ryan_jack_jr_bk_dah ryan_jack6 ryan_jack_jr1 rainbow_six_gm ryan_jack_jr_bk_uf ryan_jack5 ryan_jack_jr_bk_poc ryan_jack_jr3 ryan_jack4 ryan_jack8 ryan_jack7 kelly_john_mv_wm ryan_jack_jr2 ryan_jack3 ryan_jack10 ryan_jack9 ryan_jack_mv_soaf ryan_jack_mv_capd
Full Name: John Clark
Nationality: American
Organization: CIA
Occupation Agent

Creator: Tom Clancy
Time Span: 1988 - 2017


John Clark is an agent with the CIA.

Well, he is for quite a few years of his life. He had a life before then and he definitely had a life after his time with the Agency but when we first meet him he is an agent in very good standing. In those time after he was pushed out of the CIA it could be said 'he is an agent with Rainbow Six' or 'he is the Operations Director of The Campus' (more on them in a moment).

Born John Kelly in Indiana towards the end of the Second World War, he attended parochial school growing up and even went to a Jesuit Preparatory School before changing directions. That change took him into the Navy and into becoming a SEAL not long after that group came into existence. His service would take him to Vietnam where he would be involved in several deadly operations which would in turn result in his being highly decorated. A Silver Star, A Bronze Star, a Navy Cross, and three Purple Hearts, among other things would find their way into his record.

When his tour in Southeast Asia was over, Clark left the military but was soon approached by the CIA with an offer to be part of the Special Activities Division and a return to Vietnam to mount a POW rescue mission. Before he left for it, he wrapped up a personal war with drug dealers in Baltimore which had resulted in the death of a young woman close to him. Unfortunately since the police had evidence that it was Kelly (Clark) who was behind the deaths of several less-than-pleasant individuals and looking at a life behind bars, John Kelly 'died' and John Clark came to be. Having a major government bureau like the CIA take care of the details helped immensely.

During his life in the Intelligence community, Clark would work for the CIA and then, when an idea presented by Clark resulted in the creation of a NATO response team to be quickly deployed to handle terrorist activity, he would be the one to head one of the teams. After that when political winds start to change, Clark would be a major player in an off-the-books organization called The Campus.

Not bad for a dead man.


Number of Books:14
First Appearance:1988
Last Appearance:2017

Initially a character in the terrific Jack Ryan series, John Clark got his own book which was a fascinating look into his life and how he became the man he was. After a couple more books in the Ryan universe, he became the head of his own action group. Eventually he would move to a private intelligence force and be an important, albeit not so active, part of the Jack Ryan, jr series. Pretty good pedigree.

1 The Cardinal of the Kremlin The Cardinal of the Kremlin
Written by Tom Clancy
Copyright: 1988

The Cardinal is the codename for the highest-placed American agent in the Soviet Union, a man who knows the truth about the Soviet missile defense system and the plans the Iron Curtain nation has for it. He is marked for elimination by the KGB. Jack Ryan is the CIA agent in charge of getting him out alive. John Clark makes a small entry in the book as the man tasked with getting the Cardinal's wife and daughter out.
buy from Amazon

2 Clear and Present Danger Clear and Present Danger
Written by Tom Clancy
Copyright: 1989

When a friend of the President is murdered on his yacht in the Caribbean along with his family, the President is incensed. He vows vengeance on the drug cartels that ordered the hit. Jack Ryan is ordered to plan the main attack but soon must find a way to save his own men when they are abandoned by the administration. John Clark commands the team going in country and works with Ryan to get them back out
buy from Amazon

3 The Sum of All Fears The Sum of All Fears
Written by Tom Clancy
Copyright: 1991

Much of Denver is destroyed in an atomic attack, taking the world to the edge of war as blame for the deaths of so many Americans seem to can lay fully at the feet of the Russian President. Jack Ryan, now Deputy Director of Intelligence at the CIA, has his doubts but no one is willing to listen. John Clark begins the adventure as Ryan's driver and bodyguard but soon is back in the field and action.
buy from Amazon

4 Without Remorse Without Remorse
Written by Tom Clancy
Copyright: 1993

For most of the series based around Jack Ryan, the figure of John Clark is there to carry out many of the secret missions necessary to keep the nation going. This book gets into the history of the man, showing the strange and frightening events that shaped the career of a remarkable character.
buy from Amazon

5 Debt of Honor Debt of Honor
Written by Tom Clancy
Copyright: 1994

Once again out in the field, John Clark joins with Domingo Chavez to first go after an African warlord and later to Japan to be on hand should trouble get worse.
buy from Amazon

6 Executive Orders Executive Orders
Written by Tom Clancy
Copyright: 1996

John Clark's previous persona, John Kelly, is given a Presidential pardon. Clark stays in the CIA looking into who was behind an Ebola attack in the States.
buy from Amazon

7 Rainbow Six Rainbow Six
Written by Tom Clancy
Copyright: 1998

Responding to the success of a terrific computer action game of the same name, created and published by Red Storm Entertainment, this book details the creation of the Rainbow project by John Clark, a program designed to respond instantly to the many and varied terrorist attacks around the world. Three separate adventures are detailed.

8 The Bear and the Dragon The Bear and the Dragon
Written by Tom Clancy
Copyright: 2000

While still running the Rainbow program, John Clark is pulled into the field in a joint Rainbow-Spetsnaz mission during the Russian-Chinese war to take out a Chinese ICBM base.
buy from Amazon

9 The Teeth of the Tiger The Teeth of the Tiger
Written by Tom Clancy
Copyright: 2003

While not actually in this book, John Clark is mentioned (a lot) and his Navy Cross is upgraded to a Medal of Honor.
buy from Amazon

10 Dead or Alive Dead or Alive
Written by Tom Clancy, Grant Blackwood
Copyright: 2010

John Clark is forced into retirement from the CIA but finds a new home with The Campus, a new off-the-books intelligence agency. The Emir is a killer who has taken great delight in spearheading several deadly attacks against the US and its allies. The Campus has decided it is time to take this man and his team down.
buy from Amazon

11 Locked On Locked On
Written by Tom Clancy, Mark Greaney
Copyright: 2011

Jack Ryan Sr runs for a chance to return to the Oval Office. In The Campus, John Clark finds himself being hunted by his own government as well as others and he must go on the run to find a way to clear his name.
buy from Amazon

12 Under Fire Under Fire
Written by Grant Blackwood
Copyright: 2015

John Clark is the new operations chief of The Campus, providing support for the men in the field. Jack Ryan, jr.'s oldest friend, Seth, meets him for lunch in Tehran. The next day he goes missing and evidence points to his have turned traitor. Ryan is determined to find the truth.
buy from Amazon

13 Duty and Honor Duty and Honor
Written by Grant Blackwood
Copyright: 2016

Jack Ryan, jr. wants to know who is trying to kill him and why and does it connect to the work he did with the Iranian agent Ysabel. John Clark continues a small role as Operations Director of The Campus.
buy from Amazon

14 Point of Contact Point of Contact
Written by Mike Maden
Copyright: 2017

A former US Senator and now a major defense contractor is concerned about a company called Dalfan Technologies and asks an old friend for help investigating it. That friend is a major player in The Campus and he chooses Jack Ryan, jr. as one of the two analysts to do the research. This snooping will cause a fair amount of excitement and danger. John Clark continues as Operations Director of The Campus
buy from Amazon


Number of Movies:2
First Appearance:1994
Last Appearance:2002

1 Clear And Present Danger Clear And Present Danger
Director: Phillip Noyce
Writers: Donald Stewart, Steven Zaillian, John Milius, Tom Clancy
Actors: Willem DaFoe as John Clark, Harrison Ford as Jack Ryan
Released: 1994

The President orders an illegal war against the drug cartel and Ryan is sucked into it. He is smart enough to see his situation and fights to clear his name and save lives. John Clark heads the team going into Columbia and joins with Ryan to get them out again.

2 The Sum Of All Fears The Sum Of All Fears
Director: Phil Alden Robinson
Writers: Paul Attanasio, Daniel Pyne, Tom Clancy
Actors: Liev Schreiber as John Clark, Ben Affleck as Jack Ryan
Released: 2002

A terrorist group wants to force a division between the US and the newly elected Russian government and is planning a nuclear attack on American soil to do it. CIA analyst Jack Ryan is determined to stop them having the help of John Clark.

3 Without Remorse Without Remorse
Director: Stefano Sollima
Writers: Taylor Sheridan, Will Staples
Actors: Michael B. Jordan as John Kelly, Jordie Turner-Smith as Karen Greet, Jamie Bell as Robert Ritter, Guy Pearce as Secretary Clay, Lauren London as Pam Kelly
Released: 2021

A retelling of the origin story of John Clark, aka John Kelly. "An elite Navy SEAL goes on a path to avenge his wife's murder only to find himself inside of a larger conspiracy."


Number of Games:1
First Appearance:1998
Last Appearance:2015

       With author Tom Clancy being a cofounder of a game company, Red Storm Entertainment (named after one of Clancy's books), it was not unexpected that there would be games based on his novels and novels based on the games. Power Plays is a series that had such a genesis and so does the Rainbow Six franchise.
       Apparently Red Storm was working on an idea for a group similar to the FBI's Hostage Rescue Team but international in scope and dedicated to fighting terrorism. "Black Ops" was the planned name. Then Tom Clancy told them he was working on a book about a team fighting terrorism and the design of the game shifted to match his.
       The game was done before the book. The character of John Clark is not a part of the game but because Rainbow Six is his idea (and according to Wikipedia the codename for Clark), the game series deserves mention.
       To date there have been a large number of games and add-on packs with additional scenarios released on a wide range of platforms.

1 Rainbow Six Rainbow Six
Red Storm Entertainment
Copyright: 1999

A series of video games concerning operative in the Rainbow program. The games were released on a wide assortment of platforms.


Since most of the books in this series are parts of either the Jack Ryan series or the Jack Ryan, jr series, and I absolutely loved both of them, I naturally love this series. This was made extra so because my second favorite book in the Jack Ryan list was decidedly bk_6760!Without Remorse, marked as an add-on in the Ryan universe. It is one incredible book.

The books that came out after Clancy's passing which have Clark back as a supporting character have made him very much a mentor to Jack Ryan, jr. and close friend to President Ryan. They have also greatly enhanced the legend of a man whose career has been exceptionally impressive without ever going over the top.

I could hope for another book devoted to John Clark but I know that is just being greedy.


My Grade: A


Be the first to leave your own comments about this series.

Tell us what you think of the series. Give your grade and comments.

Your Grade:
Your Comments:

To give your opinion, you must be logged in.

Sign In

SpyGuysAndGals is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, and links with the Buy from Amazon button are affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.