Do you want to know more about Tom Clancy, a popular author of espionage, political, and military novels? If so, read on and discover a new world.
Tom Clancy’s work is the staple of thriller fiction, with more than 15 bestsellers and over 100 million books sold worldwide.
Here, we’ll discuss Tom Clancy’s life and provide short reviews of his best books.
From insurance broker to White House regular
Tom Clancy was born in 1947 in Baltimore, Maryland. He attended Loyola High School and later enrolled in Loyola College, where he got his B. A. in English. Clancy worked as a broker for an insurance company owned by his wife’s grandmother. Eventually, he bought the agency and started writing novels in his spare time.
Clancy wrote his debut novel, The Hunt for Red October, while working at the agency. The novel was an instant hit, and even president Ronald Reagan praised it publicly. Millions of people were impressed by Clancy’s realistic representations of military scenarios.
Soon, Clancy became a favorite of the U.S. Military. He became a White House regular and dined with presidents. He had access to military submarines, ships, and aircraft. Pentagon employees provided him with materials for his upcoming projects, allowing him to dig deep and deliver realistic and exciting plots.
Clancy’s success didn’t end with his debut novel. On the contrary, his best-seller status continued. During his lifetime, ten of his books made the number-one spot on the New York Times bestseller list.
Literature wasn’t the only area of interest for Tom Clancy. In 1996, he founded Red Storm Entertainment to produce and sell video games based on his books. The first game, Politika, was released a year later. His work served as the main inspiration for games like Ghost Recon, Rainbow Six, The Division, and Splinter Cell.
Red Storm Entertainment was later purchased by Ubisoft Entertainment.
Clancy was also a sports fan. He wanted to purchase the Minnesota Vikings for $200 million, but the deal fell through.
In 2002, Clancy earned the 10th spot on Forbes’ “Celebrity 100” list of top earners for the year.
Clancy died in Baltimore in October 2013. Before his death, he worked on a book titled Command Authority, which was published in December of that year.
Best Tom Clancy books
Here’s a list of the best Tom Clancy novels:
The Hunt for Red October
The novel’s main character is Jack Ryan, a CIA operative who was brought in to help find a Soviet nuclear submarine called Red October. Both Russians and the U.S. government are trying to locate it.
Soon, Ryan ends up in a high-stakes game played by two powerful countries. He races against the clock to locate the submarine and prevent an all-out war.
The novel was made into a movie starring Alec Baldwin as Jack Ryan in 1990.
Clear and Present Danger
This political thriller was published in 1989. Clear and Present Danger is another novel that centers on Jack Ryan, who is now the CIA Deputy Director. This time, Ryan is caught in the middle of a drug war between the U.S. and Colombia.
He works on a high-risk operation and realizes the real danger comes from someone very close to him. The movie was a box office hit and generated more than $200 million worldwide.
The Sum of All Fears
This novel is set in the 1990s. At first, everything seems perfectly calm. However, after terrorists announce they have hidden a nuclear bomb somewhere in the U.S., all hell breaks loose. It seems the whole world is interested in the bombing. Besides the U.S., we have the Russians, Palestinians, and East Germany.
Jack Ryan races against the clock to find a solution and prevent a catastrophe.
Red Storm Rising
This war novel was published in 1986. The plot is set in the 1980s and focuses on the Third World War between NATO and Warsaw Pact forces.
The novel is unique for two reasons. First, the conflict depicted in the book is fought using only conventional weapons, without weapons of mass destruction or nuclear weapons. Second, this is one of two novels that aren’t set in the “Ryanverse.” The second novel is SSN.
Rainbow Six centers on John Clark, a CIA operative who forms an international counterterrorist organization called Rainbow. The group’s main purpose is to combat rogue terrorist groups previously sponsored by the state during the Cold War.
The group is divided into two teams of special forces soldiers from NATO countries supported by MI6, the FBI, and Mossad.
They travel to Austria, Switzerland, Spain, and other countries to fight terrorists and save the lives of innocent people.
Other popular novels are Patriot Games, The Teeth of the Tiger, Without Remorse, Dead or Alive, Debt of Honor, Executive Orders, Locked on, Red Rabbit, The Cardinal of the Kremlin, Threat Vector, and The Bear and the Dragon.
Many of Clancy’s novels have been made into movie and TV series adaptations. A popular TV series named Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan stars John Krasinski.
Tom Clancy book series
Tom Clancy novels can be grouped into series depending on the characters and events they’re focusing on. Here’s an overview of the series:
- Jack Ryan novels – 22 titles
- Jack Ryan Jr./Campus novels – 16 titles
- Net Force books – 16 titles
- Net Force Explorers books – 19 titles
- EndWar books – Three titles
- Ghost Recon books – Four titles
- Op-center books – 20 titles
- Power Play books – Eight titles
- Splinter Cell books – Nine titles
- The Division books – Two titles
- Commanders non-fiction books – Four titles
- Standalone novels – Four titles
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Did Tom Clancy serve in the military?
No, he didn’t.