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Even though he’s on forced leave from the clandestine intelligence group known as The Campus, Jack Ryan, Jr., still finds himself caught in the crosshairs after an attempt on his life is thwarted when he turns the tables on his would-be dispatcher. Convinced that the attack is linked to his recent covert actions with the convalescing Iranian national Ysabel Kashini, Jack sets out to find out who wants him dead, and why.
Using clues found on the now dead assassin, Jack pursues the investigation, following a growing trail of corpses to the European Union’s premier private security firm, Rostock Security Group, and its founder, Jürgen Rostock — a former general in the German Special Forces Command. Rostock is world-renowned as a philanthropist and human rights advocate. But Jack knows him from a Campus mission revolving around a company linked to RSG—a mission that has put him on Rostock’s lethal radar.
Without any Campus resources, Jack launches his own shadow campaign to uncover the truth about Rostock and a long-running false-flag war of terror that has claimed thousands of lives. Yet all of that bloodshed is but a precursor to a coming catastrophic event that will solidify Rostock’s place among the global powers. An event that Jack must stop at any cost.
Jack Ryan Jr. is on a forced leave from The Campus after disobeying orders in his last mission. One night outside a market in Alexandria, Virginia, he survives a mugging attack by fighting back; the wounded mugger later stumbles into an eight-wheeler truck, killing him. Ryan investigates the circumstances behind the incident using clues left behind by his attacker, and is later convinced that he is being targeted for assassination when he finds out that another man similar to his description was killed a week ago.
Over the course of his investigation, Ryan meets Effrem Likkel, a Belgian freelance journalist who is following up on a lead about seemingly missing French soldier René Allemand. Allemand, son of a former Marshal of France Hugo Allemand, had disappeared from his post in Ivory Coast. Likkel, however, finds out that he was kidnapped and thinks that he was brainwashed afterwards. Moreover, he reveals that Allemand and Jack’s would-be assassin, now known as Eric Schrader, had met in secret a week before the Lyon terrorist attacks, and further deduces that Allemand was duped by Schrader to carry out the attacks. Ryan and Likkel later team up to aid each other in their own investigations.
The two travel to Munich, Germany and find out that Schrader is an employee of Jürgen Rostock, head of private military contractor Rostock Security Group. They find themselves attacked by Rostock’s men at every turn, but Ryan and Likkel manage to thwart them. They later venture to Zurich, Switzerland, originally to surveil Rostock’s lawyer Alexander Bossard, but instead find Allemand there. They conclude that Allemand was indeed brainwashed into working for Rostock by kidnapping him and faking his death. The now-erratic Allemand, suffering from the effects of Rostock’s brainwashing, was on the run from Rostock when he finds out that Schrader was involved in the Lyon attacks.
Ryan later informs Allemand’s father about his son. Hugo Allemand reveals that Rostock became deeply Islamophobic after the death of his wife at the hands of a suicide bomber in Kabul, Afghanistan in 2005, when he was a government official. He later retired from public service and formed RSG, with a mission to eliminate terrorists by “any means necessary” and outside the scope of government oversight. He had pitched his idea to the elder Allemand, who declined.
Ryan, Likkel, and Allemand later go to Namibia to follow Gerhard Klugmann, Rostock’s main hacker. Ryan finds out that Rostock wanted Ryan killed because his audit for Dovestar Industrial Machinery, one of RSG’s shell companies, triggered an investigation from German financial regulatory authority BaFin; his scheduled testimony in the German court would expose Dovestar’s true purpose. Moreover, he and Likkel find out that RSG has been engaging in direct action sabotage on behalf of economic corporations in order to gain favor for funding its operations.
Later, when Allemand is informed by Ryan about their investigation and Rostock's involvement, he storms out of the country and back to Zurich, intent on torturing Bossard for information about his plight. Ryan chases the French mercenary to Switzerland, and coaxes him back to reality. They leave Bossard and his wife at their home and return to Namibia, where they find out that Likkel was abducted.
The two eventually save Likkel, who tells them that RSG are planning to sabotage the flow control system at Okavango Dam. Even though they capture Klugmann and kill some of the RSG mercenaries there, they fail to stop the computer virus planted by Klugmann from obstructing the dam, which claims the lives of 322 Namibian residents living nearby. Nevertheless, with Allemand rescued, Rostock was later convicted for his crimes and his company was dissolved. Invigorated by his experience handling Likkel and Allemand, Ryan contacts his boss Gerry Hendley about returning to The Campus.