The Jack Ryan series is the best kind of series. You can pick up and read anyone of them and not worry too much about the order you are reading them. I read once that Clancy often was writing more than one at a time and which ever story he finished would be the one published.
I was like the typical college graduate - I hadn't really read much for pleasure during the 4 years of matriculation. But I have always been a big reader so without the mandatory reading lists I felt a bit of a loss as to where to start. I was too old for the authors of my high school years (though I was reading adult books then as well as the typical YA). I remember reading a few of the classics that had been assigned in high school, but I hadn't gotten to (while an avid reader, I'm also a bit of a slow reader). There was only so much classic literature that I could read at a time and I felt strange telling people in interviews that the last book I read was Hamlet.
I had watched several of the movies that the books had been made into and Mom had a few of the books that hadn't been turned into movies. So I started there and then hit up the library for the others. Over the years I have picked up copies at book sales and thrift stores. I'm not sure if I have a favorite in the series, but I do have a Top 3. I think The Cardinal in the Kremlin was the book I started with and one of my favorites. Though Jack Ryan was the quintessential hero and possibly the first book character I had a crush on, the Cardinal (aka Mikhail Filitov) was a favorite character.
To round out the Top 3 Favorite is not technically a Jack Ryan series book, but John Clark - Rainbow Six. I really like Mr. Clark too.
I haven't gotten around to the Jack Ryan, Jr series, but I think I'm going to remedy that soon since I am finishing up the series I've been reading from the library. It will be interesting to see if I think the thrillers are still as great. I'm really partial to Cold War era espionage, but I think Clancy's writing will still pull me in.
I haven't tried the other series Clancy has penned. Mostly because I thought I needed to branch out to other authors and some of it was because they were more techno-thrillers.
Are you a fan of Jack Ryan? Or do enjoy one of Clancy's other series?
And just a side note - I much preferred Harrison Ford at Jack Ryan to Ben Affleck (Sum of All Fears was probably my least favorite Jack Ryan movie).
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