Cracking Rapp’s Birthday: When Mitch Might Have Been Born, and How it Could Relate to the Release Date of The Survivor

When it comes to Mitch Rapp, there’s a lot we don’t know about our hero. For starters, we are never told when his birthday is. In fact, Rapp’s actual age is not directly given in any of the last four novels. That doesn’t necessarily mean we don’t know how old he is, though, thanks to other hints and clues provided throughout the series.

First, let me provide a breakdown of how old Rapp is in each book.

American Assassin: Twenty-two when approached by Kennedy, while still at Syracuse. Twenty-three when he shows up at Hurley’s place to begin his training. (pages 11, and 25)

Kills Shot: Twenty-five (page 62)

Transfer of Power: Thirty-one (page five)

The Third Option: Thirty-two (page four)

Separation of Power: Thirty-two (page 15)

Executive Power: No age is given, just that he’s in his “mid-thirties” (page eight)

Memorial Day: Thirty-four (page 20)

Consent to Kill: Thirty-seven (page 204)

Act of Treason: Thirty-nine (page 48)

Protect and Defend: No age given

Extreme Measures: No age given

Pursuit of Honor: Kennedy tells Rapp “You’re in your early forties” (page 136)

The Last Man: One character is described as being in his “early forties like Rapp” (page 16)

Playing Detective

So while Rapp’s exact age isn’t actually given in Executive Power, Protect and Defend, Extreme Measures, Pursuit of Honor, or The Last Man, we’re still able to figure out how old he is with simple math.

Executive Power is the only one I cannot nail down an exact age for Rapp. We can come close though, and we know for certain that he’s between thirty-two and thirty-four-years-old.

Since Mitch is thirty-two in the previous book, and this one takes place, at most, a few months later – which we know because chapter one shows Rapp and Anna on their honeymoon – then I’m inclined to guess he’s still thirty-two, maybe a year older.

It’s stated clearly in The Last Man, chapter eight – page 64, that Rapp is five years older than Mike Nash. Nash is the key here, and the first piece of the puzzle. Flipping ahead a few chapters, to page 76, we learn that Nash is thirty-nine.

I’m no math major, but even I know that makes Mitch Rapp approximately forty-four during the events of The Last Man.

Additionally, we learned in Memorial Day (the seventh novel), page 20, that Irene Kennedy, then forty-two, is eight years older than Mitch Rapp, who was thirty-four at the time.

Yet in Protect and Defend (the tenth novel), a character named Ashani, on page 201, has a dossier on Kennedy stating that she’s forty-six-years-old. That seems likely, as Kennedy is said to be forty-five (page 29) in Act of Treason, one book prior.

The problem is that Mitch is thirty-seven in Consent to Kill (the eighth book in the series), and if we subtract eight from Kennedy’s age in Protect and Defend, that makes Mitch thirty-eight in the tenth novel. Now, depending on when his birthday is, Rapp could easily be thirty-nine instead. Which has to be the case because he’s thirty-nine in Act of Treason (the ninth novel, taking place before the one we’re currently discussing), too.

Further analysis supports that theory, and here’s why. At the end of Act of Treason, Stu Garret, is alive. Protect and Defend, a book later, opens with Rapp finally (I’ve hated him since Term Limits!) killing him. It’s noted, on page three, That Rapp’s team had kept an eye on Garret for the “better part of a year”.

It’s entirely possible, even plausible, that Rapp had just turned thirty-nine in Act of Treason, kept an eye on Garret for nearly a year, then killed him (in Protect and Defend) shortly before his own fortieth birthday.

So let’s call Rapp thirty-nine in Protect and Defend. Another problem solved.

Extreme Measures makes it really simple to crack Rapp’s age. Nash is thirty-eight, according to page 99, making Mitch forty-three. Remember, we know Rapp is five years older than Mike.

The same goes for Pursuit of Honor, where Mitch, so eloquently, reminds us (on page 101) that Nash is thirty-eight and shouldn’t have problems with his “plumbing”. Again, for those keeping track with me, Rapp is still forty-three in the twelfth novel of the series.

Birth Year

I fully accepted coming into this challenge that I wouldn’t be able to figure out Rapp’s exact birthday. I was, however, determined to narrow things down significantly. My goal was to pinpoint, approximately, a window of no more than several months where Mitch’s day of birth might actually fall.

Starting with the first Rapp book, American Assassin, I quickly figured out the year Rapp was born.

The first thing we have to do is establish a timeline for Rapp’s recruitment into the CIA.

In the book Memorial Day, page 90, we’re told that Rapp, then twenty-two, was the prized recruit of Kennedy and Stansfield. Here’s a quote from that page:

“The twenty-two-year-old Rapp had been Stansfield and Kennedy’s prized recruit. An international business major fluent in French, Rapp was an All-American lacrosse star for the Syracuse Orangeman, During his junior year thirty-five fellow classmates were killed while returning from a semester abroad. The Pan Am Lockerbie terrorist attack had changed Rapp’s life irrevocably.”

In order to be a “recruit” they would need a commitment of some kind from Mitch, that would require talking to him, right? File that away for a little bit, I’ll come back to it in a minute.

The other key piece of information here is that Rapp was a junior, and twenty-two when the attack on Pan Am flight 103 occured. That real-life act of terrorism happened on December 21, 1988.

This is another one even I can do without a calculator. Subtracting the number of years Rapp’s been alive, at the time of the attack in 1988, shows Rapp was born in 1966.

Bingo! Now we just need to narrow down which months he could have been born in.

Time for some serious investigative skills

Remember when I said to file away that nugget about Rapp only being considered a “recruit” if Kennedy had talked to him? That becomes relevant now because of some information in the beginning chapters of American Assassin, and a page from Transfer of Power.

Chapter one of Transfer of Power tells us that Kennedy had gone to Syracuse University in the winter of 1988 and discovered Rapp.

Then in American Assassin, page 11, a twenty-two-year-old Rapp was approached by Kennedy. Mitch flipped the tables on her, asking why she’d been following him. Irene was stunned, and ends up going back to her hotel room to comb over her notes from the past eight months, trying to figure out where she’d made a mistake shadowing him.

Recap…

Kennedy found Rapp in the “winter months” of 1988, shortly after the attack on Pan Am flight 103. Let’s say December – February are winter months, and assume Kennedy began following Rapp then.

Let’s split the difference, and say Kennedy first became interested in Rapp in January of 1989. She didn’t approach him for eight months. That puts us around September-ish.

Rapp was only twenty-two when he became a “recruit” for the CIA, and he was also twenty-two on December 21, 1988 – this we know for certain – during his junior year of college. Yet, according to page 25 of American Assassin, Rapp is twenty-three when he gets dropped off, by Kennedy, at Stan’s place.

I’m going to try and keep this as easy to follow as possible.

Let’s say Rapp had just finished the first semester of his junior year when the attack happened that December. Then January rolls around, the winter months come to and end – but it’s 1989 now. Rapp finishes his second semester of his junior year, probably at the end of April, and starts his senior year that August.

Shortly after beginning his senior year, likely in September, Kennedy formally begins recruiting him. At that point, we know, with certainty, that Mitch is still only twenty-two.

Process of Elimination

That means we can rule out January, February, March, April, May, June, July, and likely August – as potential months for his birthday. We also know that he cannot be twenty-two any longer when December 21, 2989 rolls around, which means his birthday lies between those two points; September-ish, to mid-December.

For argument sake let’s just say, hypothetically, Rapp’s birth-month is October, once again splitting the difference.

He would have turned twenty-three, finished the first semester of his senior year in December, began the second semester in January of 1990, finished it in late April, and Graduated soon thereafter.

I looked up when Syracuse University traditionally holds their Commencement Weekend, and it typically takes place in late May. If that were the case, Rapp would have graduated and shown up at Hurley’s a week later.

“The week after graduation he threw himself into the dark world of counterterrorism and clandestine operations.” Consent to Kill, page 95.

If Rapp’s training began around the first week of June, then it would have concluded around December. We know he spent six-months with Hurley at his lake house. That is confirmed many times throughout the series, including chapter twenty of American Assassin.

According to my theory, Rapp would’ve turned twenty-four during his training, but that’s never mentioned in the book. The December theme fits, as the month is mentioned several times in American Assassin after Rapp’s training is complete and he begins hunting terrorists.

Just to show that the timeline appears to pass the smell-test, the second novel, Kill Shot, takes place about a year after the final pages of American Assassin. For my theory to fit, Rapp would have to go from twenty-four to twenty-five, further validating my guesstimate, even though Rapp’s twenty-forth birthday is never mentioned.

Guess what? On page 62 of Kill Shot, Mitch Rapp is confirmed to now be twenty-five-years-old.

A rough, estimated timeline of Mitch Rapp's life between 1989-1990
A rough, estimated timeline of Mitch Rapp’s life between 1989-1990

And there you have it. It appears Rapp was born sometime between September and November, of 1966. That would make a current-day Mitch Rapp forty-nine later this year, coincidentally right around the time The Survivor comes out.

Since The Survivor is a direct sequel to The Last Man, My guess is that if Mitch’s age is given,  he’ll still be fourty-four. That of course means that the series is set a few years behind present time, another fun-fact.

Let me know what you think!

“Rapp was a lot of things, but nothing more so than a survivor.” – Vince Flynn, Act of Treason

5 comments

      • Vince’s wife, Lysa, was born on September 6, 1966. But, Term Limits was already written when they first met. I suppose he could have given Rapp a true birthday date after his first novel. We’ll never know. Wish he was here so we could ask him! Great article!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Wow, great insider knowledge! Thanks for sharing, that’s so cool to know. Maybe Rapp shares a birthday with his creator’s wife!

        Like

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