The "Jack Ryan" series of novels stand as a suberb collection of novels by Tom Clancy. Towering in presence, breathtaking in scope, intimate in detail, they offer one continous, complete story spanning some thirty years and eight books.
This is the best place to start, although it was not the first book in the series to be written - that was the Hunt for Red October. Patriot Games is far better a book than the film would suggest, and deserves your attention. For anyone who enjoys fast action thrillers, political intruigue set in our modern world, then you should buy this book. Clancy has an easy going style which is instantly readable, but never too slow.
If you intend to read the whole series, start with either this book or The Hunt for Red October. The first book is Without Remorse, but is set far earlier than the other seven and is not strictly needed. The correct order - since I get asked so often - is Without remorse, Patriot Games, Hunt for Red October, Cardinal of Kremlin, Clear and Present Danger, Sum of All fears (a truly superb book!), Debt of Honour, Exectutive Orders.