns dealer interact with a gorgeous woman on a popular tourist beach in Portugal. But they only realize she has shot him dead after she has left.

Protests against the harsh dictatorship in Iran are spreading, sparked by a charismatic student. The majority of outside onlookers are enthralled, but a shady spy on the ground detects something is seriously wrong.

At the same time, while the United States struggles to recover from a series of natural catastrophes, Russian troops and ships are massing on Ukraine’s borders, putting the two countries closer to conflict.


25. Enemy Contact by Mike Maden

A squad of elite counter-terror commandos prepares to attack a freshly found Hezbollah hideaway on an Argentine island. However, they didn’t anticipate being ruthlessly attacked, and end all of them murdered. 

Back in Washington, DC, the Senate’s rising opposition has reached catastrophic proportions, as a critical deal to strengthen NATO in Eastern Europe is mysteriously halted. The President assigns Jack Ryan Jr. to Poland to investigate. He suspects that important lawmakers may have been corrupted — but is cognizant of the explosive ramifications of making such claims in public.

In Warsaw, Jack teams up with Liliana Zaleski, a gorgeous and intelligent Polish spy, and it’s not long before they uncover proof of a convoluted system of corruption. But what Jack and Liliana don’t realize is that the plot is far bigger than they could have anticipated, and the threat has already come dangerously near to their doorstep.


26. Code of Honour by Marc Cameron

It all started with a text. Before becoming silent, President Jack Ryan’s old friend (and former agent) Father Pat West warns of a honey trap, a probable murder, and a secret AI project called Calliope falling into Chinese hands.

As a result, Jack Ryan is faced with two serious issues. First and foremost, locate and rescue his old companion, who was last seen in Indonesia. Then, secondly, figure out what Calliope is and how serious of a threat it is.


27. Firing Point by Mike Maden

Jack Ryan flies to Barcelona for some much-needed vacation after a failed mission. He runs into an old acquaintance, Renee Moore, but they barely have time to speak before a bomb detonates, destroying the establishment.

Renee breathes a final word as she dies in Jack’s arms: ‘Sammler.’ He chooses to look into Renee’s motivations for being in Spain, as well as the bombing itself. Soon, Jack is on the trail of a shadowy organization intent on provoking conflict between the world’s great nations.


28. Shadow of the Dragon by Marc Cameron

The Ministry of State Security is furious when bright and quirky physicist Liu Wangshu vanishes from his residence in China. They’re positive it’s a defection to the Americans.

President Jack Ryan recognizes Liu’s value as a resource: He is responsible for most of China’s recent technical advancement, with his most recent endeavor rumored to be the largest ever. The issue is that no one on Ryan’s team knows where Liu is.

Even worse, Ryan realizes that China is already keeping a close eye on them: SURVEYOR, a mole code-named, has infiltrated US intelligence with scary levels of access. The new Cold War is ready to heat up significantly.


29. Target Acquired by Don Bentley

Jack Ryan Jr. is working on a straightforward assignment. An all-expenses-paid trip to Israel in return for a few hours of simply reporting to an old CIA buddy. What could be more simple?

Jack is just passing through, but as he gets into his job at the market, he notices the gleam of a knife and leaps in front of a mother and her small boy.

Consequently, after his cover is revealed, he becomes the target of skilled assassins. Jack, alone and outgunned, will have to utilize all of his talents to save the child’s life.


30. Chain of Command by Marc Cameron

Patients in hospitals, clinics, and at home are dying as a result of ineffective copies of the medications they need to survive. A crooked pharmaceutical tycoon has spent millions of dollars backing extremist organizations while leveraging the turmoil they create to hide his money-making schemes, but power is the only genuine aim for a man with such lofty goals.

To get there, he’ll have to get rid of the single thing standing in his way: Jack Ryan. But how do you go after the world’s most well-protected man? The answer is as easy as it is frightening for a guy who has made his money via fraud and underhanded dealings: He must abduct the First Lady.


31. Zero Hour by Don Bentley

When the leader of North Korea is injured, his incapacitation inadvertently triggers a “dead-man’s switch.” This activates an army of sleeper agents in South Korea and precipitates a succession struggle.

Jack Ryan Jr. is in Seoul to interview a potential addition to the Campus. But his benign trip takes a deadly turn when a wave of violence perpetrated by North Korean operatives grips South Korea’s capital. A mysterious voice from North Korea offers Jack a way to stop the peninsula’s rush to war, but her price may be more than he can afford to pay.


Other Books Placed in the Jack Ryan Universe

These Jack Ryan books in order don’t feature Jack Ryan as a main character, but they are within the same universe and you will recognize names and places. You will also meet other characters you’ve heard about in previous books.


1. Without Remorse

This novel is about John Clark, one of the main secondary characters in the Jack Ryan series, and his best friend. The novel covers the genesis of Clark and alternates between two major tale arcs set during the Vietnam War in the city of Baltimore. We also meet Emmet Ryan in this novel, Jack’s father.


2. Rainbow Six

Following the insistence of John Clark, who was supported by CIA Director Ed Foley, Mary Pat Foley, General Mickey Moore, and others, President Ryan approved the development of a new worldwide counter-terrorism team known as Rainbow in 1999. In the chronological order of the Jack Ryan series, Rainbow Six falls between Executive Orders and The Bear and the Dragon.


Looking for more books in order?

How about checking out another Jack. This list of Jack Reacher books in order is just for you.

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