10 Best Jack Ryan Books, Ranked

The only way to do all the things you'd like to do is to read.

by Matthew Kevin Mitchell

Are you wondering what the best Jack Ryan books are? There are currently 33 Jack Ryan books published by Tom Clancy and additional authors like Mark Greaney. Jack Ryan is everyone’s favorite all-American hero who goes from CIA analyst to the President of the United States, all while saving the United States from various threats. It may be hard to pick your favorite from this insanely large book series, so we have done it for you. This list will include books from both Tom Clancy and Mark Greaney. Here are all the Jack Ryan books, ranked.

10 Best Jack Ryan Books, Ranked

There are currently 33 Jack Ryan books, with the most recently published in 2022. It may be hard to read the entire series. So instead, here are the 10 best Jack Ryan books, ranked so that you can experience the amazing hero that is Jack Ryan.

10. Full Force and Effect

Full Force and Effect is another entry from Greany, who took up the pen after Tom Clancy’s death, and it does not disappoint. The North Koreans are creating problems for Jack Ryan as President. While Jack deals with it from a high level, his son Jr goes deep into it as a covert op. Again, the story is well written, and the stakes have never been higher in any Jack Ryan books.

9. Commander-in-Chief

This title was also written by Greany using the same Tom Clancy formula that we have grown to love. We are treated to every element you could want: action, romance, technology, and military. We also see the Jack Ryan universe in a modern setting, with a Bitcoin-like company playing a big part in the book’s story.

8. The Bear and the Dragon

Jack Ryan is navigating being President and intertwines three to five different storylines leading to some fantastic twists. Somebody once said that The Bear and the Dragon has more twists than an F5 Tornado which makes for one of the most exciting finishes to any book in the series.

7. The Sum of All Fears

The Sum of All Fears takes place in the mid-1990s. Everyone thinks the world is better, but unemployed terrorists have other plans. Tom Clancy writes in great detail, and this title shows why his books are always better than any movie.

6. Patriot Games

Jack Ryan is visiting London with his wife and daughter on vacation when a terrorist attack brings Jack into action. We get a lot of insight into how Jack became involved with the CIA and learn a lot about his backstory, which makes this an integral entry on this list.

5. Debt of Honor

In Debt of Honor, a group of Japanese business attempt to take over the U.S. government by crashing the stock market. Jack is the National Security Advisor now. John Clark is featured here in this book as well.

4. Executive Orders

Executive Order involves an ebola outbreak which may be a bit too much for readers of how similar it is to our COVID outbreak. We are also given insight into how the presidency works as Jack Ryan is now President of the United States. There are some very descriptive high-tech battle scenes for those who love Tom Clancy’s use of technology.

3. Clear and Present Danger

Clear and Present Danger was published in 1989 but tackled another brutal war besides the Cold War. This time we see Jack Ryan engaged in the War on Drugs. This is also the first instance where Jack Ryan meets John Clark. This title stands on its own, and you can enjoy it without reading the other Jack Ryan books in the series.

2. The Cardinal of the Kremlin

The Cardinal of the Kremlin was great because it included insights into the conflicts and ideas during the Cold War. It also has multiple plots filled with an amazingly diverse cast of characters with a fun conclusion that ties up all plots in the climax.

1. The Hunt for Red October

The Hunt for Red October was Tom Clancy’s first published novel in 1984 and introduced us to Jack Ryan. This title earned Tom Clancy the #1 New York Times bestseller acclaim and was nominated as one of America’s best-loved novels by PBS’s The Great American Read.

Bonus: In What Order Should I Read the Jack Ryan Books?


Here are all 33 Jack Ryan books in the series’ chronological order:

  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)    
  29. Firing Point (2020)          
  30. Shadow of the Dragon (2020)     
  31. Target Acquired (2021)  
  32. Chain of Command (2021)           
  33. Zero Hour (2022)        

- This article was updated on December 1st, 2022

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