by James Yount
One of my favorite authors, Tom Clancy is a master craftsman specializing in the genre of technologically detailed crime, espionage, and military science thrillers. Best known for penning a litany of bestselling novels, including The Hunt for Red October, Clear and Present Danger, Patriot Games, and The Sum of All Fears, Clancy boasts distinction as one of the most successful writers of the modern era, his novels serving as the inspiration for a number of highly profitable big-budget Hollywood films. Also penning several non-fiction books focusing on the United States armed forces, Clancy exhibits a capacity for translating extremely complex subject matter into layman’s terms. Born in Baltimore, Maryland, Tom Clancy enrolled at Loyola College, earning a degree in English Literature in 1969. Following the completion of his undergraduate coursework, Clancy set out to pursue his long-held dream of joining the United States military. Rejected after failing a mandatory vision test, Clancy reprioritized his career goals, entering into the insurance industry. For over a decade, Clancy devoted his professional energy to his insurance agency, concurrently developing the framework for his first published novel, The Hunt For Red October. Released in 1984, The Hunt For Red October introduces Jack Ryan, a fictional CIA agent who appears in several of Clancy’s other books. Several years after it landed on bookstore shelves, Hollywood optioned the rights for the literary smash hit, filming a big screen adaptation starring Alec Baldwin and Sean Connery. Written prior to The Hunt For Red October but published three years later, Patriot Games garnered accolades for its exciting and engrossing plot, the storyline following Jack Ryan as he thwarts an assassination attempt targeted at the Prince and Princess of Wales. The film version of Patriot Games stars Harrison Ford as Jack Ryan with Samuel L. Jackson in a supporting role. In the years that followed, Clancy went on to pen many other popular books including The Cardinal of the Kremlin, Clear and Present Danger, The Sum of All Fears, Debt of Honor, Rainbow Six, The Teeth of the Tiger, and Red Rabbit.