Vince Flynn Books in Order | 3 Ways to Read the Mitch Rapp Books

Vince Flynn Books in Order

With many books set in the Mitch Rapp universe, here are three ways you can read the popular Vince Flynn books in order.

Fans of political thrillers adore Vince Flynn’s writing and captivating story-telling. If you’re looking for an exciting, thrilling read, the storyline of Mitch Rapp will be sure to entrance you with its action-packed adventure.

Mitch Rapp is the main character in most of Vince Flynn’s political thriller works. Rapp is an aggressive CIA counterterrorism agent who is willing to go further than most. Fueled by his personal trauma, Rapp quickly ascends the ranks in the CIA and he becomes an invaluable weapon.

The twentieth Mitch Rapp novel, Enemy at the Gates, was published on September 14, 2021.

Mitch Rapp Series by Vince Flynn

Most of Vince Flynn’s books follow CIA agent Mitch Rapp in his undercover pursuit to defeat terrorism. Readers have been captivated for more than two decades now by the pernicious character of Rapp.

He will stop at nothing in his counter attacks against terrorists. A deadly weapon in his own right, Rapp will go further than most to see justice served. These high stakes and risky endeavors make for a compelling read that is hard to put down.

When Rapp was a young college student, a tragic terrorist attack killed his high school sweetheart. From this moment onwards Rapp is fueled by revenge and retribution. Initially operating on his own, Rapp is then recruited and trained by the CIA.

His first official mission is to counter foreign terrorism before it reaches American soil. The series follows Rapp throughout his career as he carries out multiple assassinations around the world and escapes close calls time and time again.

Vince Flynn Books in Order

More About Author Vince Flynn

Vince Flynn worked in many different fields before he landed on writing. He worked in marketing, nearly entered the United States Marine Corps, and then worked with real estate. But his love of books eventually led him to pursue writing his first novel.

During this labor of love, Flynn wrote during the day and bartended at night for five years. He received multiple rejection letters before he decided to self-publish his first book Term Limits. The book was an instant success. Within a week’s time Flynn had an agent and a two-book publishing deal.

What followed were more than a dozen books published during the next two decades. While Term Limits does not follow Flynn’s infamous and most well-known character Mitch Rapp, it takes place within the Rapp universe.

His books have since garnered the attention of Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush who are fans of Flynn’s work.

Tragically, Flynn died from prostate cancer in 2013 while working on the fourteenth Mitch Rapp novel: The Survivor. He had sold more than 15 million copies of his books by the time of his death. The decision to select Kyle Mills to continue the series was made jointly by his estate and publisher.

The Mantle of Mitch Rapp: Kyle Mills

In addition to being a popular author himself, Kyle Mills seems to be the perfect person for the job. A self-acclaimed Flynn fan, Mills already knew what it was like to step in for an author posthumously. Mills has written three Jason Bourne books to continue the Covert One series following Robert Ludlum’s death in 2001. 

Mills has written ten other books, including several for his own Mark Beaman series and standalones.

#1 Vince Flynn Books in Order of Publication

One way to read the Vince Flynn books in order is in the order of publication. There is, however, one notable book missing from this list. The books found on this list take place within the Mitch Rapp series, and as previously mentioned, Flynn’s first novel, Term Limits, is a standalone. There will be more details about this book further on, but Term Limits takes place within the same universe as Mitch Rapp and is a great place to start when reading the Vince Flynn books in order. Flynn’s first bestseller is full of important world-building that amplifies his Mitch Rapp series.

As well, while there are only two small changes between the publication order and the chronological order of the Vince Flynn books, the publication order will raise serious questions when you reach American Assassin and find yourself thrown back in time.

  1. Transfer of Power (1999)
  2. The Third Option (2000)
  3. Separation of Power (2001)
  4. Executive Power (2003)
  5. Memorial Day (2004)
  6. Consent to Kill (2005)
  7. Act of Treason (2006)
  8. Protect and Defend (2007)
  9. Extreme Measures (2008)
  10. Pursuit of Honor (2009)
  11. American Assassin (2010)
  12. Kill Shot (2012)
  13. The Last Man (2012)
  14. The Survivor (2015)*
  15. Order to Kill (2016)*
  16. Enemy of the State (2017)*
  17. Red War (2018)*
  18. Lethal Agent (2019)*
  19. Total Power (2020)*
  20. Enemy at the Gates (2021)*
  21. Oath of Loyalty (September 13, 2022)*
  22. TBA (2023)*

Reading Vince Flynn’s Books in Order of Publication

One downside to reading the Mitch Rapp series in publication order is that halfway through you will stumble across two prequels that feel out of place.

This is because Flynn chose to go back to the beginning of Rapp’s story after writing ten novels about his career in counterterrorism efforts.

American Assassin and Kill Shot, the eleventh and twelfth book published respectively, are by-and-large accepted as the proper first and second book within the Mitch Rapp series. This is despite being published a decade after the first book was published.

As well, the books marked with an asterisk above were written by Kyle Mills and published posthumously following Vince Flynn’s death.

#2 Vince Flynn Books in Order Chronologically

Reading the Vince Flynn books in order chronologically is only a subtle change when compared to the books in order of publication. It was ten years after the publication of the first book in this series that Flynn decided to go back and write two prequels. These two books, American Assassin and Kill Shot, precede the first book published chronologically and detail the beginning of Mitch Rapp’s CIA career.

  1. American Assassin (2010)
  2. Kill Shot (2012)
  3. Transfer of Power (1999)
  4. The Third Option (2000)
  5. Separation of Power (2001)
  6. Executive Power (2003)
  7. Memorial Day (2004)
  8. Consent to Kill (2005)
  9. Act of Treason (2006)
  10. Protect and Defend (2007)
  11. Extreme Measures (2008)
  12. Pursuit of Honor (2009)
  13. The Last Man (2012)
  14. The Survivor (2015)*
  15. Order to Kill (2016)*
  16. Enemy of the State (2017)*
  17. Red War (2018)*
  18. Lethal Agent (2019)*
  19. Total Power (2020)*
  20. Enemy at the Gates (2021)*
  21. Oath of Loyalty (September 13, 2022)*

Reading Vince Flynn’s Books in Order Chronologically

The change between publication and chronological order is so subtle, it is an easy shift to recommend reading the books in this order. This will help you understand the character motivations and strengthen both the world- and character-building.

Reading Vince Flynn’s books in order chronologically will provide you with so much more context concerning Flynn’s renowned character, Mitch Rapp. The prequels function as an origin story for Rapp. The added context gives you a glimpse into how he became the hardened CIA operative in later books. With this additional context, Rapp’s behavior and the risks he takes become more understandable.

Again, as with the previous list, the books marked above with an asterisk were written by Kyle Mills and published posthumously following Flynn’s death.

#3 Mitch Rapp Books in Order by Author

A third way to enjoy the Mitch Rapp books is by acknowledging the shift in authorship between Vince Flynn and Kyle Mills.

In 2013 before his death, Flynn had only written a few chapters of his fourteenth Mitch Rapp novel: The Survivor. In a decision between Flynn’s estate and publisher Pocket Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, Mills was selected to pick up the mantle of the Mitch Rapp series.

Mills was tasked with finishing The Survivor and writing at least two more Mitch Rapp books. Seven books later, Mills has clearly succeeded. Mills signed another 3-book-deal in 2020 to bring you more Mitch Rapp books through 2023.

If you’re looking for a new lens through which to enjoy this series, here is a list of the books in chronological order by author.

Mitch Rapp Books in Order by Vince Flynn

  1. American Assassin (2010)
  2. Kill Shot (2012)
  3. Transfer of Power (1999)
  4. The Third Option (2000)
  5. Separation of Power (2001)
  6. Executive Power (2003)
  7. Memorial Day (2004)
  8. Consent to Kill (2005)
  9. Act of Treason (2006)
  10. Protect and Defend (2007)
  11. Extreme Measures (2008)
  12. Pursuit of Honor (2009)
  13. The Last Man (2012)

Mitch Rapp Books in Order by Kyle Mills

  1. The Survivor (2015)
  2. Order to Kill (2016)
  3. Enemy of the State (2017)
  4. Red War (2018)
  5. Lethal Agent (2019)
  6. Total Power (2020)
  7. Enemy at the Gates (2021)
  8. Oath of Loyalty (September 13, 2022)

The Book That Started It All: Term Limits

As previously mentioned, before Transfer of Power, Flynn published a book within the Rapp universe in 1997. Term Limits became an instant bestseller. Despite being a standalone, it is recommended that you read Term Limits first before reading the Mitch Rapp series.

In starting your Vince Flynn reading journey with Term Limits then moving on to reading the Vince Flynn books in order chronologically, it will help fully explore Flynn’s world-building as he grew as an author.

Term Limits opens with three brutal assassinations over the course of one bloody night. When three of Washington’s most powerful politicians are executed, havoc is wrought. An ultimatum swiftly follows from the assassins to restore power to the people and no one is safe in their pursuit, not even the President.

The main character Michael O’Rourke is a former U.S. Marine and a freshman congressman. Only he holds a clue to the motives of these violent assassins. A haunting incident from his past might help the joint FBI-CIA task force in revealing who these killers are, and where they will strike next.

Term Limits remains one of Vince Flynn’s most popular books.

Mitch Rapp Book Movie Adaption

Vince Flynn’s popular Mitch Rapp character inspired a film production. The movie is based off Flynn’s prequel American Assassin, which has become the first book in the Rapp series. American Assassin premiered in 2017 and stars Dylan O’Brien as Mitch Rapp with Michael Keaton as Mitch’s CIA instructor Stan Hurley.

However, many major plot points changed in adapting American Assassin from book to screen. The movie remains a loose inspiration of Flynn’s characters and motivations. It delivers on drama and action, but if you’re a die-hard fan of the books, don’t expect an identical interpretation.

Summary of Vince Flynn Books in Order

The books created by Vince Flynn guarantee fast-paced, action-packed thrillers. The aggressive character of Mitch Rapp will go to extremes to succeed in his mission of counterterrorism and nothing can get in his way.

Whether you’re new to the series or a longtime fan from Flynn’s self-publishing days, find a brief summary of the first five Vince Flynn books in order from the Mitch Rapp series below.

American Assassin Vince Flynn Books in order

1. American Assassin

Before tragedy struck, Mitch Rapp was a standard gifted college athlete. But now he wants retribution for the Pan Am Lockerbie terrorist attack, which killed his girlfriend. Initially content with pursuing his revenge independently, Rapp is then recruited by the CIA.

Rapp quickly climbs the proverbial ladder in an intense training program. The goal: Stop terrorists before they reach American soil. American Assassin sees Rapp take chances where others would play it safe and leave a trail of bodies in his wake. In Beirut he will need every bit of skill he has acquired in order to escape with his life.


Kill Shot

2. Kill Shot

It’s been a year since Mitch Rapp was trained and unleashed by the CIA. Since then, he has taken down the killers responsible for the Pan Am Lockerbie terrorist attack. His hunt now leads him to Paris where he finds himself snared in a deadly trap.

Rapp is framed for the murder of nine people, including Libya’s oil minister. With the threat of an international crisis, Washington wants to clean its hands of Rapp and deems him a liability. Thus, Rapp must fend for himself and operate alone.

However, it soon becomes clear that nothing is more dangerous than a wounded and cornered Mitch Rapp.


Transfer of Power

3. Transfer of Power

The third Mitch Rapp book opens with a horrifying scene as a group of terrorists gain access to the White House amid a hail of gunfire.

Through a violent massacre that leaves dozens of innocent bystanders murdered, the terrorists have control of the Executive Mansion. The president evacuates into his underground bunker, but almost one hundred hostages are taken. As negotiation talks begin with the terrorist group, one man is sent in for the rescue. Mitch Rapp has ascended to role of the CIA’s top counterterrorism operative.

There is no one is more skilled for the job. He must scramble to save the hostages and rescue the president as he makes a chilling realization: Someone within the American government is maneuvering in hopes that his rescue attempt with fail.


The Third Option

4. The Third Option

When diplomacy fails and military intervention is inappropriate, Mitch Rapp is the third option. The CIA’s top counterterrorism operative, his latest target is a German Industrialist who has been selling equipment to the world’s most notorious terrorism sponsor.

But this just might be his final mission. Rapp soon realizes that he has been deemed an expendable asset amidst a succession upheaval in the CIA.

Again, he must fend for himself as his mission becomes dangerously compromised. No one counted on him being able to return, or how far he will go to uncover who set him up.


Separation of Power Vince Flynn Books in Order

5. Separation of Power

In the fifth installment of this series, Mitch Rapp is up against a ticking clock and impossible odds. The newly-appointed CIA director is the target of an inside plot to destroy her and prematurely end the President’s term.

Meanwhile, Saddam Hussein is close to igniting a nuclear arms race. With the looming threat of World War III the President calls in his secret weapon: Rapp. But will Rapp succeed against these impossible odds with only two weeks to do so?


Looking for more books in order?

Check out this list of Lee Child’s Jack Reacher books in order.

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