How to Read All Jack Ryan Books In Order (Chronological) (2024)

Some may not know, but Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan books exist in an expansive shared universe, with many left scratching their heads at how to read them in order.

One could say the renowned writer was ahead of his time, providing his riff on a connected narrative universe long before the MCU or DCEU graced the silver screen.

Colloquially known as the Ryanverse, Clancy's Jack Ryan narrative tapestry totals 39 books written over 40 years, some of which have been adapted in many ways including video games, Amazon Prime Video TV shows, and star-studded Hollywood blockbusters (featuring the likes of Harrison Ford, Tom Cruise, and Michael B. Jordan to name a few).

How To Read Every Jack Ryan Book in Chronological Order

How to Read All Jack Ryan Books In Order (Chronological) (1)

Without Remorse

While technically being the sixth book written in Tom Clancy's Ryanverse, Without Remorse starts the timeline. Taking place in Vietnam-era America, Without Remorse does not feature Jack Ryan at all, instead telling the origin story of John Clark, a former Navy SEAL and Baltimore native who appears as a recurring character in several other more Jack Ryan-centric stories.

Patriot Games

Patriot Games chronologically marks the first adventure for Jack Ryan, happening six years after Without Remorse. Ryan is a former U.S. Marine and stockbroker who gets tied up with an ultra-right-wing group making waves in the IRA. Catching the eye of the CIA, Ryan must put his life on the line as this terrorist sect targets him after he thwarted the kidnapping and assassination of a world leader.

Red Rabbit

Red Rabbit unfolds a few months after Patriot Games. The 2002 book sees Jack Ryan as a full-on CIA analyst and field agent and is based around the real-life assassination attempt of Pope John Paul II in 1981. As Ryan is attempting to extract a Russian defector, he is made aware of a KGB plot to take out the religious leader, leading him knee-deep in this international political conspiracy.

The Hunt for Red October

The Hunt for Red October marked Tom Clancy's first novel, hitting store shelves in October 1984. Set at the height of the Cold War, this Jack Ryan adventure follows the search for a Russian submarine manned by a Social military officer who intends to defect. As Russia seeks to blow the sub out of the water, Ryan and the CIA must aim to find the vessel first and save the asset on board.

Red Winter

Written as one of the Jack Ryan books not authored by Tom Clancy, Red Winter took readers back to 1985, following a young version of the hero that had aged on the page. The 2022 novel sees Jack Ryan head behind the Iron Curtain following the crash of a top-secret aircraft in the Nevada desert. This downed military craft sends the Soviets into a frenzy as they seek to find out more about the asset, potentially getting into touch with CIA operatives like Ryan to do so.

The Cardinal of the Kremlin

One year after the events of Red Winter, Jack Ryan is back in action in The Cardinal of the Kremlin. This Clancy novel happens in 1985 as the Star Wars rage on between the U.S. and Russia, with Ryan tasked with extracting a Russian agent (known as CARDINAL) who has knowledge of the Kremlin's in-orbit missile defense system.

Clear and Present Danger

Clear and Present Danger sees Jack Ryan, now nearly 40 years old, as the director of intelligence. The once-on-the-ground CIA agent is thrust back onto the world stage as he discovers his agency has been fighting a covert war against the Colombian Medellín Drug Cartel.

The Sum of All Fears

Serving as the last Jack Ryan novel of the Soviet era, The Sum of All Fears centers on the dissolution of the USSR just after the Persian Gulf War. The book follows CIA Director of Intelligence Jack Ryan as he believes to have figured out a path for peace in the Middle East. However, that is all turned upside down when a terrorist group comes into possession of a nuclear weapon, putting the recent ideas of international reconciliation into question.

Debt of Honor

Debt of Honor features yet another promotion for Jack Ryan, who becomes the new National Security Advisor for the U.S. President. The book follows Ryan as he uncovers an international plot by a nefarious Japanese industrialist to cripple America by way of imports with deadly defects.

Executive Orders

Executive Orders picks up immediately following the end of Debt of Honor as (now Vice President) Jack Ryan is thrust into the presidency after a terrorist attack on Washington kills nearly every U.S. executive, legislative, and judicial figure. Jack fills the void left by the dearly departed commander and chief, taking the burden of running the country on his shoulders in the wake of tragedy.

Rainbow Six

With rising tensions around the world at the turn of the century, Rainbow Six centers on a NATO-led anti-terrorism squad being assembled to take down a new terrorist threat that—through biological warfare—could end life on Earth entirely. Rainbow Six is tied into the Ryanverse as the new elite regiment is led by recurring character and Without Remorse protagonist John Clark.

The Bear and the Dragon

Coming directly after Rainbow Six is The Bear and the Dragon. In this book, newly elected President Jack Ryan sends Rainbow Six and, in turn, his trusted compatriot John Clark to Moscow after the assassination attempt of one of Russia's high-level government officials.

The Teeth of the Tiger

The Teeth of the Tiger welcomed in the Jack Ryan Jr. era of the franchise, following Jack Ryan's son. In the fight against terrorism, the book sees Jack Ryan Jr. recruited to an intelligence agency known as The Campus. He and a small group go undercover with some of the world's most dangerous criminal and terrorist groups to take them down from the inside.

Dead or Alive

Dead or Alive follows up on The Teeth of the Tiger, focusing on Jack Ryan Jr. and The Campus yet again. This time they go up against a terrorist leader known as the Emir. While the mysterious international criminal has plenty of blood on his hands at the start of the book, it is nothing compared to what he has planned if Jack Ryan Jr. and The Campus can not bring him to justice in time.

Against All Enemies

Against All Enemies takes place in 2008, introducing a brand-new main character to the Ryanverse. Readers follow the ex-Navy SEAL Max Moore as the U.S. government tasks him to lead a squad to take down a Mexican drug cartel and stop the Taliban from attacking the United States.

Locked On

Locked On is one of the most personal stories for the Ryan family yet. The book follows a devout enemy from Jack Ryan's past launching a plan to discredit the presidential candidate during the 2008 election cycle. All this happens as Jack Ryan Jr. works in the Middle East to take down a Pakistani general with a nuclear-fueled itch for power.

Threat Vector

Said to take place six months after Locked On, the 2012 novel sees President Jack Ryan employ the help of his son along with the mysterious government agency known as The Campus to prevent a Chinese Expansionist regime from starting a potential third World War.

Command Authority

Command Authority enters the 2010s, digging back up a threat thought to have been extinguished with the fall of the USSR. This Jack Ryan adventure is implied to unfold roughly five months after Threat Vector, as Ryan Sr. traces the death of one of his oldest friends back to Russia. This prompts the U.S. President to send his son, Jack Ryan Jr., John Clark, and The Campus to pick a trail he turned his back on more than thirty years ago.

Support and Defend

After The Campus was thrust into the public eye for the first time in Command Authority, Support and Defend sees the clandestine outfit shuttered. One of the group's biggest names (and the nephew of Jack Ryan Sr.), Dominic "Dom" Caruso is the center of this story, being the first to be released since Tom Clancy's 2013 death. Dom has to take on what looks to be a rogue National Security Council (NSC) staffer who has run off with some top-secret documents but uncovers so much more in the process.

Full Force and Effect

Full Force and Effect highlights The Campus back in action. Being sent on yet another mission by President Jack Ryan Sr. Set around 2010, this story feels pulled straight from the headlines as Jack Ryan Jr. and his Campus team must stop North Korean leader Choi Ji-hoo's ventures to expand his country's nuclear weapons program.

Under Fire

Under Fire is a full-on Jack Ryan Jr. story. After crossing paths with an old friend named Seth, Jack gets pulled into an international conspiracy as Seth leaves The Campus agent a mysterious message before going missing.

Commander in Chief

Taking on an all-too-familiar threat, Commander in Chief sees President Jack Ryan against the Kremlin as Russian President Valeri Volodin launches a covert operative offensive to restore his country to its status as an international superpower. This book is assumed to take place in December 2010, midway through Jack Ryan Sr.'s second term as president.

Duty and Honor

Duty and Honor sees Jack Ryan Jr. all on his own. After being ousted from The Campus, Jack's entire world is shaken as he questions who is friend and foe. On top of that, someone is out for Jack Ryan Jr.'s blood. While local authorities feel like it may be a common criminal, Ryan knows the work of a hired assassin.

True Faith and Allegiance

True Faith and Allegiance finds the Ryanverse in Spring 2011, several months after the events of Commander in Chief. The book follows John Clark this time as he uncovers an international data breach, with terrorists weaponizing people's information against them.

Point of Contact

Listed as one of the last Ryanverse books with a clear demarcation of time, Point of Contact occurs sometime in 2012. It sees Jack Ryan Jr. and Paul Brown hired to investigate a suspicious Singapore-based tech company that has seen a rapid rise to prominence.

Power and Empire

Power and Empire comes to readers with President Jack Ryan Sr. going to his son and The Campus for help. This time, Jack Ryan Jr. is tasked with taking down a cabal that plans a violent coup within the Chinese government.

Line of Sight

Line of Sight sees Jack Ryan Jr. heading into his past yet again. He searches for a woman that his mother helped to restore the sight of back during the Bosnian war. While this starts as a simple mission to deliver a letter, The Campus agent finds a little more than he bargained for and is pulled into a plot to provoke war between NATO and Russia.

Oath of Office

Released in November 2018, Oath of Office follows Jack Ryan Sr. and The Campus as they deal with the sinister underpinnings of mass protests in Iran. In what is known as the Persian Spring, while the rest of the world is rejoicing that Iran is now free, Team Ryan sees evidence that something more nefarious may be at work.

Enemy Contact

Enemy Contact marks writer Mike Maden's third book centered on Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan Jr. character. This 2019 novel sees the iconic literary hero connected to a breach at the CIA that could shake the backbone of the Western world if put into the wrong hands. With one of his missions being attached to the CIA leak, Ryan goes on a quest to clear his name and catch the perpetrator in the process.

Code of Honor

November 2019's Code of Honor is another techno-thriller set in Tom Clancy's Ryanverse. Unfolding on two planes, the novel sees President Jack Ryan Sr. dealing with the imprisonment of an old friend while his cohorts at The Campus navigate the threat posed by a dangerous Chinese A.I. weapon.

Firing Point

After years without any official timeline update (with books seemingly being released in chronological order), Firing Point plants its flag in 2020, 19 years after the start of the war in Afghanistan. This is the fourth and final book in Mark Maden's Jack Ryan Jr. series, spotlighting Ryan's search into the death of a friend while on vacation in Barcelona.

Shadow of the Dragon

The Ryanverse has seen its central cast of characters travel worldwide, but Shadow of the Dragon sees Team Ryan venture into entirely unexplored surroundings for the series... undercover in China. A missing Chinese scientist, mysterious sounds bellowing from the Arctic ice, and a suspected mole in American intelligence prompt President Jack Ryan Sr. to task The Campus with infiltrating China and finding out what is going on.

Target Acquired

Target Acquired centers again on Jack Ryan Jr. After he saves a woman and her son while visiting Israel, Jack finds himself in the crosshairs of trained killers who - for one reason or another - want the beneficiaries of his heroism dead.

Chain of Command

Dealing with a modern-day topic de jour, Chain of Command spotlights a potentially dangerous threat rising from within, as an American billionaire seeks to grab as much power as possible. After the drugs patients need to live start to prove ineffective all over the country, President Jack Ryan assembles a team to investigate the man behind these pills, finding that the pharmaceutical magnate might not be exactly who he says he is.

Zero Hour

Set in Ryanverse's version of South Korea, Zero Hour follows Jack Ryan Jr. as he interviews a potential new candidate for The Campus. However, plans change as Ryan is thrust into action following North Korean forces taking hold of the South Korean capital city.

Flash Point

Flash Point centers on a plane crash that has the potential to ignite a massive global conflict. With Jack Ryan Jr. in Southeast Asia on the hunt for an enemy set on destroying The Campus, he witnesses the fallout of two aircraft colliding from feuding nations in the South China Sea. This one event could spark a continental war if Ryan cannot ease tensions fast enough.

Weapons Grade

After witnessing what looks to be an everyday car accident, Weapons Grade shows Jack Ryan Jr. suspecting this was a little more than the average fender-bender, discovering it was, in fact, a professional hit job. This sends The Campus agent on the hunt for the person behind the crime.

Command and Control

One of the few modern Ryanverse books to focus on Jack Ryan Sr. is Command and Control. While on a diplomatic mission to meet with the president of Columbia, a full-blown coup erupts, with U.S. President Jack Ryan discovering the political conflict was a cover to assassinate him and his team while on foreign soil.

Act of Defiance

Act of Defiance—the most recent book in the Ryanverse timeline—puts President Jack Ryan Sr. back in the saddle for some intercontinental intrigue. This time, Ryan squares off with the Kremlin as a mysterious superweapon seems to be in the works off the coast of Russia.

Every Jack Ryan book can be purchased online or at your local bookstore.

How to Read All Jack Ryan Books In Order (Chronological) (2024)


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