Exclusive: Big Changes Coming To The Tom Clancy Universe In 2017


The Tom Clancy universe, one of the most popular fiction franchises in print today, will be undergoing huge changes in 2017.

Mark Greaney, who since 2011 has written seven Jack Ryan novels (three of which he co-authored with Clancy himself), including last December’s True Faith and Allegiance, will exit the franchise this year. So too will Grant Blackwood, who has penned three novels in the Jack Ryan Jr. series, most recently last summer’s Duty and Honor

With both long-time authors stepping aside, two new writers have been selected to continue both series within the Clancy universe and each will release a new book this year.

Taking over for Mark Greaney will be veteran New York Times bestselling author Marc Cameron, most famous for writing his long-running Jericho Quinn series (Field of Fire, etc.). Cameron will continue the Jack Ryan Sr. franchise with a new, still untitled, novel scheduled to be released sometime this fall. 

Stepping in for Blackwood is Mike Maden, a relatively new author who has written four novels as part of his own Troy Pearce series, including last year’s Drone Threat. Maden’s first Jack Jr. novel, Tom Clancy Point of Contact, the twenty-third book set in the Clancy-created universe, will hit bookstores on June 13, 2017. 

Tom Clancy’s longtime editor, Tom Colgan, Vice President and Editorial Director, Berkley Publishing Group, told us exclusively: “We have been thrilled to have Mark Greaney and Grant Blackwood helming the Clancy books, and while I know they both enjoyed this work immensely, it’s hard to keep up on your own writing when you’re putting in the kind of effort that a Clancy book requires. So both Grant and Mark chose to step away from the Clancy books.” 

“I had read and loved Mike Maden’s Troy Pearce series,” continued Colgan, “so he was the first person I thought of for the Jack Jr. books and I have to say that it’s been a blast working with him on Tom Clancy Point of Contact.”

As for how Marc Cameron came to replace Mark Greaney, Colgan says it was Greaney himself who recommended Cameron from the get-go. 

“I wish I could take credit for thinking of Marc Cameron for the Jack Sr. book but it was actually Mark Greaney who suggested him. He had just read Marc Cameron’s most recent book and thought he would be a good fit. Boy, was he right. From the start, Marc Cameron just really got Jack Ryan and John Clark and all the rest of the characters. I’m excited to see Mike and Marc continue the Clancy tradition.”

Mark Greaney also provided The Real Book Spy with an exclusive statement:

“As lucky as I’ve been to have the opportunity to write or co-write seven Tom Clancy novels in six years, I had developed a growing stack of my own story ideas that I wanted to work on, and not enough time to pursue them. After the release of Tom Clancy True Faith and Allegiance, I felt the time was right to step away to work on some of my projects and let another capable writer step into the Ryanverse.”

“I just happened to be reading Marc Cameron’s latest release,” said Greaney, “when Tom Colgan asked me if I had any suggestions for a replacement. Marc was the first and only name I gave him. His writing is both intelligent and action-packed, and Marc has an impressive personal resume that I am sure he will work into the novels to great effect.”

Greaney–whose latest Gray Man thriller, Gunmetal Gray, just came out last week–wasn’t able to provide any additional details on future projects at this time, though he has confirmed that he’s currently hard at work on the next Gray Man book, Weaponized, which should find its way onto bookstore shelves early next year. 

While the shakeup of authors will no doubt garnish headlines and attention from readers, fans should feel good about who has been brought in to continue both series. 

Other than last year’s Duty and Honor, which was a solid thriller, the Jack Ryan Jr. books have needed a shot in the arm for years. Maden is, in my opinion, the perfect choice to breathe new life into those characters. Drone Threat was an underrated, hard-hitting and action-packed novel, and it’s easy to see how Maden’s style will translate well to the Clancy universe. Personally, I couldn’t be more excited about him getting the gig.

As for the Jack Ryan Sr. books, it obviously hurts to lose Mark Greaney, who recently cemented himself as one of the best thriller authors on the planet. Since the very beginning, Greaney has done an incredible job preserving the integrity and authenticity of Tom Clancy’s most beloved character, and he deserves a ton of credit for that. 

However, this isn’t Marc Cameron’s first rodeo. He’s a veteran author with numerous high-octane thrillers under his belt. More importantly, at least in regards to the Clancy universe, Cameron has always written thrillers that feature intelligent stories–something Jack Ryan fans will appreciate. A true pro and crafty writer, Cameron understands how to balance action with conspiracy-driven plots and relentless pacing. 

I think Cameron is a brilliant choice to replace Greaney, and fully expect him to deliver in a big way this fall.

Fans chomping at the bit to get their hands on Maden’s first Clancy novel, Point of Contact, can pre-order it here. (Marc Cameron’s forthcoming Clancy novel is not yet available for pre-order, but we’ll update this article as soon as it is.)

Called “one of today’s finest book reviewers” by New York Times bestselling author Gayle Lynds, Ryan Steck is currently the Editor-in-Chief of The Real Book Spy website, and one of the thriller genre’s most well-recognized critics. Having assembled a dedicated following, Steck has helped connect thousands of diehard readers with great books since launching The Real Book Spy in December of 2015. He currently lives in Southwest Michigan with his wife and their five children. 

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  1. Great article, but you’re not giving Grant Blackwood enough credit. He was Clancy’s first co-author, and Dead or Alive was a classic. Under Fire was a terrifically complex story and a real step forward for Jack Ryan, Jr. as a character. Don’t sell Grant’s work short.

    • No disrespect to Blackwood at all, I think Grant’s great and I enjoy most of his stuff. DUTY AND HONOR was really good, I meant no disrespect there. I just think Maden’s action-packed style brings a new element to that series, and look forward to seeing where he takes the characters.

      More than anything, I just think it’s hard to keep characters and a series fresh after such a long time. Grant is a terrific writer, and I’ve heard he’s working on his own series. I’m excited to check that out!

  2. Both will be missed. I loved Blackwood’s interpretation of the characters, and Greaney channeled Tom Clancy’s voice as if they shared one great writing mind.

  3. I hope Paramount decides to do a new Tom Clancy franchise reboot, maybe start with book one of the series and turn it into the James Bond, Jason Bourne, Star Trek, or Star Wars franchises, they’ve got the materials, if the could sign an group of stars to a 20+ film contract, like Marvel & Disney Studios did with the recent stars of the Marvel’s franchise, like Robert Downey Jr. it would be awesome to see Patriot Games and The Hunt for Red October in High Definition and maybe finally Rainbow Six becoming a summer blockbuster movie.

    • Oh, Please – Rainbow Six? That has got to be Clancy’s WORST effort. It’s full of plot holes. Imagine John Clark missing a terrorist right under his nose. (Loved the ending though!)
      The movie I want to see made is Without Remorse. A young Willem Dafoe would have been the perfect character. I’m not sure who would play it right now.
      Mark Greaney has done a fair job with the franchise. I have enjoyed all of the Jack Jr books, but I thought he hit his stride with True Faith and Allegiance. It reads like Clancy of old. Sorry to see him go now that he’s finally figured it out.

  4. Losing mark greaney is so hard. He’s the reason I still read Tom Clancy books, he was able to channel Tom Clancy so well while providing his own great research. I also love marks gray man series. I’ve struggled with grant blackwood books, so I think a change for him is good. Mark greaney please reconsider!!!

    • I agree, however, I have read all of Marc Cameron’s books in his Jericho Quinn series. His intelligence, keen insight on government conspiracy adds to the development of each character. His action-packed thrillers are edge of the seat page turners with sometimes surprise endings leaving you with wanting more. I think he will make a great replacement for mark Greaney. I have loved reading every Clancy book, Marc can only add to what Clancy and Greaney began.

  5. I tend to enjoy the Ryan family novels that still incorporate a lot of “family life” into them. I realize that they need to have that action pack, and I enjoy that. But I also feel like the family aspect keeps them more true to life. I always liked the end of Threat Vector “the two Jacks returned to the study, this time to talk about baseball, women, and family–the important things in the world”.

  6. The best idea choosing Marc Cameron,just reading Field Fire… have read them all Marc is one of my top 5
    but stepping into the Clancy/Greaney team won’t be a small challenge,hope he will do as good as Kyles did
    with my favorite Vince Flynn I’m sure he’ll do.
    Thanks again for your always on the spot news they are no fake news( do tell your president)
    All the best from Luxembourg
    Do you have any news on a new book from Joshua Hood or have I missed the info?

  7. The last good Jack Ryan novel was Executive Orders. Period. That set a new standard that even Clancy, himself, couldn’t maintain in his last years. Blackwood and Greaney are very good writers, but they are both more in the vein of what Brad Thor does. There is simply no comparison in the writing / intricacies of plot when you look at the novels being cranked out with the Clancy stamp the last several years (often more than one per year). I get it. I really do. It’s a money-maker. But nobody wrote techno thriller fiction like the man, himself. If you loved Tom Clancy’s writing, you loved it for the good (well-developed characters, thrilling narratives that often had 3 or 4 layered story lines, and a four-page technical description of how a toilet works on a boomer) and the bad (very unintentionally funny passages where he might try to describe a steamy sexual encounter or 4-page description of how a toilet on a sub might work). I still faithfully read everything that comes out and I’ll be watching the new Jack Ryan tv series when it airs this fall, but the Jack Ryans in the novels today are clearly not the Jack Ryan who took on the IRA. You can reuse and reboot characters all you want, but you cannot hire someone to mimic the passion that Tom Clancy had for writing, for the intricacies of detail, for the military, and for his country. This is really just about collecting pay cheques at this point. But everyone is entitled to a pay cheque, so there we are.

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