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

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 the 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 also 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) (Jack Ryan Jr)
  13. Dead or Alive (2010) (Jack Ryan Jr)
  14. Locked On (2011) (Jack Ryan Jr)
  15. Threat Vector (2012) (Jack Ryan Jr)
  16. Command Authority (2013) (Jack Ryan Jr)
  17. Support and Defend (2014) (Jack Ryan Jr)
  18. Full Force and Effect (2014) (Jack Ryan Jr)
  19. Under Fire (2015) (Jack Ryan Jr)
  20. Commander-in-Chief (2015)
  21. Duty and Honor (2016) (Jack Ryan Jr)
  22. True Faith and Allegiance (2016)
  23. Point of Contact (2017) (Jack Ryan Jr)
  24. Power and Empire (2017)
  25. Line of Sight (2018) (Jack Ryan Jr)
  26. Oath of Office (2018)
  27. Enemy Contact (2019) (Jack Ryan Jr)
  28. Code of Honor (2019)
  29. Firing Point (2020) (Jack Ryan Jr)
  30. Shadow of the Dragon (2020)
  31. Target Acquired (2021) (Jack Ryan Jr)
  32. Chain of Command (2021)
  33. Zero Hour (2022) (Jack Ryan Jr)
  34. Red Winter (2022)
  35. Flash Point (2023) (Jack Ryan Jr)
  36. Weapons Grade (2023) (Jack Ryan Jr)
  37. Command and Control (2023)
  38. Act of Defiance (Expected: May 21, 2024)
  39. Shadow State (Expected: August 13, 2024) (Jack Ryan Jr)
  40. Defense Protocol (Expected: December 3, 2024)

#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.

For that reason, 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. Red Winter
  6. The Cardinal of the Kremlin
  7. Clear and Present Danger     
  8. The Sum of All Fears     
  9. Debt of Honor     
  10. Executive Orders     
  11. Rainbow Six     
  12. The Bear and the Dragon 
  13. The Teeth of the Tiger (Jack Ryan Jr)    
  14. Dead or Alive (Jack Ryan Jr)
  15. Locked On (Jack Ryan Jr)
  16. Threat Vector (Jack Ryan Jr)
  17. Command Authority (Jack Ryan Jr)
  18. Support and Defend (Jack Ryan Jr)
  19. Full Force and Effect (Jack Ryan Jr)
  20. Under Fire (Jack Ryan Jr)
  21. Commander-in-Chief
  22. Duty and Honor (Jack Ryan Jr)
  23. True Faith and Allegiance
  24. Point of Contact (Jack Ryan Jr)
  25. Power and Empire
  26. Line of Sight (Jack Ryan Jr)
  27. Oath of Office
  28. Enemy Contact (Jack Ryan Jr)
  29. Code of Honor
  30. Firing Point (Jack Ryan Jr)
  31. Shadow of the Dragon
  32. Target Acquired (Jack Ryan Jr)
  33. Chain of Command
  34. Zero Hour (Jack Ryan Jr)
  35. Flash Point (Jack Ryan Jr)
  36. Weapons Grade (2023) (Jack Ryan Jr)
  37. Command and Control
  38. Act of Defiance (Expected: May 21, 2024)
  39. Shadow State (Expected: August 13, 2024) (Jack Ryan Jr)
  40. Defense Protocol (Expected: December 3, 2024)

Will there be more Jack Ryan adaptations?

With Jack Ryan being portrayed on screen by five different actors in more than 30 years, there seems to be a lot of regeneration available in the character.

The most recent actor to step into the role was John Krasinski starring and executive producing in the popular Amazon Prime Video series. However, allegedly Krasinski only ever signed on for four seasons as Jack Ryan. While fans were disappointed to learn the fourth season would be the final one of Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, it should not have come as a complete surprise.

However, the news of the series ending also brought with it the possibility of a spin-off on the horizon. Michael Peña joined the cast as Ryanverse character Domingo “Ding” Chavez. The potential Rainbow Six spin-off would feature him in the leading role.

The first two episodes of the fourth season will premiere on June 30, 2023 with two episodes being released per week until July 14, 2023.

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, Mike Maden, or Grant Blackwood. For more information, check out our list of Jack Ryan Jr Books in Order.
  • Post-Tom Clancy Books: This section only includes books following Jack Ryan after Tom Clancy’s death. More information about the Jack Ryan Jr books which were written after Tom Clancy’s death can be found in our article all about those books. The authors for the estate include Mark Greaney, Marc Cameron, Grant Blackwood, Mike Maden, and Don Bentley.
  • 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. 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.

Meanwhile, 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, while 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. Which means that 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

If you would like to learn more about the Jack Ryan Jr spin-off series, then you can read our article about all the books here.

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. Below are the books which focus on Jack Ryan Sr.

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

Meanwhile, 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.

5. 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.

6. 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. But 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.

7. 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.

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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