Jack Ryan (character)
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Alec Baldwin portraying Jack Ryan
|First appearance||The Hunt for Red October (1984)|
|Created by||Tom Clancy|
|Spouse(s)||Caroline "Cathy" Muller/Ryan|
Jack Ryan was born in Baltimore in 1950 and grew up there. He earned an NROTC commission in the Marines at Boston College. Medically discharged at the rank of 2ndLt following a helicopter crash, he worked as an investment broker. He met and married Caroline "Cathy" Mueller, a medical student and later an ophthalmic surgeon, with whom he had four children. He returned to academia, eventually accepting a position at the U.S. Naval Academy.
He was later recommended to the CIA, eventually spending a short period there writing a position paper, as well as developing a counter-espionage mechanism. He returned to the academy and, while on a history research trip to London, interrupted a kidnapping attempt on the royal family. After his return to the States, he eventually accepted a position with the CIA. He rose rapidly through the ranks in a variety of covert operations against the USSR, eventually becoming a Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. As DDI, he had political battles that led to him becoming President of the United States, serving two terms and dealing with international crises in Europe, the Middle East and the Pacific.
- 1 Biography
- 2 Novels
- 3 In other media
- 4 See also
- 5 References
- 6 Further reading
Ryan had his background established in Patriot Games and Red Rabbit. He was born in 1950, the son of Emmet William Ryan (1922–1974), a Baltimore Police Department homicide lieutenant, and World War II veteran. The elder Ryan had served with the U.S. Army's 101st Airborne Division at the Battle of the Bulge. His mother, Catherine Burke Ryan (1923–1974), was a nurse. Without Remorse mentioned that he had a sister, who lived in Seattle.
After graduating from Loyola Blakefield prep school in Towson, Maryland, Ryan attended Boston College, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics (with a strong minor in history) and a commission as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps (via Officer Candidate School). While waiting for the Corps to assign him, he passed the Certified Public Accountant exam.
After officer training at Marine Corps Base Quantico, he went on to serve as a platoon commander. However, his military career was cut short at the age of 23 when his platoon's helicopter, a CH-46 Sea Knight, crashed during a North Atlantic Treaty Organization exercise over the Greek island of Crete. The crash badly injured Ryan's back. U.S. Navy surgeons, at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, inadequately repaired his back. This led to a lengthy recovery process (during which he nearly became addicted to pain medications) after which, complete with a permanent disability and wearing a back brace, he left the Marines. He passed his stockbroker's exam and took a position with Wall Street investment firm Merrill Lynch's Baltimore office.
His parents died in a plane crash at Chicago Midway International Airport, 19 months after his crash in Crete. He developed a fear of flying that persisted for years.
Ryan's story starts in Patriot Games and continues in Red Rabbit. While managing clients' portfolios, he began to invest his own money, banking on a tip he had received from an uncle about the workers' takeover of the Chicago and North Western Railway, making about $6 million off his $100,000 initial investment. He did so well that one of Merrill Lynch's senior vice presidents, Joe Muller, came to Baltimore to have dinner with him, with the objective of inviting him to the firm's New York City headquarters. Also present is Muller's daughter Caroline, nicknamed Cathy, then a senior medical student at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. They immediately fall in love and get engaged. One night, while having dinner with his fiancée, Ryan throws out his back. Cathy takes him directly to Doctor Stanley Rabinowitz, professor of neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins, to be evaluated. Rabinowitz later operates on Ryan's back and cures his chronic pain in relatively short order (in a later novel, the surgeon is credited as Sam Rosen, a doctor introduced in Without Remorse). Ryan subsequently persuades the government to terminate his disability checks. Cathy later becomes an ophthalmic surgeon at the Wilmer Eye Institute of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and a Professor of Surgery at Johns Hopkins.
After creating a net worth of $8 million, Ryan left the firm after four years and enrolled at Georgetown University for six doctoral courses in history. He does a brief stint at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, then accepts a position at the U.S. Naval Academy as a civilian professor of history.
First CIA work
Following a recommendation from Father Tim O'Riley, a Jesuit priest and Georgetown University professor, to a Central Intelligence Agency contact, Ryan was asked to work as a consultant for the agency, although officially employed by MITRE Corporation. He agreed and spent several months at Langley, Virginia, where he wrote a paper entitled "Agents and Agencies", in which he maintained that state-sponsored terrorism is an act of war. He also invented the canary trap, a method for exposing an information leak, which involves giving different versions of a sensitive document to each of a group of suspects and seeing which version is leaked. By ensuring that each copy of the document differs slightly in its wording, if any copy is leaked, then it is possible to determine the informant's identity.
These accomplishments come to the attention of U.S. Navy Vice Admiral James Greer, the CIA's Deputy Director for Intelligence. The expertise of Ryan's report, plus the application, persuaded Greer to offer him a permanent job in the CIA, but Ryan declined.
While Ryan was still teaching at the Naval Academy, his family (wife and daughter Sally) and he take a trip to London for research and vacationing. After spending the day sifting through Royal Navy archives doing research for a book on the British naval war in the Indian Ocean during World War II, Ryan walks to meet his family at a park. As he joins them, members of the Ulster Liberation Army (ULA), an ultraviolent Maoist offshoot of the Marxist Provisional Irish Republican Army, led by Kevin O'Donnell, attack a car containing the Prince of Wales and his family in front of the Ryans. Ryan is wounded while intervening in the attack and foils their plan, killing one of the gunmen and capturing another. Ryan is knighted by Queen Elizabeth II as an honorary Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order; in the books, some British characters call him "Sir John", but honorary knights are not permitted to use the style of "Sir".
Sean Miller, the man he captured, vows revenge on Ryan and his family (only in the movie, not the book), but since he is going to Albany Prison on the Isle of Wight, the threat seems unrealistic. Ryan returns to the U.S. and the Naval Academy. When O'Donnell and the ULA liberate Miller on his way to prison (killing both police officers and civilians in the process), the Ryans become the target of their revenge — particularly Miller's.
In Patriot Games, Greer comes to Ryan and asks him to rejoin the CIA permanently as an analyst to help track down the terrorists. He declines initially, only to accept it after a failed ULA attack on the Ryans mildly wounds his pregnant wife, but severely injures his daughter. Later, while Ryan hosts the Prince and Princess of Wales at his home in Maryland, the IRA conducts another attack against him, which Ryan, the Prince, and Navy Commander Robert Jackson foil. Following the incident and arrests of the ULA members and Miller (whom Ryan nearly executes with his Browning Hi Power), Ryan is taken to the Naval Academy hospital, where he arrives just in time for the birth of Jack Ryan, Jr.
In Red Rabbit, Ryan's first CIA assignment is to London as a member of a liaison group to the British Secret Intelligence Service. The first order of business focuses on a mission to assist the defection of a KGB communications-center officer who has discovered that KGB director Yuri Andropov had ordered Pope John Paul II's attempted assassination. Although Ryan and a small team of British agents helps the "Rabbit" and his family get to the West, they fail to prevent the attack on the Pope. Nevertheless, the Pope is only wounded and his would-be assassin captured, while the British agents execute his Bulgarian handler. "Rabbit's" defection proves to be a major coup for both the American and British intelligence communities. Ryan soon afterward suggests a nonmilitary strategy to help hasten the Soviet Union's collapse.
In The Hunt for Red October, Captain First Rank Marko Ramius, the Soviet Navy's top submarine commander, takes command of the Красный Октябрь (Krasny Oktyabr, or in English, Red October), the newest Typhoon-class submarine, with which he plans to defect. Ryan recognizes this and works to welcome him to the U.S., eventually succeeding.
In The Cardinal of the Kremlin, Ryan is reassigned to Langley. He becomes Greer's assistant with the official title of Special Assistant to the Deputy Director for Intelligence. Greer is grooming him for bigger and better positions, maybe even his own job when the veteran spy finally retires. Ryan is sent to Moscow as part of the American strategic nuclear weapons reduction negotiation team. There, he meets Sergey Golovko, a rising star in the KGB hierarchy, and becomes entangled in a complex web related to both the race to develop "Star Wars" space-based defensive technology and engineer another defection, this time compromising the KGB director to save the CIA's highest informant in the USSR, Agent CARDINAL, better known as Colonel Misha Filitov. Although they initially meet as adversaries—at one time literally at gunpoint—Golovko respects him as a worthy adversary and in later books befriends him, calling him "Ivan Emmetovich", giving him a Russian-style patronymic based on his father's name, Emmet.
In Clear and Present Danger, Ryan is promoted to acting DDI when Greer is hospitalized with cancer. Despite this, he is not made aware of a highly covert and illegal CIA operation approved by corrupt National Security Advisor Admiral Cutter. This operation targets Colombian drug lords using military assets, in what is usually considered a law enforcement area. Ryan works with the Federal Bureau of Investigation to rescue a small group of American soldiers cut off in Colombia, forcing him to miss Greer's funeral. Also in this operation, he first met the US government operative John Clark, with whom he would become friends. Around this time, Ryan also runs afoul of Elizabeth Elliott, international affairs advisor to then-presidential candidate Governor of Ohio J. Robert Fowler, and one of Cathy Ryan's former professors.
In The Sum of All Fears, Ryan reaches his highest post at the CIA, Deputy Director of Central Intelligence. His career is jeopardized when Fowler becomes President and Elizabeth Elliott, Fowler's lover/manipulator, becomes National Security Advisor. They not only deny Ryan any credit for an innovative Middle East peace plan (basically turning Jerusalem into a Vatican-like city co-ruled by three Christian, Jewish, and Arab mayors), but also panic when Iranian and former East German terrorists detonate a nuclear bomb in Denver during the Super Bowl and nearly plunge the world into a Soviet-American nuclear war. Ryan defuses the nuclear crisis by commandeering the Washington-Moscow hot line and convincing the Soviet Premier (through his friend Golovko) that the crisis is a setup. He then refuses to confirm Fowler's order to launch a nuclear missile at Qom (thus preventing the attack), where the Iranian ayatollah lives. The crisis and Elliot scandal drive Fowler to resign (with Elliot arrested), and on this note, Ryan retires from the CIA after his CIA friends and he fly to Riyadh and witness the execution of the terrorists, then being honored by the U.S.'s Middle Eastern allies. (The film version again departs from the printed version, by presenting a younger, unmarried Ryan, an intelligent mistress-free Fowler, a Greer-like Cabot, and the nuclear bomb is detonated in Baltimore, not Denver.)
First Ryan administration
In Debt of Honor, Ryan returns to government service as the National Security Advisor, restoring honor to the job that Cutter and Elliot disgraced. It has been two and a half years since Fowler resigned and his vice president, Roger Durling, is now well into his own term. Jack and the administration must deal with a second war between the U.S. and Japan, as well as an attack on America's economic infrastructure. After a clean sweep of Japan's forces in the South Pacific, Vice President Ed Kealty is forced to resign after a sex scandal and President Durling taps Ryan for the job. Ryan accepts the job on the condition that he will only serve until the end of Durling's term. He sees this as a way of ending his public life. Only minutes after Congress confirms Ryan, though, a Japanese airline pilot deliberately crashes a 747 into the U.S. Capitol building during Congress' joint session, killing most of the people inside, decapitating the U.S. government, and elevating Ryan to the Presidency.
The reluctant yet determined Ryan administration emerges in Executive Orders as Ryan slowly rebuilds the government. He is faced with Kealty's political trickery, China's growing military antagonizing of Taiwan, and a deadly plague initiated by the newly formed United Islamic Republic, resulting in two major military conflicts far from American shores (but one will not take place until the next Ryan novel).
In The Bear and the Dragon, Ryan has completed Durling's term as President and has campaigned for—and won—the next election. He retains most of his emergency Cabinet and has Robby Jackson as Vice President.
Ryan has to deal with the attempted assassination of Golovko, head of Russia's Foreign Intelligence Service (formerly the KGB). This turns out to be an attempt to sow confusion in the Russian government because of China's designs to annex Eastern Siberia, where geologists had recently discovered a large amount of oil and gold. These events lead to the inclusion of Russia into NATO and the assistance of U.S. forces in the Sino-Russian conflict. When the Chinese begin losing the war, U.S. forces target their strategic assets. A U.S. submarine sinks a Chinese ballistic missile submarine, causing China's politburo to panic and increase the readiness of their 12 land-based ICBMs. U.S. forces do not have the ability to destroy the silos, as they could only use deep-penetrating bombs, which had all been used to destroy Chinese bridges to disrupt the People's Liberation Army's (PLA) logistical support. This causes the U.S. and Russia to send a joint RAINBOW-Spetsnaz team to destroy the silos. They destroy 11 of the 12 ICBMs, but one of them manages to launch. The warhead heads towards Washington, DC, and with Ryan taking a command initiative at an Aegis missile cruiser, the ICBM is intercepted by ABMs from the USS Gettysburg. With the PLA's looming defeat in Siberia, which they were about to learn about via live UAV broadcasts from the CIA through the Internet, student demonstrators in Beijing raid the politburo, causing a reformist politburo member, Fang Gan, to take control and arrest the war's perpetrators, making peace negotiations with the U.S. and Russia, and beginning China's transition to democracy.
At the end of Executive Orders, Ryan, in the tradition of Presidents Monroe, Truman, Carter and Reagan, issues a foreign policy doctrine which largely defines his administration's international perspective. The Ryan doctrine states that the U.S. will no longer tolerate attacks on "our territory, our possessions, or our citizens," and will hold whoever orders such attacks accountable.
This statement comes soon after the Ebola attack on the U.S. ordered by Mahmoud Haji Daryaei, the dictator of the new United Islamic Republic. Ryan announces the new doctrine on television, momentarily cutting away to show Daryaei and his UIR advisors being incinerated by laser-guided bombs launched from two F-117s, on Ryan's orders. Therefore, the Ryan doctrine supersedes the executive order put in place by President Ford, which forbids the assassination of foreign heads of state. Ryan, however, believes it is a more ethical alternative than total war, since it punishes the person responsible for the attack instead of the people he rules.
Within the books, the Ryan doctrine is not officially invoked after Daryaei's death (although Ryan threatens to use it on the Chinese leadership in The Bear and the Dragon, should anything happen to American citizens living in China as a consequence of the Siberian War).
Following this, Ryan apparently completes his term and refuses to run for a second elected term. Robby Jackson thus campaigns to become the first African American President, but is assassinated on a trip to the South, which enables Kealty to become the next President. (It is also possible from what Jack Ryan, Jr. says in Teeth of the Tiger that Jack Sr. resigned, feeling he has done what he needed to as President, and encouraged Robby Jackson to run for the Presidency.) Before Ryan leaves office, he creates "The Campus", a covert counter-terrorism organization that fronts as Hendley Associates, a financial trading firm. He also writes 100 presidential pardons for its members, with Attorney General Pat Martin's assistance.
Second Ryan administration
In his retirement, Ryan is living easy with a net worth over $80 million. He is working on two versions of his memoirs, one for immediate release, and another detailing his CIA career, to be published posthumously.
However, in Dead or Alive, he becomes increasingly frustrated with the direction in which President Kealty is taking the country, although he is initially publicly silent. Ultimately, he announces that he will come out of retirement to run for a second full term as President as a Republican candidate. Despite having originally not being involved in the Campus's activities due to his high-profile status, he gradually becomes more directly linked to the Campus's operations, aiding them from behind the scenes on occasion. Here, Ryan learns his elder son, Jack Jr., is a field operative of the Campus.
Ryan campaigns against Kealty in Locked On, facing off against him in various televised debates. It quickly becomes apparent that Ryan will win the election, as the majority of Americans had never entirely accepted Kealty. Despite the efforts of Paul Laska, a high-profile Czech-American billionaire and a devout enemy of Ryan, and key members of the Kealty administration who labelled Ryan's longtime friend John Clark a fugitive in an effort to expose the Campus (as well as tying Ryan to it by association), Ryan narrowly wins the election, overcoming all of Kealty's efforts to harm him. The President-elect now prepares to undo the damage the Kealty administration has done.
Ryan initially finds his return to the presidency easy and without struggle following his re-election, but things quickly start to take a turn for the worse. Angered by a contraction in economic growth, the majority of the People's Republic of China Politburo Standing Committee members turn against their procapitalist President Wei Zhen Lin. Wei attempts to commit suicide when a coup is undertaken by other committee members. Only when Chairman Su Ke Qiang orders PLA tanks to defend Wei did he agree to promote and support Su's expansionist policies, in exchange for Su's ongoing protection. The expansionist policies - which include the annexation of Taiwan and the expansion of China's territory into the South China Sea - are finally revealed to the world after several months. The Ryan administration is vehemently against the new policies, and President Ryan himself decides to take action by supporting Taiwan, along with India, Vietnam, Indonesia, and the Philippines, which would also be affected by an expansion of China's territory.
A devastating series of cyber attacks on American infrastructure occurs, enacted by the "Ghost Ship" - a Chinese state-sponsored version of the Campus, using assets of the Chinese Ministry of State Security and Divine Sword Special Forces. The attacks serve to compromise the nation's national security apparatus and weaken the United States' resolve. The Campus helps track the attacks to China, and local investigation pinpoints the exact building where the Ghost Ship is currently quartered. President Ryan orders the destruction of the building, decapitating China's cyberwarfare abilities.
Ryan makes contact with Wei and warns him that the cyber attacks are considered an act of war on China's part. Wei repeatedly denies the claim, and reiterates he is supporting Su, though Ryan guesses correctly Su is controlling Wei since saving him from the attempted coup. Ryan appeals to Wei as a businessman to understand what he is doing will destroy China. After a lengthy, unusual pause, Wei responds that he must discuss Ryan's claims with Su, providing exact details of when and where Su will be travelling to address the politburo in regards to the war effort. Ryan takes the information as a request from Wei to have the United States assassinate Su. A team from the Campus, with support from the Russian FSB, and working with a local rebel force in China, stages an attack on Su while he is traveling in a motorcade. Su is assassinated by a U.S. sniper, but the event is made to look like Su's own men turned on him. Ryan announces a blockade of China's oil supplies until the war effort is abandoned, calling upon Wei and the politburo to accept defeat.
President Wei accepts that the expansionist movement has failed and the United States has won its second war with China, and decides to take his own life after realizing the politburo will move against him without Su's protection. Wei botches the suicide by accidentally shooting himself in the cheek, but ends up choking to death on his own blood. Wei and Su's deaths mark the end of the war in the South China Sea, and Ryan emerges the clear victor in the conflict.
Ryan is featured prominently in Command Authority; Ryan and his administration contend with the Russian Federation, currently led by their new President, Valeri Volodin. Volodin is established as a dedicated communist opposed to the West, seeking to restore Russia as a strengthened Soviet Union. Volodin moves to establish ties with Iran and China, reunify the nation's state security services under the FSB, and most notably annex the Ukraine. Those opposed to his actions are replaced or assassinated by Russian government forces or elements of the "Seven Strong Men", a Mafia group that is now easily the most powerful and dangerous criminal underworld faction in Russia. Later, when the FSB and SVR merged under the FSB's banner, Volodin makes the announcement that FSB director Roman Romanovich Talanov, Volodin's enigmatic enforcer, is the nation's new intelligence chief.
Sergey Golovko, having retired from the SVR and effectively exiled from Russia for acting as a high-profile Kremlin dissident against Volodin and his policies, succumbs to poisoning from a radioactive agent while at a private lunch at the White House. Ryan's old friend dies the next day, but on his deathbed, Golovko relays his concerns of Talanov's unknown background and mysterious connection to Volodin to Ryan. Ryan resolves to decipher Talanov's history and work out his links to Volodin, hopeful the answers behind his swift rise to power can be used as leverage against Volodin. As armed conflict becomes increasingly likely, Ryan focuses on the growing armed standoff in the Ukraine and absorption of the Crimea, with the rest of the Ukraine facing imminent Russian invasion. An investigation following Golovko's death implicates the SSM working with the FSB. It also possibly identifies Talanov as a mysterious ex-GRU assassin who operated for the KGB during the Cold War, code-named "Zenith". Ryan is personally alarmed by these discoveries - he became involved in the Zenith affair in his time with the CIA as a MI6 liaison officer, during an investigation into a string of deaths in Berlin. Ryan ultimately sensed an unknown Russian operator was at work behind the events in Berlin, but he was encouraged by MI6 Director General Sir Basil Charleston to let it go. The mystery of Zenith was left unsolved for 30 years, and remained the sole remaining mystery of Ryan's intelligence career.
Operational assets of the Campus, with Jack Ryan, Jr. leading the effort (much to his father's displeasure and trepidation for his safety), ultimately confirm Talanov was Zenith, and Volodin, a senior KGB officer at the time, still acts as his control officer. As young men, they were employed by members of the KGB and GRU leadership who knew the Soviet Union would eventually fall, but made a plan to survive and prosper in the chaotic aftermath, so they could seize control of the nation and turn it back to communism stronger than ever. After siphoning billions from Soviet programs to achieve it, Volodin double-crossed his co-conspirators and had Talanov kill them all so it would be theirs alone. Others were killed to maintain the safety of their black funds, including the bankers killed by Talanov during the Zenith affair so as to prevent exposure to the rest of the KGB. Talanov is also the secret leader of the Seven Strong Men, having been sent undercover with the SSM - placed in a gulag, Talanov worked his way up to become a charter member and leader of the Seven Strong Men, and through them become FSB director for the SSM's benefit and control of the government, when in actuality the SSM was a tool for Volodin's policies.
These discoveries are made with the help of former MI5 officer Victor Oxley, "Bedrock" - an off-book MI5 asset who operated as an assassin during the Cold War in similar fashion to Talanov, aka Zenith. Oxley's final mission before his disappearance was to hunt down and kill Zenith, but instead found Ryan, Sr. about to be killed by a German Stasi team working with Zenith. Oxley interfered and saved Ryan's life, but was captured, driven away to Russia, brutally tortured by the KGB, and then imprisoned in the same gulag where Talanov ultimately was placed, accidentally hearing of Talanov being Zenith from other inmates. Oxley and the Campus team confront his traitorous control officer Hugh Castor, who confirms the entire story and protected Volodin and Talanov's secret in exchange for a cut of their black funds, but Castor gives up what he knows for protection by the American government, knowing Talanov will have realized Castor deceived him over the leverage he had. However, Talanov realizes this faster than Castor anticipated - he sends a Spetsnaz team to kill Castor and Oxley, the latter sacrificing himself for Jack Ryan, Jr.
As the Russian invasion force pushes into the Ukraine, the Campus team and Delta Force operators arrest Dmitri Nesterov, (Gleb the Scar), an SSM capo who is Talanov's second-in-command and who was behind Golovko's poisoning. With Nesterov and the Campus's acquired information in hand, Ryan makes contact with Volodin and confronts him with implications he could be politically destroyed by what he has learned about Zenith and Talanov's ties to the SSM: claiming (falsely) to have suitable evidence gathered that will ruin his government and the invasion, and he must distance himself from Talanov as the Campus has exposed him as a government spy who has been using them all along. Volodin pulls back his troops; in exchange, the United States keeps what evidence it has secret. Volodin also forces Talanov to resign from the FSB after his criminal dealings are made public and the SSM turns on him. Despite the promise of protection, Volodin allows Talanov to be killed - he is stabbed by a civilian member of his guard force on Nesterov's orders (having been encouraged by John Clark to have Talanov killed so he could succeed him). The stalemate of Russia and the United States is left ongoing.
Ryan, at this time, is in his mid-sixties and world-famous; and is looking forward to retirement back to the shores of Chesapeake Bay once and for all.
Ryan is mentioned by title only in Support and Defend; when a National Security Council staff member, Ethan Ross, is exposed by the FBI as a traitor responsible for leaking classified government information so as to weaken the administration's connections with friendly governments. He proceeds to flee as a fugitive to Venezuela, with an intelligence cache with enough information to ruin the CIA. Ryan is said to have made Ross's capture or death the government's top priority, establishing him as America's most wanted. Ryan's nephew, FBI special agent and Campus operative Dominic Caruso, ultimately succeeds in killing Ross and securing the cache for the CIA, despite attempts by the Russian FSB and Iranian Quds Force to acquire it.
Jack Ryan series
- The Hunt for Red October (1984)
- Patriot Games (1987)
- The Cardinal of the Kremlin (1988)
- Clear and Present Danger (1989)
- The Sum of All Fears (1991)
- Debt of Honor (1994)
- Executive Orders (1996)
- The Bear and the Dragon (2000)
- Red Rabbit (2002)
John Clark series
All books are written by Tom Clancy.
Jack Ryan, Jr. series
- The Teeth of the Tiger (2003), by Tom Clancy
- Dead or Alive (2010), by Tom Clancy, with Grant Blackwood
- Locked On (2011), by Tom Clancy, with Mark Greaney
- Threat Vector (2012), by Tom Clancy, with Mark Greaney
- Against All Enemies (2012), by Tom Clancy, with Peter Telep
- Command Authority (2013), by Tom Clancy, with Mark Greaney
- Support and Defend (2014), by Mark Greaney
- Full Force and Effect (2014), by Mark Greaney
- Under Fire (2015), by Grant Blackwood
- Commander in Chief (2015), by Mark Greaney
- Duty and Honor (2016), by Grant Blackwood
- True Faith and Allegiance (2016), by Mark Greaney
- Point of Contact (2017), by Mike Maden
- Power and Empire (2017), by Marc Cameron
In the order in which they occur in the storyline (and when they occur):
- Without Remorse (1970–71, 1973) - Starts late 1970, during clean-up of Hurricane Camille's aftermath. Continues the following spring, in 1971. This time frame is based on past-tense references to Operation KINGPIN, the real-life rescue attempt at the Song Tay POW camp in Vietnam (November 1970) and by recurring references to the 1971 Major League Baseball season, in which Pittsburgh defeated Baltimore in the World Series. Jack Ryan's father, Emmet Ryan a Baltimore police detective, is a prominent character. The Epilogue is titled "February 12, 1973. Jack appears briefly in this novel.
- Patriot Games (1981, based on a reference to Ryan's age, which is 31 at the novel's beginning. This roughly fits with a reference to the Princess of Wales expecting a baby (Prince William was born in summer 1982). Similarly, there is a specific reference to both 1985 and 1986 in the past tense, suggesting the events of the novel took place after these dates.)
- Red Rabbit (1982), summer, the KGB operation reference is 15 8 1982 - 666 and it is mentioned that this is the date the first message was sent about killing the Pope, also there is an inconsistency since Suslov is alive in the book, but he died in January 1982, and described in the book actual Pope John Paul II assassination attempt took place May 13th 1981. However, the book also makes references to the Baltimore Orioles winning the World Series with their "new shortstop Ripken", which occurred in 1983.
- The Hunt for Red October (1984)
- The Cardinal of the Kremlin (1986) - The first chapter is set in January and states that Ryan is 35 years old. It also has references to the other books set earlier. For example, the Foleys have been in Moscow for almost four years. The book must begin (not including a prologue set at the end of the previous year) in January 1986.
Starting with the following novel, the series becomes distinctly different from real history as noted below.
- Clear and Present Danger (1988) - This novel, like all previous novels, refers to POTUS as "the President" instead of giving a name, allowing the materials in the novel to be "inserted" into history, but by the end of the novel, the nameless president has been replaced by someone with a name: Governor of Ohio Bob Fowler.
- The Sum of All Fears (1990–91) – Israel partially cedes sovereignty over Jerusalem to the Vatican and Saudi Arabia, and the city becomes a United Nations protectorate policed by Swiss Guards. Jerusalem's residents can choose between either Vatican, Israeli, or Islamic judicial law. Denver is devastated by a terrorist nuclear explosion. The book occurs after the Persian Gulf War and before the USSR's dissolution. While it is implied that both events occur at the same time in the Ryanverse as in actual history, 1991, in the earlier chapters, it states that it had almost been two Novembers since President Fowler had been elected, making the beginning set in 1990. Complicating the issue, though, is that the novels refer to Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush as past Presidents, though the nameless President and Fowler appear to serve during the time of these two Presidents.
- Debt of Honor (1995–96) – The U.S. and Russia destroy all of their ballistic missiles. After crippling the U.S. economy and becoming a nuclear power, Japan invades and takes the Marianas Islands; the U.S. and Japan fight a brief war, which the Japanese lose (they are subsequently denuclearized); an embittered Japanese pilot and proponent of the war crashes a 747 into the U.S. Capitol Building immediately after Ryan's confirmation as Vice President, killing most of Congress, the President, all nine Supreme Court justices, the senior military establishment (including the Joint Chiefs of Staff), and most of the Cabinet. Ryan is left in charge of a gutted government. The end of the book occurs 11 months before the 1997 presidential inauguration. Of interest, but not crucial to the plot of this or further books, is that North and South Korea were said to be unified at some point between The Sum of All Fears and this book. However, a major inconsistency is that Domingo "Ding" Chavez is expressly stated to be 31 years old in this book, and also that he was in fifth grade during the Iranian hostage crisis of 1979. Assuming Chavez was about 10 years old in 1979, that places the events of Debt of Honor to be in or near 2000, although the overall technology presented in the novel and its successive novels Executive Orders and Rainbow Six (especially in regard to the sophistication of internet technology) are more consistent with the mid-1990s.
- Executive Orders (1996) – The leader of Iraq is assassinated; Iran and Iraq merge, forming the United Islamic Republic; the UIR launches a biological attack on the U.S. using the Ebola virus; the U.S. launches the second Persian Gulf War against the UIR, defeats them, and uses a smart bomb to kill the ayatollah. (Contradiction: In The Bear and the Dragon, it states Ryan has been President for 15 months and that book occurs after Rainbow Six, which must occur 1999-2000 due to the Olympics in Sydney. This makes Executive Orders (and Debt of Honor) around 1999, but this makes the gap with the previous books too large).
- Rainbow Six (1999–2000) - events are based on the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, RAINBOW - an elite counter-terrorist force - is created and engages terrorists across Europe. Ecoterrorists plan to create a genetically enhanced virus based on Ebola and cancer cells, which they plan to use to wipe out much of the world's population.
- The Bear and the Dragon (2002) – Russia is admitted to NATO; China and Russia fight a major war, in which the U.S. intervenes on Russia's side. It implies that the British Prime Minister is Tony Blair. Ryan has won re-election as president (2001). He refuses to run in the 2004 election, endorsing his vice president, Robby Jackson, as their party's candidate.
- The Teeth of the Tiger (late spring 2006, based on the age of Jack Ryan, Jr., and summer approaching at one point) The U.S. is now engaged in a global war on terrorism, in response to the September 11th attacks which occurred in the Ryanverse as they did in the real world. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq occurred in the Ryanverse continuity, and the Jerusalem treaty signed in The Sum of All Fears has failed, as Israelis and Palestinians went back to fighting each other.
- Dead or Alive (2007) - A character also explicitly refers to the date as May 2010, in the process of decoding encrypted messages, but this must be seen as a contradiction, as Ed Kealty is president and only for one term. In accordance with the Jack Ryan continuity, Kealty must be president in the term 2005-2009.
- Locked On (2008) - Jack Ryan is running for president again. Since it is only possible for Kealty to serve one term per the rules of the Constitution, that term must be from 2005 to 2009. The election happens in this book, too, making it only possible that the events take place in 2008.
- Threat Vector (2009) - Ryan has been sworn in as President of the United States after having been elected the previous year. The Siberian War with China is said to have happened "seven years" prior, thus making The Bear and the Dragon around 2002, not 2000 as originally thought.
- Command Authority (2013)
- Support and Defend (2014-07)
- Full Force and Effect (2014-12)
- Under Fire (2015)
- Commander in Chief (2015)
- Duty and Honor (2016)
- True Faith and Allegiance (2016)
- Point of Contact (2017), by Mike Maden
- Power and Empire (2017), by Marc Cameron
In other media
Five films based on Clancy novels featuring Jack Ryan have been produced. The movie portraying the earliest incarnation of Ryan (fifth film chronologically) is titled Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit and stars Chris Pine. Released on January 17, 2014, it follows Ryan's move from his accident in the Marines into his CIA career. Jack Ryan is also portrayed by Alec Baldwin in the 1990 film The Hunt for Red October, Harrison Ford in Patriot Games (1992), and Clear and Present Danger (1994), and Ben Affleck in the 2002 film The Sum of All Fears.
In the novels, Patriot Games occurs before The Hunt for Red October, though the order was reversed in the film versions. Additionally, The Sum of All Fears is not part of Baldwin/Ford series, but rather an intended reboot of the franchise which departs significantly from the chronology of the novels. It takes place in 2002, whereas the novel takes place in 1991/1992. Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit is a second reboot of the franchise and departs from all previous films.
It was announced by Deadline that Carlton Cuse and Graham Roland will be working with Michael Bay and his production company Platinum Dunes and Paramount Television on a Jack Ryan TV series for Amazon. On April 29, 2016, Deadline announced that John Krasinski will star as Jack Ryan in the series. On August 16, 2016, Amazon Studios announced they had given a series order for a 10-episode first season of Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan. On November 4, 2016, Abbie Cornish will star as Cathy Muller in the series. On January 6, 2017, Morten Tyldum will direct the pilot. In February 2017, The Americans director Daniel Sackheim will direct multiple episodes and produce the series.
Many video games based on the series have been made, some based on the novels, some on the films, and some on the spin-offs.
- The Hunt for Red October (1987)
- The 1987 video game is based on the book
- The Hunt for Red October (1990)
- The 1990 video game is based on the film
- The Sum of All Fears (2002)
- The 2002 video game is based on the film
In addition, Ryan is a featured character in many of the Rainbow Six universe video games.
- Andreva, Nellie (April 29, 2016). "John Krasinski To Star In ‘Jack Ryan’ Amazon TV Series From Carlton Cuse & Paramount TV".
-  Archived February 9, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
- "The Monarchy Today > Queen and public > Honours > Knighthoods". The official website of the British Monarchy. Archived from the original on December 31, 2011. Retrieved 2015-05-21.
- Clancy, Tom (1996). Executive Orders (Berkley mass market ed.). New York, N.Y.: Berkley Books. pp. 861 & 871. ISBN 9780425158630.
- Andreva, Nellie (September 22, 2015). "Jack Ryan TV Series From Carlton Cuse, Michael Bay's Platinum Dunes & Paramount Chased By Nets".
- Andreva, Nellie (September 30, 2015). "‘Jack Ryan’ TV Series From Carlton Cuse & Paramount TV Lands At Amazon".
- Nolfi, Joey (August 16, 2016). "Amazon greenlights 10 episodes of John Krasinki's Jack Ryan series". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved August 17, 2016.
- Andreeva, Nellie (November 3, 2016). "'Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan': Abbie Cornish Cast As Female Lead In Amazon Series". Deadline.com. Retrieved November 4, 2016.
- Andreeva, Nellie (January 6, 2017). "'Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan': 'Passengers’ Morten Tyldum To Direct Amazon Series". Deadline. Retrieved January 6, 2017.
- Andreeva, Nellie (January 20, 2017). "'Dan Sackheim Joins ‘Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan’ As Director & Executive Producer". Deadline. Retrieved February 7, 2017.
- Clancy, Tom (1984). Hunt for Red October, The. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-285-0.
- Clancy, Tom (1987). Patriot Games. G.P. Putnam & Son. ISBN 0-399-13241-4.
- Clancy, Tom (1988). Cardinal of the Kremlin, The. G.P. Putnam & Son. ISBN 0-399-13345-3.
- Clancy, Tom (1989). Clear and Present Danger. G.P. Putnam & Son. ISBN 0-399-13440-9.
- Clancy, Tom (1991). Sum of All Fears, The. G.P. Putnam & Son. ISBN 0-399-13615-0.
- Clancy, Tom (1993). Without Remorse. G.P. Putnam & Son. ISBN 0-399-13825-0.
- Clancy, Tom (1994). Debt of Honor. G.P. Putnam & Son. ISBN 0-399-13954-0.
- Clancy, Tom (1996). Executive Orders. G.P. Putnam & Son. ISBN 0-399-14218-5.
- Clancy, Tom (1998). Rainbow Six. G.P. Putnam & Son. ISBN 0-399-14390-4.
- Clancy, Tom (2000). Bear and the Dragon, The. G.P. Putnam & Son. ISBN 0-399-14563-X.
- Clancy, Tom (2002). Red Rabbit. G.P. Putnam & Son. ISBN 0-399-14870-1.
- Clancy, Tom (2003). Teeth of the Tiger, The. G.P. Putnam & Son. ISBN 0-399-15079-X.