Thomas Leo "Tom" Clancy, Jr. (April 12, 1947 – October 1, 2013) was an American author and historian best known for his technically detailed espionage and military science storylines set during and in the aftermath of the Cold War, and for video games that bear his name for licensing and promotional purposes. Seventeen of his novels were bestsellers, and more than 100 million copies of his books are in print. His name was also a brand for similar movie scripts written by ghost writers and non-fiction books on military subjects. He was a part-owner of the Baltimore Orioles and Vice Chairman of their Community Activities and Public Affairs committees.
Clancy's literary career began in 1982 when he started writing The Hunt for Red October which in 1984 he sold for publishing to the Naval Institute Press for $5,000. The publisher was impressed with the work; Deborah Grosvenor, the Naval Institute Press editor who read through the work, said later that she convinced the publisher: "I think we have a potential best seller here, and if we don’t grab this thing, somebody else would," and considered that Clancy had an "innate storytelling ability, and his characters had this very witty dialogue". The publisher requested Clancy to cut numerous technical details, amounting to about 100 pages. Clancy, who had wanted to sell 5,000 copies, ended up selling over 45,000. After publication, the book received praise from President Ronald Reagan, calling the work "my kind of yarn", subsequently boosting sales to 300,000 hardcover and 2 million paperback copies of the book, making it a national bestseller. The book was critically praised for its technical accuracy, which led to Clancy's meeting several high-ranking officers in the U.S. military.
The first NetForce novel (titled Net Force and published in 1999) was adapted as a television movie, starring Scott Bakula and Joanna Going. The first Op-Center novel was released to coincide with a 1995 NBC television mini-series of the same name (Tom Clancy's Op-Center published in 1995) starring Harry Hamlin and a cast of stars. Though the mini-series did not continue, the book series did, but it had little in common with the first mini-series other than the title and the names of the main characters.
Clancy wrote several nonfiction books about various branches of the U.S. Armed Forces (see non-fiction listing, below). Clancy also branded several lines of books and video games with his name that are written by other authors, following premises or storylines generally in keeping with Clancy's works. These are sometimes referred to by fans as "apostrophe" books; Clancy did not initially acknowledge that these series were being authored by others; he only thanked the actual authors in the headnotes for their "invaluable contribution to the manuscript".
By 1988, Clancy had earned $1.3 million for The Hunt for Red October and had signed a $3 million contract for his next three books. By 1997, it was reported that Penguin Putnam Inc. (part of Pearson Education) would pay Clancy $50 million for world rights to two new books, and another $25 million to Red Storm Entertainment for a four-year book/multimedia deal. Clancy followed this up with an agreement with Penguin'sBerkley Books for 24 paperbacks to tie in with the ABC television miniseries Tom Clancy's Net Force aired in the fall/winter of 1998. The Op-Center universe has laid the ground for the series of books written by Jeff Rovin, which was in an agreement worth $22 million, bringing the total value of the package to $97 million.
In 2008, the French video game manufacturer Ubisoft purchased the use of Clancy's name for an undisclosed sum. It has been used in conjunction with video games and related products such as movies and books. Based on his interest in private spaceflight and his US$1 million investment in the launch vehicle company Rotary Rocket, Clancy was interviewed in 2007 for the documentary film Orphans of Apollo (2008).
On September 11, 2001, Clancy was interviewed by Judy Woodruff on CNN. During the interview, he asserted "Islam does not permit suicide" (see Islam and suicide). Among other observations during this interview, Clancy cited discussions he had with military experts on the lack of planning to handle a hijacked plane being used in a suicide attack and criticized the news media's treatment of the United States Intelligence Community. Clancy appeared again on PBS's Charlie Rose, to discuss the implications of the day's events with Richard Holbrooke, New York Times journalist Judith Miller, and Senator John Edwards, among others. Clancy was interviewed on these shows because his 1994 book Debt of Honor included a scenario where a disgruntled Japanese airline pilot crashes a fueled Boeing 747 into the U.S. Capitol dome during an address by the President to a joint session of Congress, killing the President and most of Congress. This plot device bore strong similarities to the attacks of September 11, 2001.
Clancy and his first wife Wanda Thomas King, a nursing student who became an eye surgeon, married in 1969, separated briefly in 1995, and permanently separated in December 1996. Clancy filed for divorce in November 1997, which became final in January 1999.
On June 26, 1999, Clancy married freelance journalist Alexandra Marie Llewellyn, whom he had met in 1997. Llewellyn is the daughter of J. Bruce Llewellyn and a family friend of Colin Powell, who originally introduced the couple to each other. They remained together until Clancy's death in October 2013.
Clancy also purchased a 17,000 square feet (1,600 m2) penthouse condominium in the Ritz-Carlton in Baltimore's Inner Harbor for US$16 million.
Clancy died on October 1, 2013, of an undisclosed illness at Johns Hopkins Hospital, near his Baltimore home. Clancy is survived by his wife, Alexandra; their daughter, Alexis; and four children from his marriage to Wanda King: Michelle Bandy, Christine Blocksidge, Kathleen Clancy, and Thomas Clancy III. The Chicago Tribune quoted Pulitzer Prize-winning author Stephen Hunter as saying, "When he published The Hunt for Red October he redefined and expanded the genre and as a consequence of that, a lot of people were able to publish such books who had previously been unable to do so."
John Gresham, a co-author and researcher with Clancy on several books attributed Clancy's death to heart problems: "Five or six years ago Tom suffered a heart attack and he went through bypass surgery. It wasn’t that he had another heart attack, [his heart] just wore out."
Clancy's first published novel. CIA analyst Jack Ryan assists in the defection of a respected Soviet naval captain, along with the most advanced ballistic missile submarine of the Soviet fleet. The movie (1990) stars Alec Baldwin as Ryan and Sean Connery as Captain Ramius. U.S, submarine commander Bart Mancuso is introduced in this novel, and nearly every subsequent book has Mancuso in ever increasing command of U.S. submarine forces. U.S. naval aviator Robby Jackson is also introduced and eventually succeeds Jack Ryan as President of the United States.
War between NATO and USSR. The basis of the combat game of the same name, this book is not a member of the Ryan story series (although the protagonist of the story has many similarities with Jack Ryan). Cowritten with Larry Bond.
Patriot Games chronologically predates the first book that Clancy wrote, The Hunt for Red October. Jack Ryan foils an attack in London on the Prince and Princess of Wales by the "Ulster Liberation Army". The ULA then attacks Ryan's Maryland home while he is hosting the Prince and Princess for dinner. The movie stars Harrison Ford as Ryan and Samuel L. Jackson as Robby Jackson.
The sequel to "The Hunt for Red October." First appearance of John Clark and Sergey Golovko. Ryan leads a CIA operation which forces the head of the KGB to defect. Other elements include anti-satellite lasers and other SDI-type weapons, and the Soviet war in Afghanistan. Major Alan Gregory is introduced here. (He appears later, updating SAM software in The Bear and the Dragon). Colonel Bondarenko also is introduced here. (He appears in later books offering advice to Golovko in "Executive Orders" and commanding the Russian Army defenses against China in its sequel "The Bear and the Dragon".)
The President authorizes the CIA to use American military forces in a covert war against cocaine producers in Colombia. The operation is betrayed. Ryan meets John Clark as they lead a mission to rescue abandoned soldiers. Domingo "Ding" Chavez (Clark's protege in later novels) is one of the rescued soldiers. The 1994 film stars Harrison Ford as Ryan, Willem Dafoe as Clark, and Raymond Cruz as Chavez.
Arab terrorists find a nuclear weapon that had been lost by Israel, and use it to attack the United States. This nearly triggers a war between the U.S. and the Soviet Union, due to the incompetence of the new President and his mistress with an anti-Ryan agenda. Ryan intervenes to avert the war. The 2002 film stars Ben Affleck as Ryan and Liev Schreiber as Clark, and changes the identity and motivation of the terrorists to neo-Nazis.
Without Remorse takes place during the Vietnam War, when Jack Ryan was a teenager. Ex-SEAL John Clark (then John Kelly) fights a one-man war against drug dealers in Baltimore, attracting the attention of Jack's father Emmett, a Baltimore police detective. He also helps plan and execute a raid on a prisoner-of-war camp in North Vietnam. Clark joins the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
A secret cabal of extreme nationalists gains control of Japan (having developed some nuclear weapons), and start a war with the U.S. Ryan, now National Security Advisor, and Clark and Chavez, agents in Japan, help win the war. The Vice President resigns in a scandal, and the President appoints Ryan to replace him. A vengeful, die-hard Japanese airline pilot then crashes a jetliner into the U.S. Capitol during a joint session of Congress attended by most senior U.S. government officials, including the President. Ryan thus becomes the new President through succession.
This is the immediate sequel to Debt of Honor. President Ryan survives press hazing, an assassination attempt, and a biological warfare attack on the United States. Clark and Chavez trace the virus to a Middle Eastern madman, and the U.S. military goes to work.
Released to coincide with the video game of the same name. John Clark and Ding, who is now Clark's son-in-law, lead an elite multinational anti-terrorist unit that combats a worldwide genocide attempt by eco-terrorists. Ryan is the U.S. President and only mentioned or referred to as either 'The President' or 'Jack'.
War between Russia and China. Ryan recognizes the independence of Taiwan, Chinese police officers kill a Roman Catholic Cardinal, and American armed forces help Russia defeat a Chinese invasion of Siberia.
Jack Ryan's son, Jack Ryan, Jr., becomes an intelligence analyst, and then a field consultant, for The Campus, an off-the-books intelligence agency with the freedom to discreetly assassinate individuals "who threaten national security", following the end of the Jack Ryan Sr. presidential administration. This book of the Jack Ryan series by Tom Clancy introduces Ryan's son and two nephews as heirs to his spook-legacy.
A terrorist bombing in Pakistan wipes out Max Moore’s entire CIA team. As the only survivor, the former Navy SEAL plunges deeper into the treacherous tribal lands to find the terrorist cell, but what he discovers there leads him to a much darker conspiracy in an unexpected part of the globe — the United States/Mexico border.
While Jack Ryan Jr. trains to become a field operative within The Campus, his father campaigns for re-election as President of the United States. A devout enemy of Jack Sr. launches a privately funded vendetta to discredit him, while a corrupt Pakistani general has entered into a deadly pact with a fanatical terrorist to procure nuclear warheads.
Jack Ryan has only just moved back into the Oval Office when he is faced with a new international threat. An aborted coup in the People's Republic of China has left President Wei Zhen Lin with no choice but to agree with the expansionist policies of General Su Ke Qiang. They have declared the South China Sea a protectorate and are planning an invasion of Taiwan. The Ryan administration is determined to thwart China’s ambitions, but the stakes are dangerously high as a new breed of powerful Chinese anti-ship missiles endanger the US Navy's plans to protect the island. Meanwhile, Chinese cyber warfare experts have launched a devastating attack on American infrastructure.
In the order in which they occur in the storyline (and when they occur):
Without Remorse (1969–70, 1973 - Starts late 1969, in Hurricane Camille's aftermath. Continues the following spring, in 1970. Epilogue is titled "February 12, 1973") Ryan briefly appears in this novel.
Patriot Games (1982, based on a reference to Ryan's age, which is 31 at the beginning of the novel. This roughly fits with a reference to the Princess of Wales's first child being a baby and a few months old, Prince William was born in 1982) Discrepancies include the reference to a van having a likely year of manufacture of 1984. The subsequent events of Red Rabbit would seem to push its date back to 1981, rather than 1982.
Red Rabbit (seems to start in the spring of 1982 as Jack Ryan, Jr.'s age in the novel is given as 6 months, although the main action explicitly starts on August 15) Discrepancies between 1982 in the Ryanverse and in actual events, aside from the date of the attempt on the Pope's life, include: the actual death of Mikhail Suslov in January 1982; frequent references to "Transformers" which did not appear until 1984; the fact that the Orioles played the Phillies in the World Series in 1983; the Baltimore Colts' relocation to Indianapolis not occurring until 1984; a reference to "Coke Classic" which did not debut until the summer of 1985.
The Hunt for Red October (1984 - although the calendar used is for 1982 and Ryan is spending his first Christmas in London, having arrived in the previous novel)
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 prologue which was set end of 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) The book refers to Jack's age as 40. Troops are sent into Colombia to fight against the Medina Cartel and reduce drug shipments to America.
The Sum of All Fears (1990–1991) — Israel partially cedes sovereignty over Jerusalem to the Vatican and Saudi Arabia, and the city becomes a United Nations protectorate policed by Swiss Guards. Residents of Jerusalem 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 dissolution of the Soviet Union. It is implied that both events occur at the same time in the Ryan universe as in actual history (of the Soviet Union dissolution), 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. Interestingly, the video game Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six puts the atomic detonation in Denver as having occurred in 1989.
Debt of Honor (1995–1996) — 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 United States 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 United States Capitol Building immediately after Ryan's confirmation vote for the Vice President, killing most of the House and Senate, the President, all nine Supreme Court justices, the senior military establishment (including the JCS), and most of the Cabinet; Ryan is left in charge of a gutted government. The end of the book occurs eleven months before 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.
Rainbow Six (1999–2000) - events are based on the Sydney Olympics held in 2000, 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 Teeth of the Tiger (2006, based on the age of Jack Ryan, Jr.) The U.S. is now engaged in a global war on terrorism, in response to the September 11 attacks, which occurred in the Ryan universe as they did in the real world. It is mentioned that the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq occurred in the Ryan universe continuity, and that the Jerusalem Treaty signed in The Sum of All Fears was not entirely successful as some Israelis and Palestinians continue fighting each other.
Dead or Alive (2007, based on Jack Ryan's announcement that he would run against Ed Kealty for President "in the coming year") — The Umayyad Revolutionary Council (the Ryan universe version of Al-Qaeda) and its leader "The Emir" (based on Osama bin Laden) plan a string of major attacks on the U.S. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq continue, as in our timeline, and President Kealty is in the process of withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq. 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 is only president for one term. In accordance with the Jack Ryan continuity, Kealty must be president in the term 2005-2009.
Locked On (2008, based on Jack Ryan Sr.'s campaign for re-election). 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. Jack Ryan Sr.'s opponent, Edward Kealty, tries to dig up dirt on him by going after John Clark. Meanwhile, a renegade Pakistani general steals nuclear weapons from his country and delivers them to rebel Dagestani forces. In the middle of all this, Jack Ryan Jr. and The Campus try to prevent the use of the lethal weapon and come to help Clark.
Threat Vector (2012). Ryan has been sworn in as president of the United States after having been elected the previous year. It also states that the events of this novel happen six months after the previous novel.
The Tom Clancy Companion — Edited by Martin H. Greenberg — Writings by Clancy along with a concordance of all his fiction novels, detailing characters and military units or equipment.
In 1996, Clancy co-founded the video game developerRed Storm Entertainment and ever since he has had his name on several of Red Storm's most successful games. Red Storm was later bought by publisher Ubisoft Entertainment, which continued to use the Clancy name, though the extent of Clancy's actual involvement with creation of the games and development of intellectual properties, if any, was unclear. This game series includes:
The Hunt for Red October (1987): Submarine simulation loosely based on the novel of the same name. Produced by Grandslam Entertainment for IBM PC, C64, and Amiga.
Red Storm Rising (1988): Submarine sim loosely based on the novel of the same name. Produced by MicroProse for IBM PC, C64, and Amiga.
The Hunt for Red October (1990): Submarine sim based on the movie of the same name. Produced by Grandslam Entertainment for Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, Commodore 64, DOS, ZX Spectrum.
The Hunt for Red October (1990): Submarine sim based on the movie of the same name. Produced for Nintendo Entertainment System, Game Boy, and Super NES.
SSN (1996): Submarine sim based on the novel of the same name. Produced by Simon & Schuster Interactive for IBM PC.
ruthless.com (1998) by Red Storm Entertainment: Strategy game based loosely on the book of the same name.
Shadow Watch (2000): Turn-based strategy based on the Power Play novel of the same name.
The Sum of All Fears (2002): Tactical first-person shooter similar in style to Rainbow Six, but based on the Ghost Recon engine. The plot is based on the movie of the same name. Produced by Ubisoft for the IBM PC and Nintendo GameCube system.
Rainbow Six series
Rainbow Six series: Squad-based first-person shooters, based on the novel of the same name, typically taking place in closed urban environments. 18 Rainbow Six games have been produced so far.
Clancy was one of only three authors to have sold two million copies on a first printing in the 1990s (the other two being John Grisham and J. K. Rowling). Clancy's 1989 novel Clear and Present Danger sold 1,625,544 hardcover copies, making it the #1 bestselling novel of the 1980s.
Clancy was an honorary Yeoman Warder of The Tower of London holding the title "Supernumerary Yeoman" after having been arrested for scaling its walls. On the television show Ace of Cakes his wife commissioned, for his 60th birthday, a special cake in the shape of the Tower of London in acknowledgment of his status. In the episode, Tom Clancy referred to the Beefeaters as, "Just a terrific bunch of guys".
He was mentioned in American History X at a family dinner table where Edward Norton's and Edward Furlong's characters were present. The mother of the two characters remarked to the father that they do not teach Tom Clancy at college.
In the BBC sitcom My Family, the character Ben Harper, often reads Tom Clancy's novels in bed.