The Extreme series is another one of Chris Ryan’s creations. And like every Chris Ryan series, the Extreme Series is military fiction that dissects the exploits of a hardened combat veteran taking on the injustices of the world one bad guy at a time.
Order of Extreme Series
When Hard Target, the first book in the series debuted in 2010, Chris Ryan set Joe Gardner up to play the role of the unstoppable protagonist throughout the series’ run. The first book found Joe Gardner struggling to conform to civilian life after losing his hand during an operation in Afghanistan.
However, his attempts at living a peaceful life are shattered when he is forced to come to the aid of John Bald, a legendary veteran who would have died if not for Gardner’s intervention.
Whether Gardner was simply lacking as a hero or John Bald proved to be the superior protagonist, it wasn’t long before Christ Ryan sidelined Gardner in favor of John Bald.
Interestingly enough, John Bald is a very divisive character amongst Chris Ryan fans. Unlike Joe Gardner, Bald is more of an anti-hero. He is mean, selfish and unnecessarily aggressive, and he is known for going to some truly extreme ends in order to get the job done.
It is probably because of Bald’s personality that the Extreme books tend to be so violent and gory. Chris Ryan describes John Bald as a man fighting a losing war with himself.
The Extreme series started out as a couple of random serials. They were eventually collected into complete novels. Even though Chris Ryan has been known to push the boundaries of logic, the Extreme series takes things a step further as it throws John Bald into one absurd event after another.
In fact, the Extreme books can only be enjoyed by readers with the capacity to suspend their reasoning. Otherwise, it becomes a little difficult to process some of the feats Bald and his friends accomplish.
Best Extreme Books
It is easy to see why the Extreme series is popular amongst Chris Ryan fans; the stories Ryan tells deliver some truly absurd scenarios, with some of the best books in the series including:
Hard Target: Joe Gardner thought that his time on the frontline had ended. Ever since he lost his hand in Afghanistan, Gardner was looking to a future away from active duty. But then John Bald found himself pinned down by a violent gang determined to kill him.
It only took a simple phone call to drag Gardner into a race for survival through Brazil and Siberia.
There is a lot of impossible action in this book which tries to enter James Bond territory in some places only to veer off into the absurd. Chris Ryan has admitted that there are actual elements of his real life as a member of the SAS sprinkled throughout this book.
And they are definitely noticeable, helping to ground the book. Joe Gardner takes center stage as a man who lost his hand in combat and was discharged from the SAS. When John Bald calls Gardner from Brazil asking for help, Gardner cannot afford to refuse, not when John Bald saved his life.
Together, the combat veterans face off against everything from Mossad Spies to Brazilian SWAT teams and Middle Eastern Terrorists.
Night Strike: In a world where technology is driving the fight against global terrorism, John Bald is called upon to track down and kill a sleeper cell operating within the ranks of the United State’s most powerful defense contractors.
The mission is a disaster and Bald’s employers turn against him. In order to clear his name, John Bald must hunt down those responsible and, hopefully, keep a powerful weapon from falling into the hands of America’s enemies.
The second book in the Extreme series ditches Joe Gardner in favor of John Bald. Bald is a bit of a washed up drunk in this book. The former SAS operative’s decision to take on a high stakes mission goes awry. Bald goes globe-trotting in an attempt to locate the members of a sleeper cell and prove his innocence.
Other Book Series You May Like
Extreme fans enjoy the “Jake and Annie Lincoln” Series by Rayven T. Hill. Jake and Annie Lincoln are a husband and wife who also work as private investigators. The couple is always in perfect step with one another on all issues and this allows them to put difficult cases to rest.
You may also enjoy the “Danny Black” Series by Chris Ryan. Danny Black joins the long line of tortured Chris Ryan heroes who come to the end of their military service only to undertake near impossible missions on behalf of their governments.