Threat Vector is a Jack Ryan novel, written by series co-author Mark Greaney. It was released in 2012. In the novel, the leadership in China threaten the US and its allies with both cyberwar and conventional war, and it is up to President Jack Ryan and the operators of The Campus to put a stop to it.
Jack Ryan has only just moved back into the Oval Office when he is faced with a new international threat. An aborted coup in the People's Republic of China has left President Wei Zhen Lin with no choice but to agree with the expansionist policies of General Su Ke Qiang. They have declared the South China Sea a protectorate and are planning an invasion of Taiwan.''
There’s just one more step needed to complete this perfect plan…the elimination of the president of the United States.
The operators of The Campus, including John Clark, Domingo Chavez, Sam Driscoll, Dominic Caruso and Jack Ryan, Jr. are in Istanbul on a mission to assassinate a cell of former Jamahiriya Security Organization (JSO) operators. During the mission, Ryan enters the apartment of his target and eliminates him. Before leaving he goes to the man’s computer to take a quick look through the man’s e-mail and a new message arrives with photos attached. He opens the photos and sees that he and the rest of the team have been photographed while carrying out their missions that day. Concerned and dismayed, he quickly unplugs the computer and takes it back with him to Campus headquarters.
In China, President Wei Zhen Lin is about to shoot himself. Men are coming to arrest him because he is being blamed for the current economic crisis. Just before he does so, Su Ke Qiang, the chairman of the Central Military Commission, arrives at Wei’s office to protect him and thwart the coup attempt.
Valentin Kovalenko, a former SVR agent, is aided in escaping prison by some mysterious benefactor. The man says he is now indebted to this benefactor and that he is to await further instructions.
At Campus headquarters, Gavin Biery and Jack Ryan, Jr. analyze the computer that Ryan brought back from Istanbul. They determine that the cell of JSO operators was receiving their instructions from an expert computer hacker that calls himself Center that probably works for the Chinese.
Todd Wicks, a sales manager with Advantage Technology Solutions, is attending the Shanghai Hi-tech Expo. While he is having sex with a prostitute in a hotel room, men burst in. They extort him, and when he says he will do anything to keep the incident quiet, he is told to go back home to the US and await instructions.
President Wei and Chairman Su come up with a scheme to bring economic prosperity back to China: territorial expansion in the South China Sea. Su tells Wei that his plan will not succeed unless they use an accelerated timetable which has them taking over Taiwan and the South China Sea in the space of a year. Wei reluctantly agrees. Then Su calls Center, who is indeed working for the Chinese government, and tells him that he has the authorization to escalate cyberattacks on the US. Center has a group of assassins working for him as well: a team from Divine Sword, a special-ops unit of the Chinese military, led by a man code-named Crane. Center has found that there is a group of consultants in California that have discovered a security vulnerability in government servers that he has been exploiting, and has Divine Sword kill all the staff that works there.
Jack Ryan, Jr. and his girlfriend Melanie Kraft are out for a jog around the Washington mall when Kraft spots a man in a trenchcoat looking at them. She then makes an excuse to Ryan that she needs to go and catch up on some work. She leaves and meets the man, Darren Lipton. Lipton works for the FBI and has told her that Ryan is a person of interest with the Bureau. He wants her to spy on Ryan, reporting Ryan’s activities and movements back to him. When she is reluctant, he threatens to go public with a family scandal of hers.
A hacker named Charley Levi is attending a party the night before the annual DEF CON convention. He plans to make a presentation at the conference explaining how he has found that some rogue entity has hacked its way into the CIA. The Divine Sword assassins go to the party and kill all the attendees, including Levy.
Gavin Biery does some investigating and finds that the same virus that was on the Istanbul drive is also widely distributed around the internet. He also finds that someone who has the online identity “FastByte22” seems to be responsible for the virus.
CIA agent Adam Yao is in Hong Kong conducting surveillance on a counterfeit computer chip maker. He sees him meet with a known fugitive from the US named Zha Shu Hai. Unbeknownst to Yao, Zha is hijacking US military drones, using them to attack both civilians and military personnel. The government is forced to ground their entire fleet of drones. Yao begins following Zha’s movements. He breaks into Zha’s post office box and goes through his mail. He finds a package there that makes a reference to FastByte22, leading him to believe that that is Zha’s online alias.
Center sends someone to meet Wicks. Wicks, who is a computer parts vendor for Hendley Associates, is given a hard drive and is told to sell it to the company. Wicks assumes the drive has a virus installed on it but since he is being blackmailed by Center, he feels like he has no choice but to comply.
Yao sends a request to the CIA for assistance in his investigation of Zha. They reply that they will pass on Zha’s location to the US marshals so that he can be arrested. Jack Ryan, Jr. who does a daily review of CIA communications traffic as part of his duties at the Campus, finds the request. He has the idea of traveling to Hong Kong as businessmen who are looking for restitution against the hacker and offering to assist Yao. The plan is approved by the Campus leadership. Meanwhile. Wicks arrives at Hendley Associates and delivers the infected hard drive to Biery.
Ryan, Chavez, and Biery arrive in Hong Kong and meet with Yao. Once they tell him they want to track down FastByte22, Yao agrees to work with them and they come up with a plan.They begin to surveil Zha and follow him to a strip club. As they are following him they notice that another group of men is following him too. Then a group of American commandos arrives and try to abduct Zha. The club is full of Triads and Zha’s bodyguards. The commandos manage to grab Zha and leave out the back of the club, but some of them are shot. Chavez sees that Zha’s handheld computer was left behind and grabs it. He meets up with Yao and Ryan and they start to follow the commandos on foot, wanting to help somehow. They catch up to the commandos and, after identifying themselves, offer to help. Biery picks them up in their van and they escape.
Yao’s car, which he loaned to his neighbor, is blown up when his neighbor tries to get in. Yao goes on the run to avoid any further assassination attempts.
When China announces their intentions to increase their influence in the South China Sea, the Taiwan air force and US marine pilots began patrolling the area. After harassing the pilots for days, Chinese pilots attack them. There are casualties on both sides.
Lipton puts Kraft up to installing tracking software on Ryan’s phone. One night while they are at his place, she installs the software on his phone. Just as she is finishing Ryan comes back in the room, seeing her messing with his phone, and becomes suspicious of her.
Kovalenko has been traveling to different parts of the world, carrying out missions at Center’s behest. When Center sends him to Washington, DC, Kovalenko starts to plan a way to get away from Center’s influence. Kovalenko surveils the Russian embassy, thinking of some of his former acquaintances who could help him. After he returns to his flat, Crane shows up and threatens him to not attempt to contact anyone at the embassy and stay focused on his mission. He is sent to a particular address and told to report his observations back to Center.
The situation in the South China Sea escalates. After some skirmishes between US fighter pilots and that of China, China threatens the US to move their forces out of the region. President Ryan decides to pull US forces back but covertly loans some fighter pilots to the Taiwanese air force.
Crane and his men attack the house that Kovalenko was surveilling earlier. It is, in reality, a safe house where CIA agents have been holding and interrogating Zha. Zha and all of the agents are killed. Kovalanko hears sirens in the area and sees news coverage of apparent murders at the house. He fears that his involvement will be discovered, and when he contacts Center, Center says little to console him.
At the Campus, Biery finds a clue on Zha’s handheld computer that leads to a data center in Miami. Ryan and Caruso decide to go down on their own and check it out.They do a quick recon of the building, then go back to their hotel to plan their next move. Center sends men to kill them, but Ryan and Caruso manage to trick them and kill them instead.
Wondering how Center knew he and Caruso were in Miami, Ryan thinks back to when he saw Kraft messing with his phone. He asks Biery to have a look at it, and Biery finds the location software that was installed.
Foley asks Ryan to meet her. She suggests that the Campus send men to meet with a group of rebels she knows of in China in hopes of getting more intelligence out of the country. Yao finds out that Center has relocated his base of operations and begins to track it down.
Biery discovers the virus that was distributed on the Hendley Associates network via the hard drive that Wicks sold him. He and Caruso drive to Wicks’ house and Wicks confesses. Caruso convinces Ryan to investigate Kraft to see why she installed the tracker on his phone.
The men at the Campus decide to send a team to meet with the group that Foley suggested to Ryan. Yao calls Chavez, tells him he has found Center’s new headquarters and asks for help. Chavez tells him they will send Jack Ryan, Jr.
Center decides that Kraft he has no more use for Kraft and sends Divine Sword to kill her. As she is taking a cab to a place Lipton told her to meet him, they attack. Coincidentally, Ryan has been following her to see if he can figure out why she would be spying on him. Ryan sees the attack and intervenes. After a short gun battle with Ryan, Crane and his men flee the scene. Ryan calls Clark to ask for help. Clark meets him and takes care of Kraft while Ryan heads to meet up with Yao in Hong Kong.
President Jack Ryan calls President Wei on the phone. Wei openly supports Su on the phone with Ryan, but because he is lamenting Su’s handling of the conflict, he subtly gives Ryan a clue to Su's whereabouts. Ryan passes this information on, and the Campus men find out about it.
Crane and his men attack Hendley Associates.While he is trying to get Biery to access the computer network, Clark arrives. Along with Kraft, he stealthily kills or captures them all, but not before Crane and his men kill some of the Hendley Associates’ staff, including Sam Granger. Kovalenko arrives: he is supposed to get the data downloaded from the servers after Crane secures the building. But Clark captures him instead.
Jack Ryan, Jr. and Yao cross over from Hong Kong to the mainland of China. They get a message to Foley about where Center’s headquarters is. She, in turn, tells President Ryan and a plan to bomb the building is prepared.
Chavez, Caruso, and Granger have traveled to China to meet the people Foley told Ryan about: a group of government dissenters that call themselves Pathway to Liberty. Now Clark joins them, taking with him Crane and the other man he captured in the attack on Hendley Associates. He meets up with the other Campus men and the members of Pathway to Liberty, and they plan an attack on Su’s motorcade.
As Yao and Ryan are keeping an eye on Center’s headquarters from the distance, American bombers attack it. They start to flee the area and see that one of the planes is shot down. They drive to the area, find the pilot and help him escape.
The Campus men and the Pathway to Liberty fighters attack Su’s motorcade, kill Su and the men with him. With that, the military escalation in the South China Sea is stalled. The Politburo Standing Committee in China sends troops to capture Wei, and Wei kills himself to avoid a worse fate. Clark lets Kovalenko go. Ryan and Kraft coerce Lipton to resign from the FBI. Kraft resigns from her CIA job and moves away, ending her relationship with Ryan.