Author Tom Clancy Dies at 66: A Look Back at His Legacy of Best-Selling Books

,,Best-selling author Tom Clancy died Tuesday night in a Baltimore hospital near his residence. He was 66. A master of the sprawling international and technological thriller, Clancy was also quite prolific and innovative, distributing his work in various media and working with co-writers and other novelists in series of his own design. After kicking off his career with his debut novel The Hunt for Red October, a Cold War-era bestseller that was made into a hit film, he went on to develop the character of Jake Ryan into a popular series chronicling his progress from the CIA to the Oval Office. Clancy also branched off into other media, kicking off the Rainbow Six video game franchise with a novel of the same name.

When he wrote The Hunt for Red October, he said he made it up as he went along.

[I wrote it] from the beginning, not knowing how it was going to end. It really was a lot more fun doing it that way [...] If you plan things ahead of time you lose spontaneity.

Clancy wrote with other authors later on in his career and founded series with books written entirely by other people, including Tom Clancy's Op Center. He co-wrote his last three books - Locked On, Threat Vector, and Command Authority, due out in December - with Mark Greaney.

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A native of Baltimore County, Clancy was a lifelong Maryland resident, and a part owner of the Baltimore Orioles baseball team.

In celebration of his life, here's a look back at Clancy's legacy of best-selling novels, many of which were made into films.

1. The Hunt for Red October

This was Tom Clancy's first published novel, and the first piece of fiction published by the U.S. Naval Institute Press. Jack Ryan made his first appearance in this book and went on to be a Clancy protagonist in several other novels. Sean Connery and Alec Baldwin starred in the 1990 film version that grossed more than $200 million worldwide. Buy it from Amazon, $7.98

2. Clear and Present Danger

It's Jack Ryan as Deputy Director of the CIA versus Colombian drug lords in this 1989 bestseller. Harrison Ford starred in the 1994 film version. Buy it from Amazon, $7.38

3. Patriot Games

It's often said in coverage of Clancy that he wrote about world events before they happened, and in 1987's Patriot Games, he tackled international terrorism. Jack Ryan is back to save the Prince and Princess of Wales from a London attack and makes enemies with a splinter faction of the IRA in the process. Harrison Ford starred in the 1992 film version. Buy it from Amazon, $6.78

4. Red Storm Rising

Clancy's second novel was co-written with Larry Bond and picked up where The Hunt for Red October left off with US-USSR conflict. The Russians bring a "Red Storm" to retaliate for an attack that cost them critical oil supplies during a shortage. Buy it from Amazon, $7.38

5. The Cardinal of the Kremlin

Clancy tackled the race to build the Star Wars missile defense system in this sequel to The Hunt for Red October. CIA analyst Jack Ryan returns to go toe-to-toe with the Soviets. Buy it from Amazon, $7.38

6. The Sum of All Fears

Nuclear crisis? Floundering president? Post-Communist world? Jack Ryan to the rescue. Ben Affleck and Morgan Freeman starred in the 2002 film version. Buy it from Amazon, $6.78

7. Debt of Honor

Jack Ryan comes out of retirement to serve as the President's National Security Advisor when the U.S. goes to war with the Japanese government. Clancy's reach was truly global. Buy it from Amazon, $7.98

-By Laurie White

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