Creator/TomClancy's most famous series of novels, which focus mainly on CIA analyst Jack Ryan and, to a lesser extent, CIA field operative John Clark. Four of them have been adapted into movies, one is connected to a series of video games, and one film, ''Film/JackRyanShadowRecruit'', is a reboot of the universe taking some items from the books but not based on any specific novel. Among fans, this continuity is often referred to as the "Ryanverse."

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[[folder: The Jack Ryan series (arranged by event chronology, not order of publication) ]]

[[index]]
* ''Literature/WithoutRemorse'' -- The {{backstory}} of {{Badass}} CIA operative John Clark, who goes on a RoaringRampageOfRevenge against a vicious drug gang following the murder of his girlfriend.
* ''Literature/PatriotGames'' -- Ex-Marine Jack Ryan, an American tourist in London, rescues the Prince of Wales from [[UsefulNotes/TheTroubles Irish terrorists]] and comes to the attention of both the IRA and the CIA. [[Film/PatriotGames This was the second book to be filmed]], with Creator/HarrisonFord as Ryan.
* ''Literature/RedRabbit'' -- Ryan, a new CIA analyst, must assist in locating a Soviet defector with information about a KGB plot to assassinate ThePope.
* ''Literature/TheHuntForRedOctober'' -- Clancy's first published novel, featuring a rogue prototype Soviet nuclear missile submarine. Ryan is the man on the spot to assist its officers with their plan to defect to the United States. Made into [[Film/TheHuntForRedOctober a feature film]] with Alec Baldwin.
* ''Literature/TheCardinalOfTheKremlin'' -- America's top agent in the Soviet Union is compromised, just as he comes into possession of plans for a system that could change the ColdWar nuclear stalemate forever. Ryan must play a dangerous mind game against the head of the KGB to rescue the agent, with the balance of power in the Soviet government at stake.
* ''Literature/ClearAndPresentDanger'' -- A rogue adviser to the President launches a covert and illegal war on the Columbian narcotics industry, and Ryan must rescue the soldiers before they are abandoned to their fate. The [[Film/ClearAndPresentDanger third film from the series]] and the second to star Creator/HarrisonFord.
* ''Literature/TheSumOfAllFears'' -- Arab terrorists get their hands on a nuclear bomb and try to set it off within the United States, and a burned out Ryan is the OnlySaneMan in a dangerously paranoid U.S. administration. Loosely adapted into [[Film/TheSumOfAllFears the fourth film]] as a sort of reboot, featuring Creator/BenAffleck as a newbie Ryan, with the Arabs swapped for Neo-Nazis.
* ''Literature/DebtOfHonor'' -- After an economic crisis, [[JapanTakesOverTheWorld Japan decides to launch a new war of territorial acquisition]]. Ryan must help his country figure out how to fight back on two fronts: economic and military, with a navy dangerously drawn down by past presidents.
* ''Literature/ExecutiveOrders'' -- The war with Japan is over, at a terrible cost. Meanwhile, Iran, sensing weakness in the badly damaged U.S. government, embarks on a campaign of terrorism and biological warfare in an attempt to unify the Muslim world by force. Not only is Ryan's leadership ability called into question like never before, but he and his family have once again become targets of a ruthless and powerful enemy.
* ''Literature/RainbowSix'' -- {{Badass}} Clark forms an international paramilitary counterterrorism force, with his future son-in-law and Junior Badass "Ding" Chavez tapped to lead it into action. Little do they suspect that they'll be facing an enemy within their own country. Adapted into [[VideoGame/RainbowSix a series of video games]].
* ''Literature/TheBearAndTheDragon'' -- China, facing an economic and political crisis, [[ChinaTakesOverTheWorld decides to invade Russia.]] The U.S. must cement a friendship with its once-greatest foe to fight off the aggressor. But what will Ryan do when the threat turns nuclear?
* ''Literature/TeethOfTheTiger'' -- In the world after Ryan's departure from government, there are new terrorist threats. Ryan's son, also named Jack, joins a Black Ops group dedicated to attacking them on their own turf.
* ''Literature/DeadOrAlive'' -- The further adventures of Jack Ryan Jr. and his fellow counterterrorists of "The Campus". Also, the elder Ryan comes to the reluctant decision to run for office again.
* ''Literature/LockedOn'' — Jack Ryan Junior and the Campus continue their anti-terrorist mission as Jack Ryan Senior runs for President again.
* ''Literature/ThreatVector'' — Jack Ryan Junior and the Campus realize someone is on to them as Jack Ryan Senior faces the Chinese once again.
* ''Literature/CommandAuthority'' — A new strongman has arisen in Russia, and his rise to power is based on a decades-old dark secret—with President Jack Ryan holding the key. This was the last novel completed by Clancy before he passed away on October 1st, 2013. It was released posthumously in December 2013.
[[/index]]

!!These novels provide examples of:

* ActionDuo: Clark and Chavez.
* AKA47: Completely and notably averted in the novels and games. In ''Rainbow Six'' however, "the new version of the venerable MP-5, chambered instead for the 10-mm Smith & Wesson cartridge" is erroneously referred to as the "[=MP-10=]" (actually the [=MP5/10=]); there has been [[InternetBackdraft considerable debate]] regarding this given the usual amount of attention given to these kinds of details, with [[WordOfGod Clancy himself saying at one point]] that he had personally seen and shot "the [=MP-10=]" (a submachine gun manufactured by an entirely different company, Special Weapons). In ''Dead or Alive'', Rainbow uses the more common [=MP5SD3=] instead of the aforementioned [=MP5/10=].
* TheAlcoholic: Klementi Vladimirovich Vatutin from ''The Cardinal of the Kremlin''. It's mentioned that, as a borderline alcoholic, he has difficulty falling asleep at night unless he has a couple of drinks first.
* AmericaSavesTheDay: A fairly standard plot, especially in later novels, although very explicitly averted in ''Clear and Present Danger'' and ''The Sum of all Fears''.
* AnimalWrongsGroup: The antagonists in ''Rainbow Six''.
* AnonymousRinger:
** The American President prior to 1988 is never identified by name until Clancy manages to clear the backlog of RealLife Presidents and starts dropping in his own, starting with Bob Fowler. On the British side, Prince Charles and Margaret Thatcher, are also referred to only referred to by title, though Tony Blair does get first-named in ''The Bear and the Dragon''. Similarly, John Paul II is referred to only by first name only once in ''Red Rabbit'' by Yuri Andropov.
** In later novels, however, Reagan and George H. W. Bush are referred to by name, and the Clinton scandal is alluded to. Perhaps even more blatantly, "the President of Iraq" is assassinated at the start of ''Executive Orders'' (incidentally, Hussein is actually referred to by name when discussing the Gulf War, but referred to as "the President of Iraq" when his assassination is brought up).
** While Clancy had admitted that his books are something of an allegory to real life, this tendency does cause some of his books to contain some considerable continuity errors, such as [[spoiler: the assassination attempt on [[ThePope John Paul II]] being in 1982 instead of 1981]] in ''Red Rabbit'', or Ronald Reagan running for reelection in 1988 in ''Clear and Present Danger'' (though in the second case it may well be Walter Mondale who defeated Reagan in 1984).
* AntiVillain:
** Depending on context, the KGB or the whole U.S.S.R. before their becoming the Russian Federation and the resultant HeelFaceTurn.
** Qian Kun from ''Threat Vector'' is a traditional example. Fang Gan is a much darker example, though he does make the right call when he has to.
* ApocalypseHow:
** In ''Rainbow Six'', a genetically engineered strain of the Ebola virus is designed intentionally to wipe out 99% of humanity, save for a [[AnimalWrongsGroup "chosen few"]].
** In ''The Sum Of All Fear'', the US and USSR come within seconds of all-out nuclear war.
* UsefulNotes/ArabIsraeliConflict: Ryan manages to solve it in the span of a few pages by turning Jerusalem into a neutral city-state with Swiss guards and a ruling council of religious leaders. The monumental size of this HandWave should be apparent. It also gets the ResetButton pressed on it a few books later.
* ArtisticLicenseHistory:
** At one point Cliff Rutledge says that the USA has the longest continual stable government in the world, which is a fairly dubious statement. Whilst the various criteria can be subjectively defined for various ends, many would argue that there are several "continual stable governments" that have existed for longer - the UK has maintained a constitutional monarchy, with various constitutional revisions down the years, since 1707, for example. That said, what Rutledge means is slightly unclear, he could be talking about the USA being the oldest Republic or democracy, both of which are rather more defensible positions.
** Given the time between publications of his novels, "time" for the characters gets stretched out as events in RealLife occur. For instance, Ryan leaves government service around 1992 in ''The Sum of All Fears'', but somehow spends only two years on vacation until ''Debt of Honor'', which takes places in 1996, and [[spoiler:serves as President]] for another year or two up until 2001-ish between ''Executive Orders'' and ''The Bear and the Dragon''.
** More conventionally, Clancy sometimes uses up-and-coming data/speculation when discussing weapons that are going to be fielded in the near-future, which ends up falling flat when it turns out incorrectly. For instance, in ''Debt of Honor'' it is mentioned that the next ship in line after ''John Stennis'' is going to be the ''United States'', which was the name for ''Harry S. Truman'' when she was laid down, but changed afterwards.
** The F-22, whose first production models are rolled out for ''Debt of Honor'' is referred to as the Rapier. The nickname was later changed to Raptor.
* AscendedExtra: Several minor characters later get their own books (John Clark, nee Kelly, and ''Without Remorse'') or become far more important later on (Robby Jackson, a very minor background character in one scene in ''The Hunt for Red October'', later is revealed to be an old friend of Jack Ryan).
* AsianStoreOwner: Mrs. Zimmer.
* AuthorFilibuster:
** "The Ryan Doctrine", in ''Executive Orders''. Justified in that politicians are ''supposed'' to give speeches, so at least the filibuster is worked organically into the story.
** ''Executive Orders'' also stops dead in its tracks to hammer the readers over the head about the complexity of the US Tax Code. Could be justified by the fact that it shows the reader what the new president's policies will be, and sets up the media hangings that are attempted on Ryan.
** Ryan lampshades this in ''Executive Orders'' during his interview with Tom Donner and John Plumber, when he notes that he's been wanting to say all this for years, but is still rather nervous about doing so on TV.
** ''The Bear and the Dragon'' features a large amount of time dedicated to abortion rights in the US.
** Minor ones are dotted about the series, generally reflecting a conservative position - for example, reducing the military budget is ''never'' presented as a good idea, America has "the best healthcare system in the world", GoodGirlsAvoidAbortion, the death penalty and sometimes downright vigilantism are presented positively, and economic cooperation with China is strategically unsound. The series generally doesn't suffer from it however.
* AuthorTract: Whilst all the books feature Clancy's right wing politics to a greater or lesser degree, ''The Bear and the Dragon'' is notable for featuring nearly every intellectual, economic and political ''cause celebre'' of the modern American right. How effective this is depends on ones own political orientation.
* {{Badass}}:
** John Clark, especially in ''Without Remorse.'' In later novels he downplays it a lot and is a reasonably ShellShockedSenior.
** Ding Chavez is more typically, but this is downplayed as he [[CharacterDevelopment matures]].
** In ''Rainbow Six'', Rainbow is a BadassCrew, formed from parts of various [[BadassArmy Badass Armies]], though they are portrayed as realistically badass and very, very mortal.
** Jack Ryan, ironically, seems to be a {{Deconstruction}} of a {{Badass}}. Sure, he does get some badassery, but he suffers PTSD, injury, and totally realistic angst and pangs of conscience almost immediately afterwards.
** Gennady Iosifovich Bondarenko is Russia's resident ColonelBadass ([[spoiler: later FourStarBadass]]) - from personally commanding the [[spoiler: defense of the Soviet laser base]] in ''The Cardinal Of The Kremlin'' to being the right claw of the bear in ''The Bear and the Dragon'', if Mother Russia needs some dirty, dangerous work done, Gennady is in the thick of it. Also a GeniusBruiser, being the designer of a laser-communication system and one of the smartest commanders in the series.
** The Archer. Lost his family to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, deals with the angst by shooting Soviet planes down and generally making a royal nuisance of himself. Also a ReligiousBruiser - he is a devout Muhjihad. Serves as a foil to Gennady Bondarenko, and his [[spoiler: death at Gennady's hands is surprisingly moving.]]
--->'''The Archer''': ''Allahu Akhbar!''\\
'''Colonel Bondarenko''': Yes, I suppose he is.
** Misha. Filitov. Fought for Russia against the Germans, famous for killing Germans ''whilst on fire.'' As a RetiredBadass, he became so disgusted with Marxist-Leninism in general and JosefStalin in particular that he took up spying for NATO, and was unbelievably good at it that he escaped being caught for over nearly thirty years. Doubles as a MemeticBadass amongst the entire Soviet military establishment.
** Pat O'Day, an FBI agent and hardass lawman. Also a BadassBystander, see below.
** The USSS is definitely a WorldOfBadass, especially Andrea Price and the service Grandfather, Donnie "Don" Russell.
* BadassArmy:
** America (and to lesser extents other good guys) are portrayed as commanding one, though America seems to get the lion's share.
** Subverted ''and'' played straight by the Russian Army in ''The Bear and the Dragon''. While they rely heavily on the US for military support and they have an army of conscripts (half of whom did not show up when called into emergency active duty), their tactics are better than the Chinese that have been training for literally years, and they utterly obliterate an entire Chinese army group (about 1,000 tanks and 200,000 soldiers) with brilliant tactics, excellent intelligence and ''tanks from World War 2''. [[spoiler: The Chinese head general getting bagged by a sniper right off the bat didn't help.]]
* BadassBookworm: Jack Ryan, especially in the movies.
* BadassBystander:
** When terrorists storm a day care center in ''Executive Orders'' to kidnap [[spoiler:the President's young daughter]], the only other parent there to pick up the kids is an armed FBI agent.
** In ''Rainbow Six'', three terrorists try to hijack an airplane... with Clark, Chavez, and Alistair Stanley on board. Their plan [[MuggingTheMonster doesn't quite succeed]].
** Again in ''Rainbow Six'', during a terrorist attack on an amusement park, one of the performers dressed as a Roman Centurion attacks one of the gun-wielding terrorists and injures him ''with a spatha''.
* BadassGrandpa:
** John Clark, who is already approaching sixty by ''Rainbow Six'', isn't quite what he used to be in ''Without Remorse'', but as noted in ''Rainbow Six'', he's still on everybody's "don't-fuck-with list."
** Secret Service Special Agent Don Russel, Katie Ryan's bodyguard, who has grandchildren of his own. [[spoiler:When terrorists with AK-47s attack Katie's daycare centre, Don has one second of warning and takes down 3 before getting shot, and kills a fourth with his dying breaths]].
** Admiral Casimir Podulski in ''Without Remorse''. He has a Medal Of Honor, plus enough kills to make him an ace.
** ''The Bear and the Dragon'' features an elderly Russian sniper who fought against the Germans in [=WWII=]. When China invades Russia some soldiers come to his house to evacuate him, but he insists on breaking out his rifle and defending his homeland one more time. [[spoiler:He kills a Chinese general.]]
* BlackBestFriend: Robby Jackson rarely fails to have stories about his childhood in Alabama with his preacher father, or his time flying Tomcats for the Navy.
* BlastingItOutOfTheirHands: Played straight, {{lampshaded}}, {{subverted|trope}}, {{discussed|trope}}, and averted in several places.
** A scene in ''The Cardinal of the Kremlin'' has an FBI agent shoot a gun out of a Soviet agent's hand, observing afterwards that he didn't know why he did it, despite being trained and training others specifically not to do it.
** In ''Rainbow Six'', Dieter Weber uses his sniper rifle to disable a terrorist's Uzi so that Homer Johnston can deliver a gut shot to make him die as slowly and painfully as possible. In this case, however, they knew they would get in trouble for it and despite covering their butts admirably ("Slapped the trigger a bit too hard, boss."), they are still mildly reprimanded and told that one exception is the limit.
* BodyguardBetrayal: An important plot issue in ''Executive Orders''; see DeepCoverAgent, below.
* BuzzingTheDeck: In ''Debt Of Honor'', US B-1 bombers buzz an Indian aircraft carrier at near-supersonic speeds as a warning.
* CallBack:
** In ''The Sum of All Fears'', Jack is followed by reporters to the home where the mother and children greet him warmly. They accuse him of having a SecretOtherFamily. In truth, it's the family of one of the soldiers killed all the way back in ''Clear and Present Danger'', and Jack is honoring his promise to help the man's children.
** In ''The Bear and the Dragon'', the scientist who assists the US Navy in converting a [=AEGIS=] cruiser into a ballistic missile defense platform is Al Gregory, a character who was last seen working on a ballistic missile defense project in ''The Cardinal of the Kremlin''.
* CallForward: There's usually at least one in each {{Prequel}} novel.
** ''Red Rabbit'' contains a few of these. Most notably, when discussing the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, one of Ryan's coworkers notes that the Afghans are helpless in the face of Soviet helicopters unless an equalizer is brought into play, like the newly-developed Stinger missile. Much like the ones that the Archer wields in ''Cardinal of the Kremlin''...
* CanadaEh:
** Puts in a brief appearance in ''Rainbow Six'' as the RCMP who pick up the would-be Basque terrorists who tried to hijack the plane that Clark and Chavez happen to be on, but otherwise ignored.
** The Japanese pilot who [[spoiler:kamikazes his 747 into the US Capitol Building]] in ''Debt of Honor'' took off from Vancouver, and in ''Executive Orders'' the RCMP aid in the investigation.
** The Bin Laden expy who sneaks into the US in ''Dead or Alive'', comes in through Canada, and the Campus agents who get a tip on an al-Queda courier coming into the country pick him up and start tailing him in Toronto.
* CatchPhrase: "I serve the Soviet Union" gets said so many times in ''Red Rabbit'' that it's not even funny.
* TheChessmaster:
** Nikolay Gerasimov in ''Cardinal of the Kremlin'' is a mix of this and TheStarscream. He suborns the vote of a Politburo member by blackmailing him with his daughter, who is working for British intelligence, and then does the same to Defense Minister Yazov using Filitov, in a bid to unseat Narmanov as the General Secretary of the Soviet Union. Ryan manages to sabotage his plans by counter-blackmailing him with [[spoiler:the ''Red October'' incident]].
** Zhang Han San not only instigates conflicts between the United States and various other countries without putting China in direct confrontation in ''Debt of Honor'' and ''Executive Orders'', but is also the [[ManBehindTheMan puppeteer behind Premier Xu]] in ''The Bear and the Dragon''. [[spoiler: He's too smart for his own good, though, as his machinations, while not explicitly discovered until ''The Bear and the Dragon'', are mostly inferred, and China is punished for it.]]
* ChinaTakesOverTheWorld: The premise of ''The Bear and the Dragon''.
* ChineseWithChopperSupport: The PLA appeared in ''The Bear and the Dragon'', but they notably don't use choppers very much.
* ChurchMilitant: Daryaei uses religion as a pretense for creating the UIR and threatening their neighboring states, intending to bring all of the world (or as much of it as he can) under the rule of Shi'a.
* {{CIA}}
* CodeName
* CoitusUninterruptus: In ''The Cardinal of the Kremlin'', Ed and Mary Pat Foley know that their apartment is bugged by the KGB. This does not seem to have an adverse effect on their sex life, and they even seem to get a thrill out of having sex while the KGB listens.
* ColdSniper: Played straight, inverted, and {{deconstructed}} in different novels.
* ColdWar: The setting for the series up to ''The Sum of All Fears''. Elizabeth Eliot and President Fowler (especially the former) tend to dismiss Ryan Sr as a "cold warrior", setting up for the climax scenario toward the end of the book.
* CombatPragmatist: Consistently present throughout all of the novels. In the words of several of the commanders in various books, "'Fair' means that I bring all of my men back home alive. Fuck the others."
* CommieLand:
** The USSR itself serves as the setting for some scenes, with a significant focus in ''The Cardinal in the Kremlin''. Some other scenes throughout the series occur in Soviet client states.
** The Peoples Republic of China, in ''The Bear and the Dragon'', gets a good bit of focus, as the main antagonists of the book.
* ContinuityNod: All over the novels and some of the games.
* ContrivedCoincidence: See the entry on that page. In general, lots of what gets the plot moving depends on either someone having a change of heart at the right moment, such as [[spoiler:Popov spilling the beans entirely to Clark about Horizon's goals in ''Rainbow Six'', and Team-2 just happening to be at the Sydney Olympics at the time]], or someone making a discovery that went ignored by everyone else just in the nick of time. To be fair, much of this is justified since it's uncovered by analysts who are doing what they're paid for.
* CoolBoat: You might think every US naval vessel was this, given the amount of loving description Clancy visits on them. The ''Red October'' is a straight example, with its unique silent propulsion system.
* CorruptCorporateExecutive:
** [[spoiler:John Brightling and co.]] in ''Rainbow Six''. They are also [[AnimalWrongsGroup militant environmentalists]] who seek to achieve the [[KillAllHumans near extinction of the human race]].
** [[spoiler:Raizo Yamata]], in ''Debt of Honor'', uses his wealth and influence to engineer a conflict between Japan and the United States.
* CrazyPrepared: The U.S. military, which makes plans for literally every conceivable military scenario. Probably TruthInTelevision. To keep things interesting, a spanner is usually thrown in the works to keep them from being overpowering (The Navy is too drawn down to effectively fight Japan, a biological attack renders most of the US Army unable to deploy, their own supply line to the front is a single train-track, etc).
* CrushingHandshake: Skip Tyler, Jack Ryan's good friend, was described as giving overly powerful handshakes of the DoesNotKnowHisOwnStrength variety.
* CurbStompBattle: American military forces versus just about anybody else, from ''Debt of Honor'' onwards. Clark and Chavez versus their various opponents.
* DatingWhatDaddyHates: It's mentioned a few times that Cathy Ryan's father has never forgiven Jack for quitting his financial sector job to become a teacher (and later a CIA analyst).
* DeathFromAbove: The Joint Stand-Off Weapon "Smart Pig," as the Chinese 29th Type A Group Army find out to their misfortune in ''The Bear and the Dragon''.
* DeepCoverAgent: [[spoiler:Special Agent Aref Raman, US Secret Service]], actually a long-term sleeper agent for the Iranians who was inserted into the US as a teenaged "refugee" and spent circa 15 years becoming a naturalized citizen, maintaining an absolutely perfect All-American profile, all so he could work himself into a position of trust standing right next to the President every day. He is one of several sleeper agents similarly placed in the protection details of world leaders; the plot of the novel gets moving when the President of Iraq is assassinated by the one in ''his'' bodyguard contingent.
* DefeatMeansFriendship: One of the rare examples of this trope occurring on a national level, as the post-Cold War period eventually ends up with America's foremost strategic partner being ''Russia''.
* DefectorFromCommieLand: Used in ''Red Rabbit'', ''The Hunt for Red October'', and ''The Cardinal of the Kremlin''.
* DirtyCommunists: Played more or less straight until ''The Cardinal of the Kremlin'', but completely turned on its head afterwards, to the point where the Russian Federation actually becomes a NATO member nation in ''The Bear and the Dragon''.
* DiscussedTrope: Clancy loves to discuss the tropes related to RealityIsUnrealistic, largely via characters commenting on how people expect various aspects of police and spycraft to work because they saw it in a movie.
* DoABarrelRoll: The "Crazy Ivan" maneuver in ''The Hunt For Red October''.
* {{Doorstopper}}: With a few exceptions like ''The Hunt for Red October'' and ''Red Rabbit'', Ryanverse novels tend to be on the long side.
* DramaBomb: See WhamEpisode, below.
* DrivesLikeCrazy:
** Intentionally invoked by terrorists in ''Rainbow Six'' to (unsuccessfully) discourage pursuit.
** Robby Jackson has a tendency to handle his car with the same... panache, you might say, as he does his F-14.
* DroppedABridgeOnHim:
** [[spoiler:Robby Jackson]], between ''The Bear and the Dragon'' and ''Teeth of the Tiger''.
** Also applies to [[spoiler:Bob Ritter, who was an important character in the early Jack Ryan novels until he resigned from the CIA at the end of ''Clear and Present Danger''. In ''Dead or Alive'' it's mentioned that Bob Ritter died of cancer a few years prior.]]
* DrugsAreBad: ''Without Remorse'', although the drug dealers in question were also engaged in prostitution and a number of other nasty things. Played straight when Ryan asks for a Presidential pardon for Clark and as soon as he mentions that the people Clark murdered were drug dealers, it's a slam dunk.
* DumbMuscle: Occasionally invoked by government officials regarding their bodyguards/[=SPOs=]. They (and the Marines) are usually characterized as "knuckle draggers," though in the case of the Secret Service, most if not all of them have at least a college degree and, in the case of Andrea Price, a Masters.
* {{Eagleland}}: The first flavor, although both versions are [[DiscussedTrope discussed]] frequently. More specifically, Clancy generally differentiates between the types, generally casting the 'good guys' as Type 1, and Type 2s are generally frowned upon, to say the least.
* EliteArmy: Generally invoked regarding the United States armed forces. Gennady Bondarenko's main reason for visiting the National Training Center in ''Executive Orders'' is because he wants to learn from the Americans how to transform the Russian Army (ex Red Army) from ZergRush into this.
* EvilCounterpart: The Ghost Ship is this to The Campus.
* EveryBulletIsATracer: {{Averted}}, unsurprisingly. When tracers are used (particularly in the miniguns on the Pave Low helicopters in ''Clear and Present Danger''), it's specifically mentioned that only one out of X bullets is a tracer round, for the purposes of assisting with aim[[labelnote:*]]miniguns aren't equipped with sights, as they're for area denial and not precision shooting[[/labelnote]]. Given [[GatlingGood minigun]] [[MoreDakka rate of fire]], it's also mentioned that it looks like a laser beam at full "rock and roll".
* EveryCarIsAPinto: {{Lampshaded}} and inverted in ''Debt of Honor'' -- real cars don't blow up in normal crashes, and the fact that this happened was a clue to a major safety defect in Japanese cars, which precipitates an economic crisis that in turn escalates to a shooting war.
* {{Expy}}:
** Gennady Iosefovich Bondarenko, who, in an inversion from the two above, is an expy of General Alekseyev.
** Although Tom Clancy has never confirmed it, most readers believe that the character of Ed Kealty is an expy of real life US Senator Ted Kennedy. Both of them are Democratic senators from New England, both of them have liberal political views, both come from wealthy families, and both have been involved in sex scandals.
** General Secretary of the CPSU Andrey Ily'ch Narmonov is a very obvious expy of Mikhail Gorbachev.
** The Emir is an obvious expy of Osama Bin Laden.
** The Iraqi president who is assassinated near the beginning of ''Executive Orders'' is not explicity stated to be Saddam Hussein, but the similarities are too numerous to be coincidence.
* FailureIsTheOnlyOption: Scott Adler's negotiation sessions with America's enemies always inevitably fail despite his skill; they have to, otherwise the United States military wouldn't get the chance to strut their stuff.
* FakeDefector: Ryan himself does this in ''Cardinal of the Kremlin''. Part of the reason why it works is because KGB has identified him as a part of the Intelligence Directorate, which is populated by desk weenies with no experience out in the field.
* FakingTheDead:
** John Kelly does this at the end of ''Without Remorse'' in order to evade arrest for murdering so many drug dealers; the spectacular nature of his boat capsizing also results in [[NeverFoundTheBody his corpse not being recovered]], though this isn't particularly uncommon for deaths at sea. He also has help from the CIA in replacing his fingerprint records, and continues to live as John Clark even after his Presidential pardon between ''Executive Orders'' and ''Rainbow Six''.
** This is also done in ''Red Rabbit'' to fake [[spoiler:the Zaitsev family's]] deaths from fire. Considerable effort is spent obtaining corpses that died from smoke inhlation, as well as rendering differing features unrecognizable.
* FalseFlagOperation: Major plot points in ''Clear and Present Danger'' (by the United States), ''The Sum of All Fears'' (by the Arab terrorists), ''The Bear and the Dragon'' (by China), and present in several other books.
* FeedTheMole:
** Used in several of the novels. In particular, the "canary trap" is a tool used by CIA to identify possible leakers by producing several slightly different copies of the same document, and using that to identify which copy is being leaked and narrow down the possible suspects.
** ''The Hunt for Red October'' takes Agent CASSIUS, one of KGB's longtime moles on the Hill, and feeds him information to camouflage the CIA operation to hijack the eponymous submarine. The disinformation about ''Red October'' then becomes a ChekhovsGun in ''The Cardinal of the Kremlin''.
** ''Without Remorse'' uses the same idea, spreading different versions of the same information to several possible leakers, which ends up identifying Wally Hicks for subsequent elimination due to his part in burning the Boxwood Green rescue mission.
** ''Debt of Honor'' actually uses this trope tactically, unlike the above examples. The mole, Chris Cook, is fed information that causes Japan to shift their defensive dispositions in anticipation of a possible NavalBlockade of the Home Islands, which ends up [[spoiler:leaving Saipan and Guam wide open for a naval carrier strike]].
** In the same novel, it's also used with the press for the same purpose in conjunction with the above. Because the news networks have to report the news that Pacific Fleet's only two aircraft carriers have been crippled, Ryan takes the opportunity to press-gang them into continuing to report that the repairs will take months, while [[spoiler:''John Stennis'' has her propeller drive put back in order with temporary repairs within a week]].
* {{Gaslighting}}: Used as an interrogation technique by the KGB in ''The Cardinal of the Kremlin''.
* GeniusBruiser: John Kelly is, by most standards, a physically imposing man, and has demonstrated his strength multiple times, but, despite having only a high-school level education, has impressive analytical ability and can think on his feet (which is what prompted Ritter to hire him). During his tour in Vietnam, he was nominated for Officer Candidate School on at least three separate occasions, and has since then garnered enough knowledge to discuss subjects with ''college professors'' in their areas of expertise. By ''Rainbow Six'', he holds the rank of a simulated Major General.
* GenreSavvy: John Clark is this. He even frequently lampshades it.
* GetOutOfJailFreeCard:
** John Clark gets one when the President of the United States pardons him.
** It goes UpToEleven in ''The Teeth of the Tiger'', in which the ex-President has issued preemptive pardons to all of the Black Ops operatives with blanks for names, dates, and offenses committed. The dubious legality of this is lampshaded by the man in charge.
* GuyInBack: Featured in several novels, including Robby Jackson's RIO[[labelnote:*]]Radar Intercept Officer[[/labelnote]] in ''The Hunt for Red October'', who's severely injured by a missile fired by a hotheaded Soviet pilot with wounded pride from an earlier encounter with US forces.
* HappilyMarried: Jack and Cathy Ryan, Robbie and Cecilia Jackson.
* HelicopterBlender: {{Lampshaded}} and averted in ''Rainbow Six''.
* HistoricalDomainCharacter:
** Oleg Penkovskiy, among others, is said to have been the one who recruited Mikhail Semyonovich Filitov, the titular spy of ''The Cardinal in the Kremlin''.
** Vo Nguyen Giap makes an appearance in ''Without Remorse'', being one of the officers involved in [[spoiler:belaying the orders to kill the American prisoners of war at Sender Green after the failed rescue attempt]].
** Yuri Andropov, Leonid Brezhnev, and a few others from the real USSR Politburo play a major role in ''Red Rabbit''. Similarly, [[ThePope Pope John Paul II]] appears as well.
* HoistByHisOwnPetard: Former Vice President Ed Kealty near the end of ''Executive Orders''. In order to counter President [[spoiler:Ryan's]] executive order quarantining America in the face of an Ebola epidemic, he files a suit to have the order vacated due to violating the Constitution. Unfortunately for him, by having the court refer to the President by name and office, he effectively kills his own claim for the Presidency [[spoiler:until ''Teeth of the Tiger'']].
** YouFailLawForever: Not only was the issue not being litigated in that case, thus precluding a ruling on the merits, but plaintiffs in civil suits are allowed to advance contradictory theories in court (pleading in the alternative). Funnily enough, after making two legal errors for the price of one, Clancy has another character call Kealty "a bad lawyer."
* HonestCorporateExecutive: In ''Debt of Honor'', Founder/Chairman of the Columbus Group of mutual funds George Winston is practically a saint, as are most of the Wall Street executives in the story[[note]]Or rather, he's just honest and doesn't cheat or use insider information when trading. It doesn't qualify him for sainthood, but he makes a point that honesty in financial dealings is important because corruption is far too easy to discover, and incredibly irresponsible[[/note]].
* HotSubOnSubAction: More subs attack each other in Clancy's novels than in the entire history of naval warfare. On the other hand, most of these novels are premised on the ColdWar heating up a bit, so it's entirely justified: after the '60s, that kind of sub-to-sub combat was not only possible but likely given that NATO and Warsaw Pact subs were constantly on one another's tails.
* HumiliationConga: This is more or less what happens to Torajiro Sato at the end of ''Debt of Honor''. Not only content with having the Americans win at the end of the book, Clancy subjects Sato to several consecutive traumatic experiences, all in more or less the same day. [[spoiler:First he watches his brother drown when ''USS Tennessee'' plants two torpedoes in his Aegis destroyer, then he has to identify his son's body immediately after the Americans destroy most of Saipan's fighters, then he watches as Robby Jackson lands on the island to request a surrender, then he has to fly his retreating countrymen back to Japan, including Yamata, who has been arrested, and ''then'' he comes to the realization that flying passengers to and from a Japan that has lost its honor in a war is all that remains of the rest of his life]]. This ultimately culminates with Sato [[spoiler:parking his 747 on top of Capitol Hill, with most of the United States government in it]].
* IAmNotLeftHanded: When the North Carolina National Guard goes to the NTC for training exercises against the 11th ACR, they don't let on that they have IVIS training. Regular Army units go to the NTC and get their asses handed to them in engagement after engagement (that's the point). The National Guard detachment completely decimates the 11th in their ''first'' engagement. The General in charge of the NTC is ''not'' happy with him men.
* IKEAErotica: His first fullblown description in ''The Bear and the Dragon'' was mediocre, and that's being charitable.
* IncendiaryExponent: Filitov's last heroic feat in WW2 was, after his tank was set ablaze by a German round, to stay inside and ''shoot back at the tank'' while on fire, and then continue to lead his regiment for several more days without medical treatment. Of course, his right arm does end up becoming next to useless due to this.
* InItsHourOfNeed: In ''The Bear and the Dragon'', Ryan chooses to stay in Washington, DC rather than flee to safety after the Chinese [[spoiler:launch their one remaining nuclear missile at the city]]. He points out that this is really, really stupid, while he's doing it, and gets incredibly drunk afterwards to try to forget the horror.
* {{Interquel}}: ''Red Rabbit'' takes place between ''Patriot Games'' and ''The Hunt for Red October''.
* InterserviceRivalry: All over the place. CIA vs. FBI, FBI vs. Secret Service, KGB vs. GRU, etc.
* IssueDrift: The [=RyanVerse=] novels have grown more politically focused over time, reflecting Clancy's conservative (and occasionally libertarian) viewpoints.
* ItWontTurnOff: Subverted in ''Debt of Honor'' -- a Japanese executive's television is confused by the infrared signal of a spotting laser used by a Comanche attack helicopter to guide a missile into his apartment.
* ItWorksBetterWithBullets: Subverted in ''Executive Orders'', as a suspected assassin is tricked by having his gun's ammunition switched with duds, rather than blanks or left empty as one might expect. This is done because, as a professional bodyguard, he'd immediately recognize the difference in weight.
* IWantMyBelovedToBeFashionable: In ''Patriot Games'', Cathy Ryan has Jack buy some rather nice English suits. It's extended on and commented on throughout many of the subsequent novels.
* JackBauerInterrogationTechnique: John Clark uses this a lot, particularly in ''Without Remorse'' and ''The Sum of all Fears''; in the latter it's also a case of MutilationInterrogation, and it fails in that the bad guys were planning all along to lie under interrogation to [[FalseFlagOperation falsely implicate]] Iran in their bomb plot.
** Either subverted or played straight, depending on which side the torturer's on. In ''Without Remorse,'' the Vietnamese attempts to torture Americans are criticized as proof of their savage stupidity by a Russian interrogator who uses sympathy to bond with the prisoners and get them to spill the beans much more efficiently. When Clark does it, however, it usually works just fine (though he is not interrogating soldiers, and usually offers false hope).
* JapanTakesOverTheWorld: In ''Debt of Honor'', a CorruptCorporateExecutive and his patsy Prime Minister conspire to get Japan to pull the same gambit it tried in WorldWarTwo.
* JustInTime: Subverted in ''Red Rabbit''. Ryan manages to successfully stop Boris Strokov right before the assassination attempt... only to [[spoiler:have the Turkish gunman shoot ThePope and be apprehended]]. Though considering that [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pope_John_Paul_II_assassination_attempt it's based on the actual event...]]
* KaijuDefenseForce: in ''Debt of Honor''. Many of them are portrayed sympathetically.
* KansasCityShuffle: The CIA's plan to fool the Soviet Navy in ''The Hunt for Red October'' is based on convincing them that their cover story (that Ramius was framed by a plant) is true by acting as if they too are baffled by the events and conducting massive inquiries.
* KavorkaMan: Senator (and later Vice President) Edward Kealty, to the point that he drugged and raped at least two of his aides, and only escapes conviction due to political maneuvering.
** Whether or not he actually raped anyone is up for debate: he presents the defense that he was sharing booze with a girl who had a bad reaction to it, because of her anti-depressants, and hands over a letter that she apparently wrote before her suicide exonerating him. However, his chief of staff berates him when the issue initially explodes by saying "When are you going to learn that 'no' doesn't mean 'maybe later'?"
* KickedUpstairs: Jack Ryan, in ''Debt of Honor'', but actually subverted in that the reason he gets nominated for Vice President is because he himself wants out of the government, and being VP means he can never be recalled to government service again. Naturally, that doesn't work quite as planned.
* KillSat: The U.S. missile defense system in ''The Cardinal of the Kremlin'' works by means of bouncing a laser beam off of orbital mirrors.
* LaserGuidedKarma: In ''Executive Orders'' [[spoiler:Ayatollah Daryaei is ''literally'' taken out by some laser-guided karma.]]
* LeaveBehindAPistol:
** Subverted in ''Debt of Honor'', when Raizo Yamata asks for an opportunity to commit {{seppuku}}, but is refused.
* MakeItLookLikeAnAccident:
** [[InvokedTrope Invoked]] by a Navy doctor in ''The Hunt for Red October'', when a KGB agent thinks it's a good idea to break out a cigarette and lighter next to a patient who's on 100% oxygen. The KGB agent admits that he did not properly understand the danger.
** The assassination of the Premier of Turkmenistan by Daryaei's agents was done this way in ''Executive Orders'' to force elections to replace him with someone who would be friendly to the [=UIR=].
** The [=MO=] of the Caruso brothers in ''Teeth of the Tiger''. The poor sap who gets run over by the streetcar dies this way.
* TheManBehindTheMan:
** Raizo Yamata (and a lot of other major Japanese businessmen) are the sponsors behind all of the ministers of the Japanese government, who largely act as puppets for them in ''Debt of Honor''. In particular, Hirosho Goto, the Prime Minister who succeeds Koga, was chosen by Yamata mainly for his weaknesses so that he would be easy to manipulate.
** Zhang Han San is this to Premier Xu in ''The Bear and the Dragon''.
* ManlyTears: Both Ryan and Clark aren't afraid to cry when they need to; [[spoiler:Ryan when he promises to take care of Zimmer's family for him, Kelly upon realization that Pam lied to protect him to the very end, Clark upon meeting Oreza twenty years after faking his own death, both Clark and Chavez upon the birth of John Conor Chavez.]]
* MiddleEasternCoalition: Iran forms this with Iraq and attempts to expand it to include others forcibly in ''Executive Orders''.
* MnogoNukes:
** In the main crisis of ''The Sum of All Fears'', the Soviet's nuclear arsenal becomes a major issue, given unconfirmed rumors that some of their warheads have gone missing.
** The destruction of the last of the USSR's [=ICBMs=] is a plot point in ''Debt of Honor''.
* MoscowCentre: A majority of Clancy's fictional works involve the KGB or its successors. Until the last few Ryanverse novels, people of MoscowCentre were always cast as the antagonists, though infrequently as outright villains.
* UsefulNotes/MoscowMetro: Featured in ''The Cardinal of the Kremlin''.
* MySecretPregnancy: An occurrence of this due to family planning laws sets off the principal conflict in ''The Bear and the Dragon''.
* MythologyGag:
** A minor one. In the beginning of ''Debt of Honor'', Ron Jones quips to his former CO, now-Rear Admiral Bart Mancuso, that ''USS Chicago'' is currently in the Arctic Ocean tracking whales. In ''Literature/RedStormRising'', ''Chicago'' was the boat commanded by Mancuso's {{Expy}} Dan [=McCafferty=], who at one point asks his sonarman to report some anomalous contacts as they are traversing the Arctic Ocean on their way to conduct attacks on Soviet air bases... which turn out to be whales.
** Later in the same book, Ron Jones talks about his past experience in an exercise against the USS Moosbrugger at [=AUTEC=] in a conversation when talking about how to defeat the Prairie-Masker surface sound-masking system, and briefly mentions that Moosbrugger's helicopter pilot was giving Dallas's crew fits. In ''Literature/RedStormRising'', Ed Morris's helicopter pilot on ''Reuben James'', Jerry "the Hammer" O'Malley, was formerly the chopper pilot for Moosbrugger.
* NavalBlockade: Japan is made to believe there's going to be one (see FeedTheMole) to get them to redeploy their forces to combat it.
* TheNewRussia: From ''The Bear and the Dragon'' onward, Russia is friendly with the US, even being brought into NATO.
* NiceJobFixingItVillain: In ''Executive Orders'', the Mountain Men subplot involves some domestic terrorists intent on exploding a truck bomb at the White House. Iran's biowarfare attack, however, causes a travel lockdown that [[spoiler:keeps them penned up at a motel long enough for them to get caught]]. It may come across as a ShaggyDogStory but the moral is that evil sometimes defeats itself. There's some {{irony}} here as well, in that Daryaei himself laments near the beginning that if only all of these plotters would ''coordinate'' with each other, they'd be more successful.
* NoPartyGiven:
** Trent and Fellows's parties are not explicitly named, even though it's quite obvious that Trent is a liberal and Fellows is a conservative. Ditto for Fowler and Durling, who belong to the same party as Fellows.
** Ryan himself claims no particular party, until [[spoiler:he runs again for the Presidency as a Republican]] in ''Locked On''.
* NothingIsScarier: In ''The Cardinal of the Kremlin'' the [=KGB=] uses a sensory deprivation device to interrogate a Russian woman who is spying for the Americans. The device works by depriving her of all sensory input (no sight, no sound, no smell, no touch), and since the human brain is conditioned to expect some kind of sensory input at all times, the experience causes her to react with stark, unreasoning terror. She tells her captors everything just to make it stop.
* {{NSA}}: The NSA features from time to time, and plays a part in the problems in ''The Sum of All Fears'' due to questions about its communications security.
* ANuclearError: Averted; Clancy's discussion of the political conditions surrounding the deployment of nuclear weapons is very accurate.
* NumberOfTheBeast:
** The Taiwanese airliner that gets hit with a missile in ''Executive Orders'' bears 666 as its flight number.
** The operation number for the KGB operation to assassinate John Paul II in ''Red Rabbit'' is classified as "operation 666" and is actually commented upon.
* ObfuscatingStupidity: Nobody suspects that Ed Foley is a CIA field agent because he deliberately pretends to be a lot dumber than he really is (it's even mentioned that he's received the highest compliment a spy can get: "That guy's not smart enough to be a spy."). This trope also applies to his wife, Mary Pat, who acts like a ditzy bimbo so that nobody will suspect her.
* OddFriendship: Representatives Alan Trent (a gay Democrat from Massachusetts) and Sam Fellows (a Mormon Republican from Arizona), both members of the House Select Intelligence Committee, who were introduced in ''The Cardinal of the Kremlin''. Later in the series, the oddness of the friendship is explicitly commented upon.
* OnlyAFleshWound: Often averted. Gunshot wounds incapacitate and kill or nearly kill several protagonists.
* OnlySaneMan - Arnold van Damm seems to serve as one for Jack Ryan, especially in regards to toning down Jack's idealism by tempering it with knowledge the real world is not nearly as ideal. May even serve as a meta example by lampshading how Clancy's own views, even in his own literary universe, don't completely work out as they were intended.
* OurPresidentsAreDifferent - [[spoiler:Jack Ryan]] seems to be a mix of President Iron and Personable, whereas [[spoiler:Ed Kealty]] is shown as President Playboy, Scheming, and Strawman. Incidentally, between ''Executive Orders'' and ''The Bear and the Dragon'', [[spoiler:Ryan's election platform largely comes off as selling himself as Jack Ryan, Regular Guy]].
* PayEvilUntoEvil: ''Without Remorse'', ''Teeth of the Tiger'', and ''Dead or Alive'' are largely about this.
* PeaceThroughSuperiorFirepower: The American military arsenal is described in lavish, loving detail.
* PerfectPoison: The succinylcholine used in ''Teeth of the Tiger''. It kills by simulating a heart attack via muscular paralysis, and is rapidly eliminated from the bloodstream, leaving no traces of what killed its victim.
* PermissionToSpeakFreely: Admiral Jackson uses this phrase in ''Executive Orders'' to warn the new Secretary of Defense Tony Bretano about the reason that Vice Chief of Naval Operations Bruno [=DeMarco=] was appointed to the position, as he was promoted to CNO after the Capitol Hill disaster. Bretano takes this advice to heart later and dismisses him when he refuses an operational order, with Jackson in the room at the time no less.
* PinkMist: Clancy, for all your realistically gory headshot descriptions. This is especially prevalent in ''Rainbow Six'', though realistic in that counter-terrorists are always trained to go for the head.
* ThePlotReaper: How a certain AuthorStandIn [[spoiler:gets to be President at the end of ''Debt of Honor'']].
* {{Prequel}}: ''Without Remorse'', ''Patriot Games'', and ''Red Rabbit''. ''Patriot Games'' was published after ''The Hunt For Red October,'' which mentions Ryan's heroics at the beginning of that book in passing. It also includes in throwaway dialogue the insider trading deal that Ryan is investigated for in ''The Cardinal of the Kremlin'' [[spoiler:to get the Russians to try and turn him]], and used as part of a smear campaign against him in ''The Sum of All Fears.'' ''Red Rabbit'' takes place in between ''Patriot Games'' and ''The Hunt for Red October'' when Ryan is living in London and working as a CIA liaison.
* ThePresidentsDaughter: [[spoiler:Katie Ryan]] is captured, albeit briefly, by terrorists in ''Executive Orders''.
* PrettyInMink: Cathy Ryan has a mink coat she wears to some political galas.
* PsychoLesbian: ''The Cardinal of the Kremlin'' features a American female rocket scientist who essentially hands her male co-worker over to [[MoscowCentre the KGB]] in order to (clumsily) attempt to [[ComfortingTheWidow seduce the guy's fiancee]].
* {{Qurac}}: Surprisingly, given the subject matter, Averted. Clancy seems fairly cognizant of the region and its people. In Debt of Honor, he mentions that Iraq can get pretty cold in the winter.
* RedScare
* RememberWhenYouBlewUpASun: Done with both Clark and Ryan (and to a lesser extent, Ding Chavez). For Ryan, few will ever pass up the opportunity to remark upon the time he dealt with the ULA invasion of his home in ''Patriot Games''. Clark's list is rather longer, ranging from [[spoiler:picking up KGB Chairman Gerasimov's family in ''Cardinal of the Kremlin'', to rescuing former Japanese Prime Minister Koga in ''Debt of Honor'', to guiding the bombs to kill Ayatollah Daryaei in ''Executive Orders'']].
* ReportingNames
* ResetButton: This appears to have been pushed, as noted above in the UsefulNotes/ArabIsraeliConflict entry, in the two most recent Ryanverse books, ''Teeth of the Tiger'' and ''Dead or Alive'' (much more obviously so in the latter case, since in order to be able to incorporate 9/11 and the Afghanistan and Iraq wars into his plot, Clancy pretty much had to do away with the events of ''Executive Orders''. This also applies to the US/Russian relationship.)
* RichBitch: The Prime Minister of India in ''Executive Orders''.
* RightManInTheWrongPlace: Jack Ryan on several occasions -- as he points out, he's an intelligence ''analyst'', not a spy, but keeps getting forced into the role by being on the spot.
* RightWingMilitiaFanatic: Used as throwaway villains in the "Mountain Men" subplot of ''Executive Orders''.
* RoaringRampageOfRevenge: Clark ''lives'' off of this trope in ''Without Remorse''.
** The fancy "see people through walls" devices used in ''Rainbow Six'' were based on a fraudulent device shown off in a rigged demo to the US Army that Clancy had heard about (before the fraudulent part was discovered).
** Comanche helicopters with stealth technology built in are used in special operations against Japan in ''Debt of Honor'' before the project was canceled by the second Bush administration (although, only ''three'' helicopters are used, and they are explicitly in testing before being called into service, so it's possible that they're prototypes).
** The 'Star Wars' missile defense system that is at the center of the plot in 'The Cardinal Of The Kremlin' was cancelled before even reaching the prototype phase. This gets {{lampshaded}} in a later book.
** Another missile defense note, this one from ''The Bear and the Dragon''(2000) [[spoiler:The climactic terminal-phase intercept of the Chinese ICBM heading for Washington D.C. was somewhat conceivable in the late 1990s when the subject was being kicked around (and the book was written). A decade later, terminal-phase ICBM intercept has been banished from US National Missile Defense development.]]
** Also from ''The Bear and the Dragon'' [[spoiler:As of the mid-2000s, the Chinese nuclear arsenal had grown hugely in sophistication, numbers and mobility (specifically solid-fuel road-mobile ICBM's that can fire on virtually no notice) from what Clancy describes as a viable special operations target.]]
* SemperFi: Jack Ryan is a former Marine.
* ShootOutTheLock: Defied -- in several novels it's pointed out that this does ''not'' work in real life. In most cases, the shooter has to use several more bullets and messily destroy the lock mechanism to open the door.
* ShownTheirWork: Considering that Clancy was an insurance salesman with no prior military experience before becoming an author, a lot of the details included in his works (particularly the earlier books, before he started licensing his own name out to other authors), gained from purely open sources, occasionally to the discomfort of government agencies whose job is to protect classified information that he inadvertently managed to derive from publicly available information. In fact, the descriptions of submarine warfare in ''The Hunt For Red October'' are so realistic that it has become one of the only fictional works to appear on the U.S. Naval Academy's recommended reading list.
* ShrineToSelf: Several military characters are shown to have this attitude. It's called the "I Love Me" wall.
* TheSmartGuy:
** Ron Jones, from his first appearance in ''Red October'', is characterized as one of these; by ''Sum of All Fears'' has a doctorate from [=CalTech=], and continues to prove his smartness well into ''Debt of Honor''.
** Major Al Gregory from ''Cardinal of the Kremlin'' is also one of these.
* SmokingIsCool: Largely averted. While Ryan was a former smoker (and occasionally fell back into the habit after [[spoiler:becoming President]]), most of the actual badasses don't smoke, with the US Army Rangers and Rainbow being specifically singled out at various times. The occasional military personnel does smoke, but Clancy makes it fairly clear that they do so as a stress reliever.
* SmugSnake: Quite a few villains fall into this category, including the Prime Minister of India, the drug dealers in ''Without Remorse'', the leader of Iran in ''Executive Orders'', etc.
* SociopathicSoldier: Soviet KGB troops tend to get this treatment, as distinct from the Red Army's soldiers. Even the Red Army soldiers show their disdain for their green-shoulder-board-wearing comrades. This is TruthInTelevision; following Stalin's use of the KGB to purge the ranks of the Red Army, many soldiers in the Red Army viewed the KGB with distrust and suspicion.
* SovietInvasionOfAfghanistan: Featured in ''The Cardinal of the Kremlin''.
* TheSpymaster: Bob Ritter is the CIA's Director of Operations, meaning that he is the man who oversees all of the CIA's human intelligence assets and field operations.
* SpyCouple: Ed and Mary Pat Foley.
* SpyFiction: The Stale Beer variety. Given a LampshadeHanging on multiple occasions by John Clark. "Larson, [[LeaningOnTheFourthWall if this were a movie]], you'd be a blonde with big tits and a loose blouse." In TheFilmOfTheBook, the above is averted.
* SpySchool: Several references are made throughout the series to "The Farm", a CIA training facility in Virginia[[note]]Specifically, Camp Peary. For obvious reasons, the CIA has never confirmed, denied or spoken about the existence of a CIA training facility there[[/note]]. In some of the latter books Clark is shown teaching some classes there.
* StatusQuoIsGod: Fought tooth and nail, but ultimately victorious in favor of real world progression. Many of Jack Ryan's, and others', accomplishments are undone or nullified within the next book or two.
** In ''Executive Orders'', Saddam Hussein is assassinated and his top generals tuck tail and run, allowing Iran to take over and form the United Islamic Republic. By the time the inevitable war rolls around, the UIR is forming ties with many other would-be member states. But at the conclusion of the novel, Iran and Iraq split perfectly into their pre-union borders and no mention of Islamic unification is ever made again.
** In ''Debt of Honor'', Japan and America go from traditional allies to being at war, ending with America victorious and both countries back to being BFF in the next book. After [[spoiler:Jack Ryan]] ascends to the presidency, he makes several changes to policy, including how to prosecute the War on Drugs, simplifying the tax code, encouraging common people to aspire to Congress as opposed to traditional politician, and so on. By ''The Bear and the Dragon'', those common people he helped elect are becoming more and more influenced by the Washington power culture and forgetting their roots. And by ''Teeth of the Tiger'', almost all of his revolutionary policies have either been nullified or blunted by the next president, despite their overwhelming popularity.
** A good chunk of the plot of ''A Sum of All Fears'' is devoted to a plan to achieve peace in the Middle East. Jack Ryan devises a plan that brings together many of the world's foremost Christian, Jewish, and Muslim leaders to form the Jerusalem Treaty, which holds even through the largest Islamic terrorist event in history. However, a few throwaway lines in ''Teeth of the Tiger'' mention that the treaty eventually fell apart and things went back to the status quo.
** The whole point of ''Cardinal of the Kremlin'' is America's efforts to get a hold of the Russian plans for an anti-ballistic missile laser weapon while keeping the Russians from getting the American plans for a similar system (and vice versa from the perspective of the Russians). In ''The Bear and the Dragon'', it gets mentioned that despite the info the CIA provided on the Russian system, they were never able to build a laser powerful enough to shoot down [=ICBM=]s, allowing the Chinese nuclear arsenal to remain a threat.
** A major plot point in ''The Bear and the Dragon'' is the CIA was able to get access to the private records of a Chinese Politboro member about what went on in their meetings, allowing them to know what China's leadership decided on in their meetings within a day of them making the decisions. In ''Threat Vector'' it gets mentioned that the Politboro member in question died a few months after the events of that book, rendering their source useless and leaving the US government in the dark as to what the new Chinese Politboro is up to.
** In ''The Bear and the Dragon'' Russia becomes a NATO member and has acquired the resources to attempt to revitalize their economy and bring their nation into the 21st century. In ''Command Decision'', Russia is still a mess, and Grushavoy's successor withdraws from NATO and starts on a plan to revert Russia back into the USSR.
* StrawmanPolitical: Clancy makes regular use of strawman liberals, pacifists, and environmentalists throughout his novels. The rare aversions (such as Arnie van Damm) are generally refreshingly honest and as even-handed as one might expect.
* StupidEvil:
** The Chinese Politburo practically ''lives'' this trope. Zhang Han San's racism prevents him from ever apologizing and so the Politburo launch a self-destructive war.
*** Even more, while some of the ministers speak out against the coming war, and try to pursue a more realistic course of action, when the time comes to vote on starting the war, they ''all'' vote for it, despite only three of them actually wanting it, out of fear of ''not'' voting for it and therefore standing out.
** General Peng Xi-Wang too. You can tell him that moving forward to the scout detachment of his division is a crap idea and that he is too important as a theatre commander to risk his life that way. Peng doesn't care, he's going to show off. [[spoiler: Take a wild guess what happens next...]]
** Yamata as well, in ''Debt of Honor'': He orchestrates a ''brilliant'' financial maneuver, taking advantage of electronic trading systems to absolutely devastate the American economy in a matter of hours and severely devalue the US Dollar. This is an excellent move and works perfectly. Where he screws up is that he can't leave it at that, and purposely garbles the records of the transactions for the frenzied trading that crashed the economy. If he hadn't done that, the economy would have remained in freefall, but because he did, [[spoiler: the plan to pretend the crash didn't happen due to a computer error works perfectly in restoring the American economy]]. Ryan himself points out that Yamata over-reached.
* TakeAThirdOption: Much of the setup in ''Debt of Honor'' revolves around [[spoiler:Japan]] launching their systematic attacks on America's financial sectors and military in such a way that any response would not be possible for months or years. Ryan finds a way to sidestep all of these through clever LoopholeAbuse and special operations maneuvering. As President Durling noted when he gave Jack some advice, "I fought in [[TheVietnamWar a war]] where the other side made the rules. It didn't work out very well."
* TakeThat: Clancy takes the opportunity in several of his novels to note that the that none of the things that happen in Creator/IanFleming's ''Literature/JamesBond'' novels would ever pass muster in reality; in Clancy's own words, that Fleming was a ''failed'' British spy. Pot shots are also taken at NBC and environmentalists in ''Executive Orders'' and ''Rainbow Six''. Occasionally, Clancy's author filibusters (see above) can veer into this territory.
* TearYourFaceOff: Clancy is rather fond of this. Multiple books feature somewhat graphic descriptions of a well-placed headshot plastering someone's face against a wall.
* {{Technobabble}}: Clancy's lengthy, loving descriptions of exactly how military technology works can occupy whole chapters. A typical example can be found in ''Sum of All Fears'', where a chapter is given over to describing how a thermonuclear bomb detonates. However, the process is plot-relevant, as the engineer who designed it didn't complete a step needed to ensure the detonation was as powerful as intended, providing a crucial clue that prevents all-out war.
* TechnologyPorn: Lots, especially military technology.
* ThisIsMyNameOnForeign: In ''Debt of Honor'', John Clark attempts to pass himself off as a Russian using the name "Ivan Klerk". When it's pointed out to him that "Klerk" is an extremely uncommon name in Russia, he rationalizes that his grandfather was an Englishman who emigrated to Russia in the '20s and Russified his name.
* ThisIsReality: in ''Executive Orders'', when Ryan fills Arnie van Damm in on his previous adventures in the CIA after they get revealed on national television, Arnie remarks that in a different universe, Jack would be a hero... which he is.
** However, because of the stage that Ryan occupies at the time the revelations come to light, he'll be crucified for it. Which he is.
* ThrowingOutTheScript:
** In ''Executive Orders'', [[spoiler:President]] Ryan is giving a speech at a presidential funeral. Instead of reading the speech written for him, he speaks off the cuff to the children of the deceased president.
** Later, John Plumber stops reading what's on the teleprompter and starts saying what he believes needs to be said instead. (It's not exactly off-the-cuff: he has his alternate speech memorised, but didn't hand it in to be put on the autocue because he knew he wouldn't be allowed to say it. It is from the heart.)
* TitleDrop: Done in most of his novels, with a few exceptions[[note]]''Without Remorse'', ''Cardinal of the Kremlin'' and ''The Bear and the Dragon'' are the only ones that don't[[/note]].
* TookALevelInDumbass: Almost all of Clancy's villains do this at one point or another in most of his books after ''The Sum Of All Fears''.
* TortureAlwaysWorks:
** In ''Cardinal of the Kremlin'', KGB torture techniques are shown in great detail, and rarely do they involve physical abuse. One captured agent breaks from sensory deprivation, and another from sleep deprivation and psychological deception.
** In ''Without Remorse,'' an American airman captured by the North Vietnamese withstands all the torture they inflict on him, but ends up spilling his guts to a Russian officer who comes in, treats him decently, and talks with him about things that he's interested in talking about. Separately, Clark successfully employs a torture method that would probably make [[JackBauerInterrogationTechnique Jack Bauer]] squeamish on a drug dealer.
** In ''The Sum of All Fears'', Clark tortures the masterminds behind the nuclear attack ("It's all in how you work the broken fingers"), but it's subverted in this case: the terrorists give up their information after a relatively long torture session, but they're lying.
* TrainingFromHell: The National Training Center and Negev Training Area in ''Executive Orders''. Marion Diggs, the CO of the NTC, remarks that the training they put American forces through there is deliberately harder than actual combat, and the "Blue Force" almost never wins (one of the units they hosted shortly after Desert Storm, a brigade with actual combat experience, were completely devastated by the [=OpFor=]). If anybody ever does break even against the 11th Cav, they can face down three-to-one odds on the wrong end and still decisively defeat the enemy.
* TwentyFifthAmendment: Invoked in both ''The Sum of all Fears'' and ''Debt of Honor'', for different reasons.
* UnreliableNarrator: Clancy writes a lot of enemy plotting from their POV (as the protagonists rarely meet the antagonists directly). As said enemy plotters are frequently ideological and/or mentally unbalanced, their assessment of an operation can differ radically from what it will or could actually achieve.
* WesternTerrorists: The Mountain Men in ''Executive Orders''.
* WhamEpisode: The final chapter of ''Debt of Honor'', [[spoiler:which ends with a 747 being kamikazed into the Capitol Building. This became HarsherInHindsight after the September 11 terrorist attacks on the U.S.]]
* WhyWeAreBummedCommunismFell: It's discussed in ''Debt of Honor'' (and regretted by Bart Mancuso) that due to the demise of the Soviet Union, the United States Navy was greatly downsized and is incapable of most of the things it was able to do in the past, despite still being able to take on every other navy in the world single-handedly [[spoiler:or at least until ''Stennis'' and ''Enterprise'' are crippled by torpedo attacks]].
* WishFulfillment: When [[spoiler:almost all of Congress is killed at the end of ''Debt of Honor'']], they are replaced by ordinary Americans who just want to get things done.
** In a bit of a subversion, this fails ''spectacularly'' by the time of ''The Bear and the Dragon'', when Arnie Van Damm notes that all the ordinary people started off with noble intentions, but the nature of Washington politics eventually turned them into politicians, just like those they replaced.
* YellowPeril: Tom Clancy loves this:
** ''Debt Of Honor'': Sinister Japanese cabal with Chinese backing, schemes to cripple the world economy, and launch a new war of aggression.
** ''Executive Orders'': Chinese government, [[OddCouple allies with India]], to back radical Islam in terrorism and territorial aggression.
** ''The Bear and the Dragon'': China invades Russia.
* YouHaveOutlivedYourUsefulness:
** Played straight in ''Dead or Alive'' by the terrorist group, who kills all but two people who worked with them while they were setting up for their attacks. The two exceptions are the prostitute hired to provide sex for the group's leader and the woman who was extracting the information from the Yucca Flats employee.
** Subverted in the opposite direction in ''Rainbow Six''. Failing to use this trope with respect to Popov is what gets Horizon Corp's schemes busted.
** Also subverted in ''DebtOfHonor''; the villain hires a programmer to create a computer virus for him. Once the programmer finishes the job the villain considers killing him, but ultimately decides against it because the hacker may have a contingency plan to expose the plot if he's killed.
** It's again played straight in ''The Sum of All Fears'', except that what happened is that the engineers assembling the nuclear bomb hadn't ''quite'' finished installing one critical part, and so when the bomb goes off, it's just a 15 kiloton bomb, as opposed to the 500 kiloton bomb the terrorists were planning.


!!Film adaptations with their own trope pages include:

* ''Film/TheHuntForRedOctober'' (1990)
* ''Film/PatriotGames'' (1992)
* ''Film/ClearAndPresentDanger'' (1994)
* ''Film/TheSumOfAllFears'' (2002)
* ''[[Film/JackRyanShadowRecruit Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit]]'' (2013)

!!The other film adaptations provide examples of:

* AdaptationDyeJob: In the books Cathy Ryan is a classical blue-eyed, blonde-haired beauty. But every film version of the character has been either a brunette or a redhead.
* BadassBookworm: Jack Ryan, even more than in the books.
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