best tom clancy book

10 Best Tom Clancy Books That You Must-Read [ Ranked In Order By Richcog ]

by Rey Sagar

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Tom Clancy went from an unknown insurance salesman to the most successful author of the decade.

His fortune allowed him to become a professional sports owner and owner of a video game studio.

So how’d he get there? Today we’ll gonna take a look at some of the best tom clancy books to give you all the answers to why he became so successful.

We have done a bunch of research and read some of the books by ourselves which helped us a lot to make this list.

And if you find it helpful feel free to share it with your friends, that will definitely help more people to get the right information.

We know you are kind of hurry to see the best tom clancy book list and might be wondering what is the best tom clancy book to start with? 

Don’t worry we are here to tell you everything before you jump right from the scratch.

Now, Let’s see the best tom clancy books ranked by richcog, also check out the video below if you want to know how he absolutely dominated the 90s.

Top 10 Best Tom Clancy Books Of All Time

Before we give you the list of best tom clancy novels.

We want you to know how good Tom Clancy's novels are?

Well, From our own experience: Clancy had a few gifts and a few faults as a writer.

As far as gifts go, he was a terrific researcher, knew his stuff about military hardware, had a good feel for the way intelligence-gathering operations actually worked, so there was always a feel for realism in what was happening as it related to the capabilities of the ships, weapons, planes or technology he was weaving into his stories.

When he was writing about things, or how things were done, it was always interesting, because he worked hard at understanding those things and weaving the real-world capability of techniques into the flow of the novel.

What makes Clancy hard to read is two-fold:

He had a lousy feeling for dialogue.

The characters in his books all sound the same (Likely very much like Clancy himself) they all use the same verbal pause “Ok?” CONSTANTLY, and you just can't come away from the conversations in the story without feeling like they are what someone who is a very poor conversationalist thinks good conversation sounds like.

Clancy isn’t alone in this, or even the worst Author out there, (I’m looking at you, Thomas Harris and Dan Brown) but he fell too much in love with his characters, and as a result, they became more and more unrealistic (President Jack Ryan, anyone?)

If you stick to >>>

  • Hunt For Red October,
  • Patriot Games,
  • Cardinal of the Kremlin,
  • and MAYBE Clear and Present Danger, the #2 part doesn’t get so bad.
  • (Although Clear and Present Danger is where you start to character plots get a little silly.)

But the dialogue is kind of hard to take even in Hunt for Red October when we try to read it now.

Even after this, his books are a real joy to read especially Jack Ryan series books.

That's why we've also included some of the best jack ryan book on the list including with best jack ryan book to start with.

1. The Hunt for Red October

This is perhaps Tom Clancy’s most known book.

In my opinion, this is Clancy’s best book, even beyond the Jack Ryan stories.

The depth of character coupled with the suspense of an underwater attack submarine chase makes this book so memorable that I read it a second time just to enjoy it again.

The plotting is fantastic, but I have to say that it’s the way Clancy crawls into the mind of a troubled Soviet sub captain that makes this story so rich for me. We get such a complete picture of the history and psyche of Capt.

Ramius that we not only understand the complexity of what he’s doing but feel genuine and complete empathy for him in his plight. All of this is done through action.

Not a moment of suspense is paused while we get Ramius’ plight and his desire.

The intensity of the onboard and offboard politics is fantastic and very believable.

Absolute the best tom clancy book to start with, highly recommended.

Best tom clancy book to start with

  • Goodreads: 4.1/5
  • Common Sense Media: 4/5
  • Audiobooks.com: 4.6/5
  • Audible: 4.8/5
  • IMDb: 7.6/10
Our Ratings

2. Without Remorse

Without Remorse seems like an inspiration for many thrillers nowadays and it’s not hard to see why. It is a classic thriller that will stand the test of time no matter what.

It doesn’t hold back punches and it’s grounded in real characters and realistic circumstances.

Another brilliant aspect of the book was how multiple storylines were woven together so brilliantly, incorporating both Vietnam and US locales without overwhelming the readers.

It starts a bit slow, but that is worth building the foundation of the book.

This book is more of a good one for two reasons.

Two – Vietnam, so it’s low-tech and gritty Ramboism.

Three – Tom Clancy normally wrote Puritan Republican-voting cardboard emotions for his characters with the full knowledge that they would be portrayed in the cinema, so it must look good.

But here, he went the distance with John and actually gave him something of a semblance of a real personality, and it’s one of his more engaging works.

All combined, it’s a very decent, classic thriller, and you will like it for a bunch of reasons.

Best tom clancy book for teen

  • Goodreads: 4.2/5
  • Common Sense Media: 5/5
  • Audiobooks.com: 4.2/5
  • Audible: 4.6/5
Our Ratings

3. Rainbow Six

Rainbow Six has one of the most amazing plots I’ve ever seen in a book. Tom Clancy bends the seemly irrelevant beginning all the way around to the ultimate climax of the story.

My mind was truly blown when I got to the end of this absolutely stunning book. Now, Rainbow Six isn’t a page-turner all the way through, but there are some very suspenseful chapters.

If you keep with it for about a hundred pages, you won’t be able to put it down.

Clancy is an amazing writer, and with all his military access, he was able to make the book really authentic. All the equipment and training the soldiers to do is right on the mark.

It was very enjoyable and hard to put down. Clancy really nailed it this time around.

I would recommend this book to all mature young adults, but it is not for people who can’t handle graphic violence.

Tom clancy book with heart pounding thriller

  • Goodreads: 4.1/5
  • Audiobooks.com: 4.1/5
  • Audible: 4.6/5
  • Abebooks: 4.1/5
Our Ratings

4. Red Storm Rising

Red Storm Rising is basically a fictitious story about a conventional war between NATO and the Soviet Union. Written by Tom Clancy, it is one of our favorites by tom clancy.

It is an incredibly realistic portrayal of what a real shooting war would be like.

The book begins with Arab extremists sabotaging and ultimately destroying a key soviet oil refinery. Crippling an already shaky economy.

In desperation, the soviet leaders, or Politburo, launch an offensive attack against NATO and the US to gain the natural resources that they so desperately need.

This book takes place in the middle of the Cold War and is very well written and researched. It gives the feel of reading an account of a real event and not a novel.

The book is perfect for anyone who enjoys a good thriller and (like me) hates inaccurate information, because you will not find any in this book.

Our favorite tom clancy book

  • Goodreads: 4.2/5
  • Audiobooks.com: 4.8/5
  • Audible: 4.7/5
  • Abebooks: 4.2/5
Our Ratings

5. Clear and Present Danger

With this one, I felt like he was at peak performance, generating a focused, plausible storyline that could stand on its own, rather than just being an installment in an increasingly outlandish saga.

Clear and Present Danger is a grand techno-thriller, and a fine outing for Jack Ryan, Clancy’s all-American CIA analyst turned reluctant field operative.

The story is lengthy but moves at a brisk pace.

There is a great mix of supporting characters, settings, and plot developments.

This story follows the CIA covert ops into South America to combat the drug trafficking problem.

Recruiting Spanish-speaking soldiers, training, the whole Special Operations bag, and then deploying into the highlands of Colombia. Absolutely action-packed and suspenseful.

Another popular tom clancy book

  • Goodreads: 4.1/5
  • Common Sense Media: 4/5
  • Audiobooks.com: 4.4/5
  • Audible: 4.7/5
  • Abebooks: 4.1/5
Our Ratings

6. Executive Orders

This book is the pinnacle of the Jack Ryan series of novels.

We finally see Jack Ryan, reluctantly and tragically, become President of the United States. He hates it and sees it as a curse.

The problem is that he is good at it.

The very fact that he doesn’t want to be there makes him all the more appealing to the voters in the book and to the reader.

Of course, his reluctance is seen as a weakness by other world leaders, and some try to take advantage of the situation. Their mistake. This book takes the Jack Ryan series to its ultimate height.

This particular addition to the series struck just the right balance of politics, intrigue, military adventure, and even science to keep you turning page after page of this massive volume.

If you have ever read any of the Jack Ryan novels, then you must read this one.

If you have never read one, get one of the earlier ones just like on the Clear and Present Danger.

Book 7 Of Jack Ryan Series

  • Goodreads: 4.1/5
  • Audiobooks.com: 4.2/5
  • Audible: 4.7/5
  • Abebooks: 4.1/5
Our Ratings

7. Patriot Games

Unlike the movie, this is actually a prequel to The Hunt for Red October.

This is perhaps why some suggest new readers should read them in the order the events took place rather than in the order they were written.

If there’s anything better than classic Clancy I have yet to find it. Damn this is really good, a perfect balance of action, intrigue, and investigation.

Unlike other Clancy novels, this first of the series is not built around top-secret military weaponry.

Instead, it is an introduction to the series’ primary character, Jack Ryan, a naval historian who, after a little arm twisting, becomes a CIA analyst. It also explores the mindset of Irish terrorist factions.

Clancy novels are thrill rides that launch from their very first page and don’t stop until the last.

No warm-up. Just buckle up and hang on. Patriot Games is no exception.

Another best jack ryan book to start with

  • Goodreads: 4.1/5
  • Common Sense Media: 4.2/5
  • Audiobooks.com: 4.5/5
  • Audible: 4/5
Our Ratings

8. Debt of Honor

It’s probably the most colorful of all Tom’s works, including a Pearl Harbor like event, B-2 bombers, nukes, why not draw your pistol from an armpit holster, lasers, Chavez and Clark are back, we get a new fast-track promoted president (hint hint), and a whole bunch more.

Clancy also drew a lot of flak for “inspiring” the terror attacks of 2001, because something rather similar to the 9/11 events happens in this book.

Whatever the case – prophetic brilliance, coincidence or pure physical limitation on what you can do with a plane, Debt of Honor is a solid work, ever so slightly cliche with an over-dramatized ending (cue in confused Harrison Ford with his crooked half-grin), with lots of goodies for the aspiring weapons encyclopedia lover.

Putting the focus back on Jack, this can be a bit tedious with the whole trade war and economic sabotage stuff, but stick with it, it’s one of his last really good ones, with one hell of a climax.

I highly recommend this book and any of the later series dealing with Jack Jr. and the Campus as well as additional stories related to the additional term as President that John Ryan, as he is now called, leads to a lot more adventures.

Read as a tom clancy standalone novel

  • Goodreads: 4.1/5
  • Audiobooks.com: 4.4/5
  • Audible: 4.5/5
  • Abebooks: 4/5
Our Ratings

9. Cardinal of the Kremlin

So, we are on list 9, and this is our personal favorite.

Which is The Cardinal of the Kremlin from A Jack Ryan Novel.

It has a little bit of everything that all of Clancy’s fans have grown to know and love, right down to taking three pages to describe the trajectory of a missile.

It’s not his best-known work, but it is his best work.

  • It is Clancy’s most refined book when it comes to suspense.
  • It is a Cold War book, a period that fits his writing best.
  • It is still a spy/intelligence novel. Again, something he seemed to do better than his later, more ‘political’ books.

This book is focused more on espionage, and even today, long after when The Cardinal of the Kremlin first hit the book store shelves, it remains one of the best spy thrillers ever written.

Highly recommended.

Best tom clancy book ever

  • Goodreads: 4/5
  • Audiobooks.com: 4.4/5
  • Audible: 4.4/5
  • Abebooks: 4/5
Our Ratings

10. The Sum of All Fears

It has been rumored that permission to publish this book had to go all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court and ever since then there is a standing court order that the CIA, FBI, and NSA receive advance copies of every Tom Clancy book a month before it goes to the publisher.

Why? Well, this book tells you to step by step, in layman’s language, in exacting detail how you build a hydrogen bomb.

About the only thing that is left out is the exact amount of plutonium you would need.

This did not sit well with the powers that be and considered it to be an extreme threat to national security.

Clancy’s lawyers pointed out that all of this information is available to the general public in any college library if someone is willing to take the time to look it up.

The court agreed and allowed the book to be published without any of the information being removed.

The Sum of All Fears isn’t Tom Clancy’s best-written book in the series, but as the title suggests, it is certainly the most frightening – especially when it was written during the collapse of the Soviet Union and the thaw of the Cold War.

It is very long, but worth a read. While it takes an ungodly amount of time to build things up, we do get a really awesome climax, patience does get rewarded.

Longest tom clancy book

  • Goodreads: 4/5
  • Audiobooks.com: 4.6/5
  • Audible: 4.7/5
  • Abebooks: 4/5
Our Ratings

Final Verdict

So that was our top 10 best tom clancy book list.

In last I just wanted to add little attention to where he got the information to write a book like these?

First, for the most, Tom Clancy paid a lot of attention to detail.

For example, in the book The Hunt for Red October, Clancy learns about the real-life mutiny on board a Soviet frigate.

Also, his day job was at an insurance office with military clients. He must’ve learned a lot about military life and the stories of soldiers from his time there.

Apart from that, he didn’t have access to any classified information; he just used what was publicly available.

Additionally, he made sure military officials relevant to the field of the book read the manuscript before it was published so as to correct any technical errors.

Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan Books In Order of Publication

  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)

Tom Clancy’s Standalone Novels In Order

  1. Red Storm Rising (1986)
  2. SSN: Strategies for Submarine Warfare (1996)
  3. Against All Enemies (2011)

Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan Books In Chronological Order for Reading

  1. Without Remorse (1993)
  2. Patriot Games (1987)
  3. Red Rabbit (2002)
  4. The Hunt for Red October (1984)
  5. The Cardinal of the Kremlin (1988)
  6. Clear and Present Danger (1989)
  7. The Sum of All Fears (1991)
  8. Debt of Honor (1994)
  9. Executive Orders (1996)
  10. Rainbow Six (1998)
  11. The Bear and the Dragon (2000)
  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)
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