Tom Clancy's long running and best selling series of novels about Jack Ryan and other characters from the Jack Ryan novels was most recently extended with Rainbow Six in 1998 and The Bear and the Dragon in 2000.
A ninth novel with Jack Ryan as the main protagonist or a major central character will be listed among the New York Times top ten best sellers on or before 31 December, 2004.
For purposes of this claim, a novel will be a work of fiction at least 60,000 words in length (none of Clancy's novels to date have been anything like that short). Jack Ryan as the primary or a central character will require that pivotal plotlines revolve around Ryan, not just that he appear in a background or scene setting capacity -- again, none of Clancy's novels through 2000 has been borderline on this criteria; either the book had Ryan as the primary POV character, or he was barely mentioned or completely omitted.
Prior titles with Jack Ryan as protagonist were Hunt for Red October, Patriot Games, Cardinal of the Kremlin, Clear and Present Danger, The Sum of All Fears, Debt of Honor, Executive Orders, and The Bear and the Dragon.
The first description paragraph ("Tom Clancy's ... The Bear and The Dragon in 2000.") is background information and will not affect claim judgment.
The second description paragraph ("A ninth novel with Jack Ryan as the main protagonist or a major central character will be listed among the New York Times top ten best sellers on or before 31 December, 2004.") refers specifically to a work authored by Tom Clancy. Also "ninth" here refers only to order of publication, not to any other order such as order of authorship (e.g., in case Clancy's next-published Jack Ryan protagonist novel turns out to have been written before he wrote one of his already-published Jack Ryan novels).
Also, I interpret the claim description to stipulate that the Jack Ryan character has been protagonist or major central character of exactly eight Clancy novels published before this claim's creation date, namely _Hunt for Red October_, _Patriot Games_, _Cardinal of the Kremlin_, _Clear and Present Danger_, _The Sum of All Fears_, _Debt of Honor_, _Executive Orders_, and _The Bear and the Dragon_. If it is discovered that there was one or more other Jack Ryan protagonist/major central character novel(s) previously published before this claim's creation, such other novel(s) will be considered to have no effect on this claim.
Therefore, this claim will apply only to the Tom Clancy novel with Jack Ryan protagonist or major central character that is next published after this claim's creation date (but before this claim's due date), if any. If two or more Jack Ryan protagonist/major central character novels are published between this claim's creation and due dates, only the first-published of that group will be considered for this claim.
I interpret the phrase "the New York Times top ten best sellers" in the claim description to refer to positions 1-10 of the weekly The New York Times Hardcover Fiction best sellers book list.
At present (May 2001), The New York Times publishes several "Expanded Best Seller Lists" of books online at http://www.nytimes.com/books/yr/mo/day/bsp/index.html (requires free registration for viewing) as well as in print. Of these, only the list described as both "Hardcover" and "Fiction", with no other qualifier, matters for purposes of this claim. No other category or subcategory (such as, but not limited to, "Paperback", "Independents vs. Chains", "Nonfiction", "Advice", or "Children's") of list will matter.
The New York Times Hardcover Fiction best sellers book list may include more than ten positions. For purposes of this claim, only positions 1-10 will matter.
At present, The New York Times publishes its best-seller book lists online (at the URL given above) a week in advance of their publication in the printed Sunday Book Review. For purposes of this claim, any media version of the Hardcover Fiction list published on or before 31 December 2004 will count, even if its publication in a different medium does not occur until after that date.
Update (August 2002): The New York Times lists the Top 5 of each of its best-seller lists, together with links to the complete lists (which include positions 1-10), at http://www.nytimes.com/pages/books/bestseller/index.html