On a routine intelligence gathering mission in Tehran, Jack Ryan, Jr., has lunch with his oldest friend, Seth Gregory, an engineer overseeing a transcontinental railway project. As they part, Seth slips Jack a key, along with a perplexing message.
The next day Jack is summoned to an apartment where two men claim Seth has disappeared—gone to ground with funds for a vital intelligence operation. Jack's oldest friend has turned, they insist.
They leave Jack with a warning: If you hear from Seth Gregory, call us immediately. And do not get involved.
But they don't know Jack. He won't abandon a friend in need.
His pursuit of the truth will lead him across Iran, through the war-torn Caucasus, and finally deep into territory coveted by the increasingly aggressive Russian Federation. Along the way, Jack is joined by Seth's primary agent, Ysabel, a enigmatic Iranian woman who is his only clue to Seth's whereabouts.
Jack soon finds himself lost in a maze of intrigue, lies, and betrayal where no one is who they seem to be—not even Seth, who's harboring a secret of his own that harkens back to the Cold War. A secret that is driving him to the brink of treachery.
Racing against the clock, Jack must unravel the mystery: Who is friend and who is foe? Before it's over, Jack Ryan, Jr., may have to choose between his loyalty to Seth and his loyalty to America.
Jack Ryan, Jr. is in Tehran to see how the recent change in leadership is affecting the society there. He meets an old friend at a cafe by the name of Seth Gregory. After some chit-chat, Gregory leaves in a hurry, but invites Ryan to come by his apartment whenever he is in town, and leaves a key. As he is leaving he says that there are “steaks in the freezer”.
The next day Ryan is visited in his hotel by Raymond Wellesley of British intelligence. Wellesley claims that he, Gregory and Matthew Spellman with American intelligence were working on some kind of operation when Gregory abandoned them, taking their operational fund. They seem suspicious of Ryan and have lots of questions for him. They warn Ryan to stay away from Gregory.
Ryan goes to Gregory’s apartment, but someone knocks Ryan out and abducts him. Ryan wakes up to find that two men are taking him somewhere in a van. Ryan manages to break free and escape out the back. Just as the men are about to come back and chase after Ryan, a woman in a car pulls up imploring Ryan to get in, and they race away from the abductors.
The woman’s name is Ysabel Kashani and she has been working with Gregory for some time. Together they return to Gregory's apartment and check the freezer. They find the combination to a safe with the steaks. They locate the safe in the apartment and find a large folder inside. They go to Kashani’s apartment and open the folder to find a bunch of decades-old typewritten documents in Cyrillic. Kashani tells Ryan that she knows of another person Gregory was working with, someone named Ervaz. Ryan asks more about Kashani’s connection to Gregory. She says she is part of a university group that speculates on what is going on in the Russian government and what they might be planning next.
Kashani and Ryan trace the van that was used to abduct Ryan to an electrician's shop. The store owner claims the van was stolen but Kashani spies it behind the shop. Ryan e-mails Ervaz, asking him to contact them. They text Gregory to set up a meeting in a public place. Ryan prepares for an ambush and at the meeting it is not Gregory that shows up but one of the men that abducted Ryan before. Just as Ryan is about to lead the man away at gunpoint to question him, the man is killed by a sniper.
In Edinburgh, Scotland, three men and a woman in a van are following a university student and her friends. Once Amy (the student) is alone, they abduct her. The later realize that they have the wrong person, and debate what they should do with her. They later find their real target, another young woman named Amy, and start following her. They abduct her while she is walking home from a bus stop.
Ryan goes back to the electrician’s shop at night and breaks in. He looks over the files and e-mails on the office computer and sees that there were several e-mails exchanged with Farid Rasulov on the day that they had previously visited the shop that refer to Kashani and the van. Ryan enlists the help of Gavin Biery at the headquarters of The Campus, who looks into the e-mail address for Rasulov. They realize that his e-mail address and that of Ervaz seem to have the same point if origin, meaning Ervaz had a hand in Ryan’s earlier abduction. Ervaz replies back to the earlier e-mail that Ryan sent, saying he wants to meet with them at a farmhouse near the Azerbaijan border.
Ryan and Kashani head to the meeting with Ervaz, prepared for trouble. Ervaz is there with two other men. Just as Ryan starts talking with Ervaz he receives a text from Gregory telling him to run. Just as an unknown SUV approaches them all, the men with Ervaz draw their weapons and a gunfight ensues. At the end, Ervaz and his men are dead and Ryan meets the men in the SUV: Gregory and Spellman.
Gregory and Spellman take Ryan and Kashani across the border into Azerbaijan and meet with Rebaz Medzhid, Dagestan’s Ministry of the Interior. They explain that they are in the process of staging a coup in Dagestan, and that the folder Ryan recovered from the safe is the plan Gregory has been using to prepare for the coup. Medzhid reveals that his daughter Aminat Medzhid (who goes by Amy) has been kidnapped (the university student in Edinburgh). He tells the group that he wants them to rescue his daughter and prove that they had nothing to do with the kidnapping, or he will abandon the plan for the coup. Gregory also reveals that the man claiming to be Ervaz that was killed was not really Ervaz. The real Ervaz is an SVR agent named Oleg Pechkin.
Ryan consults with Biery and after some investigation they find that the original girl that was kidnapped in Edinburgh has been found and is in a hospital. Ryan travels to Edinburgh and visits her. Some clues she provides lead him eventually to CCTV footage of Aminat being kidnapped.
Biery hacks Pechkin’s e-mails and discovers that after the shootout at the farmhouse, Pechkin sent an e-mail to a mobile phone in Scotland. Biery checks the recent activity of the mobile phone he was tracing and narrows the location down to a particular neighborhood. After some further analysis Ryan and Biery narrow the search down to a few particular houses. Ryan surveils the houses and finds the one the kidnappers are in. Ryan sneaks in and finds Aminat. While leaving they are discovered. Ryan kills one abductor and incapacitates the other two, including the leader, Helen. She is wounded and before she dies, Ryan questions her. Helen had realized that Pechkin would harm Aminat and had decided not to take her to Pechkin. She gives Ryan a lead to her associate named Dobromir, then dies.
Ryan and Aminet meet the rest of the group at Medzhid’s hotel in Baku. They find out that the media ran a smear story against Medzhid claiming that during his time as a district deputy commander he was responsible for the killing of civilians some years before and the subsequent cover-up. According to the story one of Medzhid’s former team members has come forward to testify. Medzhid, Spellman and Gregory head to Dagestan while Ryan and Kashani go to meet Dobromir. Dobromir describes the man who gave them the kidnapping job and the description matches that of Wellesley. He also gives them the address of an apartment that he followed Wellesley to once. Ryan and Kashani then escape as police arrive at Dobromir’s place, led by Captain Osin, but are later tracked down by the police and captured. The commander of the police for the district interviews them and says that Osin claims that Ryan killed Dobromir. At Ryan’s behest, he contacts Medzhid, who advises the commander to cooperate with Ryan and Kashani. They find out that Osin was acting under Pechkin’s direction and they get Osin’s mobile number to use against Pechkin.
Ryan realizes that because police showed up at Dobromir’s place that there is a mole amongst them: either Gregory, Spellman, Medzhid’s bodyguards or Medzhid himself. Ryan calls The Campus and provides an update. Gerry Hendley and John Clark tell Ryan that they are sending Dominic Caruso to back him up. At a press conference, Medzhid announces that his staff have discovered who the supposed witness is to the massacre years ago: a sergeant named Pavel Koikov. Medzhid sends men to watch Koikov’s house. Meanwhile Biery sends a text to Pechkin using Osin's number, asking for a meeting.
Later Ryan gets a call from Spellman saying the men watching Koikov’s house are not answering. Ryan drives over to investigate and witnesses two men abduct Koikov. Ryan and the group fear that Wellesley is behind the abduction and may try to take Koikov somewhere and kill him, making it look like Medzhid did it. Knowing what they know about Wellesley, they guess at several possible locations and eventually find Koikov at an abandoned prison. Ryan, Caruso and Spellman go to the prison and stealthily search for Koikov. They are discovered and a firefight ensues. Ultimately they rescue Koikov and capture the leader of the men that were holding him.
Biery looks into the apartment address that Dobromir provided and finds that it is government-owned. He also gets a response from Pechkin and they set up a meeting. Ryan and the group maneuver Pechkin into an ambush. After a car chase and gun battle, Pechkin is killed. Ryan takes Pechkin’s phone.
Ryan and the group then go to the address that Dobromir provided. They break in and find what appears to be a small control center with several computers set up. They search the computers and find a file with a distinct set of letters and numbers. They then return to Medzhid’s residence. Ryan has decided that one of Medzhid's bodyguards must be the mole and the next day they set up a trap to see which one it is. Using Pechkin’s phone they call the number of the person they think is the mole and one of the bodyguards, Anton, answers. Spellman makes a move to protect Medzhid and Anton starts to pull his gun, but is gunned down.
Biery figures out that the file with the distinct letters and numbers are coordinates. They also realize that most of the coordinates refer to the locations of the internet hubs they plan to use during the coup, but some of the coordinates they do not recognize. After more investigation the team at The Campus realize that the remaining coordinates are where Wellesley and his group plan to place equipment that will sabotage the internet hubs: armored trucks called Krasukhas that have the ability to send powerful electronic signals and a boat that will perform targeting from the nearby lake. When they go to the coordinates to look for the trucks and don’t find them, they determine that Wellesley must be storing them in some type of warehouse nearby to be deployed once the coup is underway. Kashani finds a clue on Pechkin’s phone: they are being stored at a nearby branch of Hamrah Engineering.
Ryan and the group go to the warehouse at Hamrah Engineering and find armored vehicles called Krasukhas that are used in electronic warfare. At a loss for how to disable them, they split up. Ryan and Caruso drive their Suburban up the trail that the trucks need to use to get into position. They set it ablaze and send it down the trail toward the approaching Krasukhas, disabling two of them. Then after a short firefight with the men driving the Krasukhas they flee the area and join Spellman at the docks. They get a boat and start looking for the boat that is doing the targeting for the remaining Krasukhas. They find it and sink it.
Ryan and the others head to the Ministry of the Interior building to rejoin Medzhid. Russia’s President Valeri Volodin sends border garrison troops to Makhachala under the pretense of restoring order, but in actuality he wants to put down the coup attempt and keep the puppet government in Dagestan in place. Kashani tells Ryan that while he was away she checked Anton’s (the dead bodyguard's) phone. She realized that it really belonged to Medzhid’s other bodyguard, Vasim, and that somehow he caught wind that they were on to him and switched phones with Anton. There is a confrontation, Vasim pulls his gun and aims for Medzhid. Gregory intervenes and is killed, and Medzhid is injured.
With their ability to communicate with the outside world partly sabotaged by the electronic warfare attack, the coup is faltering. Medzhid decides on one last gambit: take several hundred unarmed troops out to block the way of the incoming border garrison troops to prevent them from coming to Makhachala and taking over. They find a portion of the road where the border garrison troops will not be able to drive around them and block the road. The leader of the border garrison troops, Colonel Lobanov, speaks with Medzhid. Medzhid appeals to Lobanov as a fellow Dagestani, suggesting that he is being manipulated by the Russians and that the Colonel should take his force and go back the way he came, reporting to his superiors that he found no disturbance in Makhachala. The Colonel agrees.
Ryan, Caruso and Kashani find Wellesley as he is about to leave the country. The team at The Campus has found evidence that Wellesley has misused government funds and provided the evidence to the British. As Wellesley is about to get on his plane he is arrested by British agents.