The first and [[FirstInstallmentWins most famous]] novel by Creator/TomClancy, first published in 1984. It is the fourth novel to take place chronologically in the [[Literature/JackRyan Ryanverse]].

It's a ColdWar tale of the fictional [[CoolBoat "Typhoon" class missile submarine]] ''Krasniy Oktyabr'' ("Red October"). The sub has an experimental ducted tunnel drive, which allows it to run more quietly than any other ship at sea; effectively making it nigh-invisible to sonar detection. On its first deployment, Captain Marko Ramius murders his political officer, taking his [[TwoKeyedLock set of keys]] for the ''October'''s nuclear missiles. Conspiring with his senior officers, Ramius notifies his crew that they will be testing the ship by evading both the U.S. and Soviet navies to reach the eastern coast of the United States itself....

Not desiring to lose their sub or the secret of the "caterpillar drive", the Soviets send their surface and attack-sub fleets after it, an amount of activity that's suspicious to the other side.

The Americans must find the sub before it is destroyed, assuming that CIA analyst Jack Ryan is right that the officers plan to defect -- as opposed to just [[ANuclearError unilaterally launching their missiles]]...

The ''Typhoon''-class submarine is real, and the largest submarine in the world. The submarine in the story, though, is quite considerably different to its real-life counterpart, to the point where they can't really be considered the same vessel, mainly because of its fictional "silent" propulsion system and due to a lot of details of the ''Typhoon''s having been classified at the time.

The [[Film/TheHuntForRedOctober 1990 film adaptation]] stars Creator/SeanConnery, playing the Lithuanian captain Marko Ramius, and Alec Baldwin, playing Jack Ryan.

!!The book contains examples of:

* AntiMutiny: The GRU mole, placed there as a final line of defense against an act of barratry or defection.
* ArbitraryMinimumRange: Russian torpedoes have a safety feature that will only arm the torpedo when it is a safe distance away from the ship that fired it. Captain Ramius knows this so he [[spoiler:steers his submarine toward an incoming torpedo so the torpedo does not have time to arm itself and bounces harmlessly off the sub's hull]]. The pursuing sub then deactivates the safety feature for its next shot so the torpedo no longer has a minimum range.
* AwesomenessByAnalysis: Sonarman 1/C Jones. In just a few hours, he finds a way to beat the ''Red October'''s top secret stealth propulsion system and track the sub.
* BadassBookworm: Jack Ryan: CIA academic and retired Marine, with a doctorate in history.
* BadassBureaucrat: Jack Ryan starts as this. He is considered completely incorruptible and can figure out any [[FogOfWar riddle]] that [[GambitPileup international politics]] can bring to bear.
* BasedOnATrueStory: the story was inspired by a real-life mutiny on board a Soviet frigate (the ''Storozhevoy'', mentioned in the book) in 1975, but differs in several key respects from it. Most notably in that Valery Sablin (the real-life mutineer) was attempting to ignite a second, anti-Stalinist bolshevik revolution, rather than flee to the west in his lust for blue jeans and Coca-Cola.
* BatmanGambit: Much of the defecting officers' plans relied on one of these, by instilling paranoia in the crew through radiation tests, refusal to inform the enlisted crew of the situation and other suspicious activities, to the point where the crew would gladly [[AbandonShip leave the ship to be scuttled]] without asking too many questions.
* BotheringByTheBook: The President had the Attorney General dig up some precedents in maritime law that would have granted America the right to keep the ''Red October'' until such time as the Russians paid the US Government a finder's fee as determined by a salvage court -- which had a one year backlog of cases to go through before even attempting to assess how much the Russians would have to fork over to get their sub back. However, since the Navy and CIA worked out a plan to trick the Russians into thinking that the ''Red October'' had been destroyed, this scheme never got past the planning stage.
* BunnyEarsLawyer: Jones is described as weird even by Navy sub sonarman standards.
* TheCaptain: Bart Mancuso of the USS ''Dallas'', and Marko Ramius of the ''Red October''.
* ChekhovsGunman: Loginov, the cook's assistant who witnessed Ramius taking the political officer's keys, [[spoiler:is the GRU sleeper agent]].
* ChromosomeCasting
* CIAEvilFBIGood: Mostly averted though it is acknowledged that the CIA does some DirtyBusiness.
* TheConsigliere: Jeffrey Pelt is the President's National Security Advisor.
* CrusadingWidower: The last straw turning Ramius against the Soviet Union was that a surgeon who was drunk while on duty accidentally killed his wife and suffered no repercussions because his father was a high-ranking Party official.
* DaddysGirl: Jack Ryan always remembers to get his daughter a present, even when busy saving the world.
* DamageControl: The sub takes damage in a fight with another sub and has to be repaired.
* DeathByFallingOver: How Ramius disposes of Putin.
* DefectorFromDecadence: See ItsPersonal.
* ExcessiveSteamSyndrome: The Soviet officers mention a cook who tried cleaning his pots and pans with steam from the primary coolant loop (read: ''radioactive'' steam) for the ship's reactor and ended up killing himself and irradiating the entire engine compartment. "I bet he got his pans cleaned, though. They may even be safe to use in another fifty years."
** Not so much a joke as it might seem. The same story, minus irradiating the engine compartment, is related in ''Crash Dive,'' edited by Larry Bond. In the vignette, ''Accident on K-219,'' a crewman of the ''K-219'' recalls this story involving an unsuspecting cook aboard the Soviet icebreaker ''Lenin'' who did, in fact, use steam from the reactor coolant system to clean his pans. The vignette was composed with the input of former Soviet captain Igor Kurdin, so it may well have happened.[[note]]Or he may have fallen victim to urban legends, too.[[/note]]
* EveryoneKnowsMorse: {{Justified|Trope}}: the British Signals Officer is the one who sends the message via blinker from HMS ''Invincible'' to the ''Red October''. It is described as a slow and rather jerky process since the officer is a bit rusty at it. On the other hand, Ramius knowing Morse is entirely believable, since he's from an older school of military.
* {{Expy}}: Andre Narmonov is one for Soviet premier Konstantin Chernenko; when he died 11 months after taking office, later novels would turn him into an expy of Gorbachev.
* AFatherToHisMen: Ramius and his wife, in the backstory that is given, are said to have taken junior officers in as the children that they never had.
* FeedTheMole: The CIA uses [[spoiler:Henderson]] to feed the KGB false data about the operation to acquire the eponymous submarine of the novel.
* FourStarBadass: Admiral Greer
* HeroicSacrifice: Played with in that [[spoiler:the crew of the ''Red October'' end up believing Ramius and the officers scuttled the sub to prevent its capture by the Americans.]]
* HistoryMarchesOn: The fall of the Iron Curtain led to the revelation that a number of Clancy's guesses about the Soviet stuff were completely wrong:
** The ''Storozhevoy'', the RealLife basis for the story, is mentioned in the novel as attempting to defect to the West. The political officer who led the mutiny (and was later shot) was actually attempting to mimic the actions of the ''Avrora'' in 1917: sail into Leningrad, denounce the cronyism of the Brezhnev regime, and demand reform among Leninist lines.
** Many technical details about the ''Red October'' and the ''Typhoon'' class in general, such as the unique internal arrangement of these vessels (practically two big submarines and three minisubs connected inside an outer shell), the number of reactors and the lack of a missile room, which would have invalidated several plot points. There are similar problems with his depiction of the ''Alfa'' class.
** ''[[ThePoliticalOfficer Zampoliti]]'' didn't have authority over combat matters, were strictly subordinate to the commanding officer, and functioned similarly to a chaplain in a Western military.
** Most Soviet vessels weren't named; then again, ''The Hunt for K-139'' doesn't really sing or dance.
** The reactor accident that sinks the first Alfa would be impossible; they used a liquid metal cooled nuclear reactor that wasn't pressurized, and any leaking coolant would simply have frozen, sealing the leak. Ironically, the use of a liquid metal plant rather than an American-style pressurized water reactor is mentioned as a faulty guess by U.S. military intelligence.
** The "Crazy Ivan" was a real maneuver. Its existence was highly classified when the book was written; Clancy had figured it out himself. However, it had by and large been rendered obsolete by the use of towed-array sonar equipment, which was also classified at the time.
* HotSubOnSubAction
* IfIWantedYouDead: The Americans, being understandably nervous about the Soviet fleet off their shores, give them several such moments, with the SugarWiki/CrowningMomentOfAwesome being [[spoiler:having four A-10 Warthogs zoom in under the radar horizon and box the ''Kirov'' with flares]].
** At first, the Americans are scared Ramius might be getting in range of his nuclear missiles in an attempt to single-handedly start a nuclear war. It's quickly pointed out that his missiles are perfectly capable of doing so from where he undocked: "He's had six days to do it and he hasn't done it." See ANuclearError below.
* InformedFlaw: Ivan Putin is characterized as an evil man with no conscience; he only appears in a single chapter of the book, during which he exhibits none of these tendencies. His biggest sin is simply being annoying and blathering on about how pretty Gorky is in the winter.
* ItsPersonal: Ramius' main motive was to punish the state for the fact that [[CrusadingWidower his wife had died]] in a botched operation directed by a surgeon who had got the job from [[UpperClassTwit Party Patronage]].
** Not only was his wife's routine operation botched, but the "antibiotics" given to correct the botch were Soviet-manufactured "bonus" drugs. (In Clancy's version of the USSR at least, the workers are given a bonus for exceeding quota, and those products produced just to make quota were often poor or fraudulent, bypassing quality control completely). Further, what he considers the greatest crime is the State's suppression of religion that robbed him of "the hope, even if it ''was'' a lie", of seeing his wife again.
*** Several of Ramius' officers have similar stories of being screwed over and subjected to indignities by the state. One was repeatedly denied promotion for ''decades'' because his parents, despite being loyal Communists, were Jewish; another was sexually propositioned by a superior officer, and was subsequently ''punished'' for reporting the impropriety because the man was the son of an extremely high-ranking party official.
* MakeItLookLikeAnAccident: One of first actions taken by Ramius is to break Ivan Putin's neck and then set it up to look like he slipped on spilled tea and fell backwards into the corner of a table. This is largely done to fool Doctor Petrov and the enlisted men so that they would not discover the officers' plans.
* MrExposition: Melekhin, the officer in charge of the nuclear power plant aboard ''Red October''. As one of his subordinates thinks, he's the slowest and most methodical man in the world when he's trying to demonstrate an important point. His detection and repair of the supposed "sabotage" and radiation leak is accompanied by a detailed lecture to the subordinate in question as to how it was done and why this "leak" was so hard to find.
* MrFixit: Skip Tyler
* TheMutiny: Inverted. An American officer calls it a mutiny, only to be told that "mutiny" is when the crew rises against officers. When the ''officers'' try to steal their ship, the correct term is "barratry".
* NerdsAreSexy: It's stated that Jonesy, despite not being hugely attractive, gets a lot of "action" on shore leave.
* ANuclearError: {{Averted|Trope}} -- it's [[DiscussedTrope specifically stated]] that A) if he had wanted to and were capable of doing so, Ramius could have launched from the dockside and his missiles would still have enough range to hit the U.S. and B) Soviet controls against a rogue launch are even stricter than their NATO equivalents.
* OhCrap: Several cases, but one of the most justifiable was the reaction of the crew of the ''Dallas'' when [[spoiler: the nuclear missile the GRU mole attempted to sabotage was jettisoned, causing them to worry that the ''October'' was ''launching'' said missile.]]
* ThePoliticalOfficer
* RammingAlwaysWorks: Justified by ''Red October'' lacking enough manpower to fire torpedoes and Ramius' expert knowledge of how Soviet submarines handle (and their commanders behave), being effectively the submarine captain version of a test pilot for new designs. And because they plan to dissect the sub anyway so a little damage is less of a big deal.
* ReportingNames: A Soviet officer is asked what his sub is actually called and doesn't answer -- in case you wanted to know, a ''Project 671'', known to NATO as the "Alfa".
* RupturedAppendix: Due to drunkenness while on duty, a surgeon botched removing an inflamed appendix from the wife of [[spoiler:Marko Ramius]], the organ bursting because the doctor took too long to try to sober up by breathing pure oxygen.[[note]]The wife's death at the hands of a doctor that [[ScrewTheRulesIHaveConnections couldn't be punished because he was the son of a senior Party official]] is what drives [[spoiler:Captain Ramius]] to defect.[[/note]]
* SavingChristmas: What a time for a possible WorldWarIII!
-->'''Capt. Randall Tait:''' ''[thinking]'' A missile sub right off our coast, and all this activity in the North Atlantic... Christmas season. Dear God! If they were going to do it, they ''would'' do it right now, wouldn't they?
* ScrewTheRulesIHaveConnections: A Soviet doctor who was [[VodkaDrunkenski drunk on duty]] botched what should have been a simple appendix removal. Being the son of a senior party official, he remained unpunished for the violation of the rules and the death resulting in it. [[spoiler:This is part of what drove Ramius to defect, as the victim was his wife.]]
* ShownTheirWork: The portrayal of submarine life and submarine warfare is pretty realistic -- in some cases, too realistic, as some of the technology got Clancy a visit from the government to find out how he knew about it, as it was classified top secret at the time.
* TheSmartGuy: Submarine warfare is probably the geekiest form of war yet invented by mankind and this book is practically an orgy of smartness. Nevertheless Seaman Jones the sonarman is closest to the classic model, with the Executive Officer of the ''Dallas'' mentally commenting that Seaman Jones has the highest IQ on the boat by a healthy margin.
* StockBritishPhrases: Clancy's attempts at writing dialogue for the British characters [[DidNotDoTheBloodyResearch fall short of reality]].
** Near the end, [[spoiler: Mancuso, aboard the ''Red October'', impersonates a British officer over the radio, just to throw off any nearby snoops wondering what an obviously non-American sub is doing in Chesapeake Bay at four in the morning]].
* TheStrategist: Ramius, whose plan sets everything in motion. Jeffrey Pelt, Admiral Greer, and to some degree Jack Ryan. And the unnamed President.
* TechnologyPorn: Several pieces of military hardware in the US (and Russian, to a lesser extent) get paragraphs of description.
* TechnoWizard: Seaman Jones
* TitleDrop: "'We will find him and finish him,' Tupolev said calmly, fully caught up in the hunt for Red October."
* YourPrincessIsInAnotherCastle: The eponymous Hunt is called off about 80% through after the ''October'''s apparent going down. Cue [[spoiler:a lingering Soviet attack sub]].