The ninth Jack Ryan novel written by Tom Clancy, and the tenth one chronologically, it was published in 1998 and takes place in 2000.Legendary CIA operative John Clark creates an international counter-terrorism taskforce named RAINBOW. Composed of American, British, French and German soldiers, RAINBOW is the cream of the crop. Little do they know that their first few terrorist attacks are masterminded by a sinister corporation with designs that threaten the lives of everyone on Earth. Only John Clark (AKA Rainbow Six), his son-in-law Domingo "Ding" Chavez and the RAINBOW teams can prevent the end of the world as we know it.Originally not related to the series of games by the same name, it was decided during development to base them on Tom Clancy's upcoming book. Both versions (including the first game's remake, Shadow Vanguard) feature a similar plot, though obviously the book offers more detail, including the point of view of the villains.
Rainbow Six offers examples of:
Affably Evil: Dmitriy Arkadeyevich Popov is very polite, even-tempered and enjoys a good conversation despite being responsible for three terrorist attacks that he was paid to instigate. Most of the members of the Project can be considered this as well.
Blasting It out of Their Hands: To a degree. Dieter Weber shoots the machine pistol a terrorist is holding, which doesn't knock it out of the terrorist's hands, but renders it unusable. It's noted that it's not to non-lethally knock it away (it hurts the terrorist), but it's to line him up for a gut shot in revenge for executing a small child.
Earlier in the book, it is noted that this is explicitly against Rainbow policy as it is assumed that Terrorists carry back ups (often a grenade). And indeed, Ding chews both snipers out on this later, even if he understands why Dieter did it.
Boom, Headshot: Rainbow soldiers are trained to aim for the head when hostages are present. They also shoot people in the head as a matter of practicality (the only time they aim for the torso is in the finale).
Sole exception prior to the finale: one of the Rainbow snipers shoots a terrorist in the liver, leaving him to die a slow and painful death. This terrorist is the same one who murdered the little girl in the wheelchair, so it's quite clear why he did it. He is chastised only slightly afterward, because if he could aim that precisely, he should have got the guy in the knee so they could interrogate him.
Bury Your Gays: "Fabian", implied to be Ernst Model's homosexual lover, is killed by Popov when the later returns to Model's hideout for the money. While the fact that their relationship is only a guess on Popov's part, Popov's suspicions that the two are gay lovers actually makes it easier for him to murder Fabian in cold blood for the money as he has "no love for people of that orientation".
BFG: Franklin's McMillan Tac-50 anti-materiel rifle is used to decapitate an IRA member and disable their escape vehicle.
Oso's M60 machine gun, which he laments he never gets to use. He only ever gets to shoot out windows with it.
Corrupt Corporate Executive: Played with - John Brightling isn't corrupted, and is honest in dealings and making pharmaceuticals that work. He also wants to murder the Earth via horrible virus.
Curb-Stomp Battle: In the book's climax, the ecoterrorists send out untrained, inadequately armed squads of men against a crack counterterrorist team with sensors capable of pinpointing their exact location. The Rainbow guys don't even take a hit.
Death by Sex: Part of the villains' testing of their lethal-if-not-vaccinated biological agent involves getting uninfected captives to have sex with infected ones while both sides are drugged with aphrodisiacs. True to form, said virus can be spread by intercourse.
Elites Are More Glamorous: Rainbow is made up of Special Forces commandos from around the world (Navy SEALs, Army Rangers, Green Berets, Mossad, Special Air Service, GSG-9, and Delta Force)
Even Evil Has Standards: Popov will organize terrorist attacks, get people who trust him killed, murder, and steal, but even he balks at The Project's plan - despite being safe from it, this prompts his Heel-Face Turn, shooting the Horizon exec who told him this and running to warn Clark and Rainbow of what they are planning.
He also makes sure Clark understands that he had nothing to do with the attack on the amusement park, which resulted in the death of a little girl.
Clark says, in the wake of the IRA ambush on the Rainbow compound, all the Irish investigators involved who were sympathetic to Irish independence weren't as sympathetic when they found out this this branch of the IRA ran drugs.
Evil Inc.: Horizon; however, this is revealed in the epilogue to have only been the case with the top executives, as after they are gone, Horizon goes on to produce an effective method of stopping heart attacks and age-delaying medication.
A Fate Worse Than Death: The Horizon executives get to experience the wonderful jungle without any tools (or clothes!) as a means to commune with nature. Clark notes that jungle survival is tough as nails for him, a hardened Navy vet, even with state-of-the-art survival gear, and gives them a month to live, tops. Sure enough, satellite recon shows none of them got out of the jungle.
One of the IRA terrorists gets his face scraped off when the van he's in is overturned.
After the Bern Mission, Dr. Below explains to Chavez the difference between "Bad Terrorists" - like the one they just faced, and "Good Terrorists". The good ones believe in their ideology in much the same way an adult at church does, and are far more careful about how they approach a task, but devoted to what they do and go all in. The very next group of Terrorists Rainbow faces, of course, matches that exact definition.
After the mission at the mansion, and with now two successful missions and no casualties (during Rainbow's involvement), Ding feels pretty good. Dr. Below and Clark both warn him that the day may come where he has to let the terrorists kill a hostage, because the situation doesn't allow them to act without risking more casualties. This happens in the next mission, where a child hostage is executed while Ding and Covington are scouting the area right around the corner.
Fun with Acronyms: M.I.C.E, which stands for Money, Ideology, Conscience and Ego, the motivating factors that drive people to action. Popov looks into this in regards to his boss and discovers that he is truly complicated.
Hero of Another Story: Covington and Team-1. Most of Team-1 go unnamed. Covington himself gets to assist in a few incidents And gets ambushed by the bad guy along with Team-1.
Hypocrite: The ecoterrorists have this in spades, with relentless lampshading. As just one example, they have chosen the Hummer, one of the most fuel inefficient vehicles in existence, as their main mode of transportation for their bases in Kansas and Manaus, Brazil. Considering that these people supposedly love nature so much, you'd think they'd pick something more economical.
There's also the fact that they denounce modern human life as being at odds with pure, good nature, yet seemingly think nothing of the fact that they benefit from modern human innovation. For instance, their headquarters weren't made from tar and twigs, after all. Being villains, they probably Hand Wave this as a necessary evil to achieve their goals. They do explicitly note that they don't personally have to be as careful with nature, since the "large-scale" destruction won't be going on much longer.
And, of course, the Irish Terrorists claim to be anti-drug, but they deal cocaine as a way of funding their operations.
Idiot Ball: The ecoterrorists flee the U.S. for South America, looking to stay out of American hands long enough to bring a legal defense into play, despite the fact that being inside the US was their only protection against being hunted down by the military, who have far fewer restrictions than American law enforcement. For example, they aren't required to read you your Miranda rights before leaving you in the jungle to die.
Rainbow itself has one. Before the IRA attack, Rainbow gets a conversation between the head spook of the UK Russian Embassy and his superior mentioning that Popov is looking up Clark and RAINBOW. They also have a picture of whom they are fairly certain is Popov (it is). They also have Popov's full name and know he's a retired KGB guy who handled terrorists. After the IRA attack, the surviving terrorists mention that they were hired by a man called Serov, who's first & middle names are very close (And share initials) with Popov. None of them ever consider linking the two investigation and make the link that Serov is Popov. No, the mystery is unraveled when Popov tells Clark.
I Have Your Wife: the IRA terrorists take Clark and Chavez's wives hostage at the hospital they work in.
Invisible President: Despite this taking placing during Ryan's presidency, he does not appear or get mentioned by name. He is only referred to as 'The President'. Despite this, it's pretty clear that he is the president in question, as some political appointees he selected during Executive Orders do appear in the book, as are references to the events in that novel.
In one scene, Dan Murray refers to the President as "Jack" but does not say his last name.
Karmic Death: The villains are ecoterrorist nuts who believe Earth would be better off without evil humans destroying everything with war and pollution. They construct a survival compound in the South American rainforest and plan to sit out the apocalypse they have set into motion. In the end, Rainbow destroys their base and leaves them stranded in the wilderness they loved so much to fend for themselves. The epilogue suggests this didn't end well for them.
Karma Houdini: Popov. Despite getting people that trusted him killed, and despite organizing the death of several Team-1 members, he gets away unpunished. In fact, he becomes rich(er), thanks to taking over a ranch from one of the Horizon executives.
Lightning Bruiser: Oso is often mentioned as being the largest, most musclebound member of RAINBOW yet Ding often notices how this does not slow him at all, or make him any less nimble. As a terrorist learns when Oso comes down a rope, kicking a window and landing on top of him in perfect balance before punching then shooting said terrorist dead.
Littlest Cancer Patient: The terrorists at the theme park specifically launched the attack for this purpose, to pressure the French into releasing their worst prisoners, even killing a sick girl to stop Rainbow from launching a rescue effort and threaten to kill more if their unreasonable demands are not met, to the point of not allowing time for them to be met. Dieter and Homer plan to shoot the terrorist responsible for the girl's death in the stomach, Ding halfheartedly calls them out on it and John allows it when he's worked it out, but brings up them acting out of policy as a matter of course.
Mauve Shirt: Team-1, to Team-2. Only a handful of them are named, and those with names are either fine or simply injured during the PIRA ambush.
Mugging the Monster: Early in the novel, terrorists attempt to hijack a plane transporting three Rainbow operatives: Former US Navy SEAL, former British SAS, and former US Army Special Forces, respectively. They're also licensed to carry firearms on airplanes.
The PIRA terrorists who are tasked with killing the members of RAINBOW - a multinational anti-terrorist task force. It ends up for them as well as it sounds - though they do kill a few Team-1 members (none of them named characters) and injure some others.
Multinational Team: The titular Rainbow organization. Just as well - they're specifically an international anti-terror team, who appear when countries can't send in their own special forces for any reason.
No Such Agency: Officially all Rainbow's operations were performed by special forces units loyal to the country they occurred in. Unfortunately various commonalities between the operations eventually lead Popov to the realization that they're all one unit.
Omnicidal Maniac: John Brightling. He believes human civilization is doomed to collapse within a century anyway, so he plots to hasten its demise with a genetically-engineered Ebola outbreak.
Pay Evil unto Evil: Homer's shooting of the terrorist in the liver for the murder of the girl in the wheelchair. Gut shots are extremely painful, and the team is disappointed when the medics apply painkillers to the wound.
Early in the novel, Clark and Stanley relate the story of an Ethiopian airline that was hijacked by terrorists. The Ethiopian air marshals subdued the hijackers and cut their throats right on the plane. No one has ever messed with that airline since.
Pen-Pushing President: John Clark laments that he's a bureaucrat and not an elite counter-terrorism soldier like his men. Rainbow jumps out of helicopters and trains to put bullets between eyes with perfect accuracy, Rainbow Six sits at his desk and has to justify the dollar value of each bullet.
Readers Are Goldfish: The book has a tendency to repeat certain points over and over. Such as the villain's goals, or just how gosh darn elite the members of Rainbow are.
Real Person Cameo: Ilich Ramírez Sánchez (a.k.a Carlos the Jackal) appears as a minor character in the story. He tries to get his terrorist comrades to secure his release from prison by taking innocent people hostage. But thanks to RAINBOW they are unsuccessful.
Red Shirt: RAINBOW's only casualties are two members of Team-1, who are conveniently never named.
Redshirt Army: Only three members of Team-1 actually are named in the story, the rest are completely unnamed. And pretty much the only time Team-1's nameless members take part in the action, they get ambushed, several are injured or killed.
Renegade Russian: Popov, an intelligence mercenary of sorts who started being a "consultant" to terrorist groups after the USSR dissolved, manages to pull this off twice.
Sorting Algorithm of Evil: The Terrorists faced through the book fit the trope to a tee. Each subsequent terrorist raises the bar in terms of skill, danger posed, and even in terms of "Evil".
The first group of Terrorists in the prologue are so inept their plan had no chance of success, and were thwarted by equally unprepared people of superior skills.
Ernst Model is also inept, but more dangerous, and actually kills a hostage. Ultimately his own sociopathy and hair trigger temper are what sinks his own operation. He's taken out by Rainbow on their first mission and serves as a Warmup Boss to Ding, who at this point is struggling with confidence issues over his own command skills due to working with people with more solid anti-terrorist experience than him, like his own number 2 and the head of Team-1.
The couple later fit Dr. Below's earlier description of "Good Terrorists"; they are the first whom, ignoring their goals which they were tricked into by Popov, don't commit obvious tactical blunders and for the first time pose a challenge to Rainbow as they realize they forgot to acquire an helicopter, forcing them to improvise. While less kill crazy than Ernst, they have far more ideological dedication and thus will not even consider backing out. While Ernst killed when he lost his cool, these are ready to kill anything and anyone between them and their goal.
The Terrorists at the Amusement Park are again a step up, being the largest group encountered so far, and tied to a Real Life terrorist of known danger and skill (The Jackal). They show there are no lines they will not cross to accomplish their goals when they take sick children hostage and then execute one. They also pick the most complex locale for Rainbow to assault. For the first time both teams deploy.
The PIRA is a known terrorist group earlier used to build the Badass credentials of several Rainbow members who spent years fighting them. They also have even more members than the previous group. They target Rainbow itself, and are willing to resort to morally dubious plans to achieve this: targeting their families and hitting a hospital. They are defeated almost entirely through luck of Noonan having just acquired software to block cellphone communication, killing their ability to coordinate their forces, and their lack of knowledge that there are two Rainbow teams, not just one - so that when they ambush Team-1, they are unaware that Team-2 is just up the road. They push Team-2 to the limit, forcing them to go in without a plan at all.
Then the main villains, who seek to kill the entire human race (except themselves). They are only thwarted because their plans are so horrific Popov is willing to risk exposing himself to Rainbow and Clark (whose wife he had just arranged a mission against!) than let them complete their mission.
The Squad: Team-1 and Team-2. Especially the later.
Swiss Bank Account: Dmitri Popov sets up a Swiss Bank Account for the terrorists he's hired, as a secure way to transfer their payment to them. Once it becomes obvious that they're going to fail at the mission, he transfers all the money to an account he set up for himself.
The Fettered: Dr. Weiler, staff physician for Worldpark. The terrorist who killed the little girl in the wheelchair, who was shot in the liver and left to die slowly and painfully, is lying in front of him. Dr. Weiler treated that little girl and was enraged to the point of Tranquil Fury over her death. No one present will say a word if he just leaves the guy to die, or is even a little slow in responding. The good doctor hesitates exactly zero seconds before opening his medical bag and doing his best to save his patient's life, and after determining that his wounds are too severe to allow him any hope of survival, gives him a morphine shot so that he won't die in pain. One of the watching soldiers is both simultaneously disappointed that Dr. Weiler is doing anything other than letting the terrorist bastard suffer in agony and respecting the hell out of him for his personal integrity.
Too Dumb to Live: When they realize they have been found out, the Horizon executives flee to a South American compound. What do they do when they find out that Rainbow, a team of highly trained special forces soldiers are after them? Send out groups of men armed with hunting rifles and with zero combat experience (who are under the impression that their years of hunting game in woodland and savannah that is nothing like the jungle puts them on the level of a special forces sniper) into the jungle to hunt them down! What can possibly go wrong?
Extra dumb points are awarded for because in this continuity, the last group of people who attacked the US with biowarfare — very recently — set off a chain of events that ended with the US government making a public threat to use nuclear weapons if their terms of unconditional surrender were not immediately met, something the US government hasn't done since World War II. Brightling's group, which included a former senior supervisory special agent of the FBI and a former Presidential cabinet advisor, should not have for a nanosecond believed that refusal to surrender to law enforcement custody immediately would result in anything less than their certain deaths at the hands of a full-scale US military assault — which almost is what happens to them.
Twenty Minutes In The Future: One of the few novels that specifically tells us when it takes place, the events in the book happen largely through early- to mid-2000 and eventually center on the 2000 Sydney Summer Olympics.
Western Terrorists: The novel involves Spanish and French Fascists, German Communists, and the IRA who are all (except the fascists) being backed by an eco-terrorist corporation trying to unleash The End of the World as We Know It. There's also a Basque splinter group in the prologue.
The books is, in its vision of terrorist threat, very "90s". More concerned with the IRA and remnants of communist groups from the previous decade, and various regional independence armed groups. No mention is made of Islamic terrorism (Which wasn't exactly unknown at the time, the first World Trade Center attacks having occurred). Rainbow's training and entire philosophy is based around terrorists who take hostages to make demands or advance a point, and not those who, say, are solely concerned with killing as many innocents as possible. Ironically, the main villains in terms of methodology are much closer to this model. Still, reading this book post 9/11 is sort of jarring in its vision of what the world threat on terrorism in 2000 should've been.
Xanatos Gambit: Regardless of whether the eco-terrorist corporation backed terrorists succeeded or failed in their goals Horizon Corporation would still benefit (the real goal was to increase awareness of terrorism so Horizon would get the security contract for the Olympic Games where they planned to unleash the Shiva Virus)