The Best Five Tom Clancy Books

Tom Clancy was the author whose work most inspired me to write. His work has spawned countless movie adaptions—the Hunt for Red October, Patriot Games, the Sum of All Fears—and video games—Rainbow Six and its many sequels, Splinter Cell and its many sequels, and so on. Clancy has shown an unusual willingness to add his name to anything spy-related as long as it earns him so extra money. Most of the books that have come out bearing that name in the past few years have had a coauthor’s name in small print below, and their quality has deteriorated significantly. Even some of his later, non-coauthored books weren’t as good as readers had come to expect. The glory days of Clancy are long gone, and I haven’t yet found an author in the genre that replaces his combination of quality writing, incredible detail, and amazing action. Many of the popular writers of spy thrillers today make Dick Cheney look liberal and aren’t afraid to show it (Brad Thor), set up good characters but don’t write convincing action and fail to adequately wrap up story lines at the end of the book (Ted Bell), or write great stories but do so poorly (Dan Brown and many, many more). Although Clancy wrote more an extraordinarily large number of awesome novels, here are my five favorites (Mild spoilers follow):

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