Best-selling author Tom Clancy didn’t attend Boston College, but Jack Ryan, the central character in many of Clancy’s novels, did. Ryan, a CIA operative who ascended to the presidency of the United States over a two decades-long series of Tom Clancy techno-action novels, returns in Clancy’s latest work, Dead or Alive.
Clancy is believed to have modeled his Jack Ryan character after a real-life high school friend who went on to attend Boston College in the mid-1960s and then became a U.S. Navy helicopter pilot in Vietnam.
Readers first met Ryan in 1984 in Clancy’s The Hunt for Red October. In Dead or Alive, Ryan is mulling a campaign to return to the White House, while at the same heading up a covert effort to find the world’s most wanted terrorist.
As is the case in almost all of his works, Clancy includes a reference to Boston College, Ryan’s alma mater, in the text. Midway through Dead or Alive, Ryan savors BC’s recent football successes against Notre Dame.