A Timeline of Events Leading Up to the Release of The Survivor

Everyone is pumped for Mitch Rapp number fourteen, The Survivor, to hit shelves later this year. With a few months left to go before it’s release I decided to write a series of posts designed to help get people excited and hyped up, just in time for publication day!

It’s been a while since the last Rapp book

To start with, there hasn’t been a new Rapp book since November 13, 2012. That means The Survivor will be released just under three years after the last Rapp novel, The Last Man, came out. That’s a long time without any new Mitch Rapp books. In fact, it’s the longest fans have gone between Rapp novels since Vince Flynn first created and introduced Rapp in Transfer of Power back in 1999.

Readers have pretty much been able to bank on a new Rapp novel every year as Flynn consistently churned out a new story annually, with the exceptions of 2002 and 2011.

Vince Flynn penned his (then) third Rapp novel, Separation of Power, which was released on October 1, 2001 and followed it up with Executive Power on May 6, 2003. That makes for a total of 582 days between Rapp novels.

Likewise, the 2011 calender year came and went without a new Rapp adventure, although the circumstances back then were much different than before.

Vince was diagnosed with stage III metastatic prostate cancer in November of 2010, and subsequently announced on October 04, 2012 that due to his treatment and pain from an injury he sustained (related to the cancer) the publication date of Kill Shot was being pushed back to February 7, 2012.

That created a gap of 483 days between the publication of American Assassin and Kill Shot, though the real sadness here was Vince’s declining health.

However, Flynn made up for the gap by then publishing The Last Man later that year, just 280 days after Kill Shot, giving fans a double dip of Mitch Rapp in 2012. To date that is the only time two Rapp novels came out in the same year.

Getting sick of numbers? I’m almost done, don’t worry.

When The Survivor comes out on October 6, 2015 fans will have waited eagerly for 1,057 days since The Last Man was first made available in hardcover. Once again, the circumstances this time around are much different as Vince Flynn passed away on June 29, 2013.

End of an era

On July 25, 2013 Emily Bestler (the only editor Vince ever had), Senior Vice President, Editor-In-Chief of Emily Bestler Books (an imprint of Atria Books at Simon & Schuster) posted a note to Rapp fans on Vince’s website.

The post stated that due to the loss of Vince, The Survivor, which he was working on, would be postponed indefinitely. Bestler went on to explain:

“The reason it is “postponed indefinitely” as opposed to “canceled” is because it is too soon to know how much of the book was written or if Vince had plans or provisions in place in the event that he could not complete the book.”

Then on Monday, June 23, 2014 (333 days after the it revealed that the The Last Man was postponed) another huge announcement was made on Vince’s website, as well as in the form of an electronic newsletter to all VinceFlynn.com subscribers. Kyle Mills, who signed a three book deal, was taking over the Rapp franchise, and The Survivor was “tentatively scheduled for 2015”.

On November 23, 2014 (153 days after it was announced he’d been chosen to continue the Rapp franchise) Kyle Mills announced on his website that he had finished the first draft of The Survivor.

“It’s hard to believe but, after almost a year, I just wrote the last sentence of The Survivor’s epilog.”

Since then there’s been a whirl of excitement each time another sliver of information surrounding The Survivor has been released. From the confirmed publication date and ability to officially pre-order, to the revealing of the cover art, The Survivor keeps picking up momentum and is poised to steamroll into bookstores just four months and 17 days from now.

I know for myself, personally, this is just another case where absence has made the heart grow fonder. I’m more pumped for Rapp than ever before, and I know millions of other fans feel the same way.

A lot of people have asked me if I think it’s bittersweet that this is Vince’s last book. I struggle to answer that, but after giving it a lot of thought here’s my true feelings.

I can’t help but wonder, in a way, if this type of transition is the best way for a new author to take over. Let me explain…

Rather than taking over Rapp from the beginning of a new story, Kyle was tasked with finishing Vince’s final novel. That eases the blow of another author taking over the reigns, but also allows fans to get used to a new voice narrating Rapp’s adventures.

Likewise, in a sense, it sort of allows Mills to get his feet wet. He was thrown into a storyline Vince had already crafted and began laying out in The Last Man.

Now, in no way is that a shot at Kyle Mills. he’s a terrific author, and he will be great and do right by Rapp fans. I just think that this tragedy has left fans with a unique opportunity to kind of see the figurative “passing of the torch” From Flynn to Mills.

Next time around Kyle will be on his own, crafting his second Rapp novel from his own ideas and imagination. I have complete faith in where he will take these beloved characters and storyline, but it will be where he takes it … not where Vince had starting leading it.

I for one am eager to see what Kyle can add moving forward. For that reason I encourage all fans of Vince Flynn and Mitch Rapp to put their full support behind Mills both now, and in the future.

Check back later this week for my follow-up post. I’ll be talking about the storyline from The Last Man and recapping where things left off for Rapp, Kennedy and the rest of the gang. I’ll also list some of the top reasons I’m excited for The Survivor, and talk about some characters I hope we see more of in the future.

For now, I leave you with one of my favorite quotes, found in Extreme Measures.

“Just let Mitch be Mitch” – Irene Kennedy (Vince Flynn)

The Survivor Timeline


  1. Great, great stuff, and nice diagnosis.

    Can’t wait to see how “The Survivor” turns out! And I can’t imagine the amount pressure Kyle Mills has been under trying to live up to the expectations we came to take for granted from Vince Flynn.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks, Stan! Excellent point, fans have been spoiled by the greatness Vince Flynn put on display fourteen times during the course of his career. I’m so thankful for the members of Vince’s team that are still around to help Kyle out as he needs it. Most notably, obviously, is Bestler. I’ve said this a lot but I think of her as Irene Kennedy to Vince’s Mitch. She’s that quiet force behind the scenes, working with Vince for fifteen years. I’m confident she knows Rapp well enough to ensure that he stays the same Mitch we all came to love. Kyle is great, I wouldn’t want the pressure he must be feeling, but I’m definitely championing him and trust him moving forward. I hope all the other Rapp fans do as well.

    Thanks for the comment, don’t be a stranger. Also, I’m going to have to check out come of your work!


    • I wasn’t aware of her. I — unfortunately — discovered Vince very late in the game. Maybe even just a year or so before he passed. And I’ve done nowhere near as much research on him as you.

      But he definitely had a huge impact on me and I wrote a tribute (http://stanrmitchell.com/2013/06/30/my-tribute-and-memorial-to-best-selling-author-vince-flynn/) and sign every post in his honor (http://stanrmitchell.com/vince-flynn/).

      I’m just glad I crossed paths with another Flynn fanatic!


      • Well you’d have to read the “My fan experience” tab at the top of my page… But I actually didn’t discover Vince until the day he passed away. I regret not becoming a fan sooner. Anyhow, I admire the man so much, for so many reasons. Like Vince, I’m dyslexic, and therefore was never into reading. I’m still not an avid reader, but I read and re-read all of Vince’s books constantly. The more I researched him, the more I admired him as a person. And I love Rapp!

        Don’t be stranger on here or Twitter, I started this site very recently with the purpose of interacting with other Rapp fans!

        Liked by 1 person

      • That’s funny! I re-read mostly, too!

        And wow, you do share a lot in common with him. And check out your fan experience tab and will definitely NOT be a stranger! : )


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