Rainbow Six (novel)

Rainbow Six is a techno-thriller novel, written by Tom Clancy and released on August 3, 1998. It is the second book to primarily focus on John Clark, one of the recurring characters in the Jack Ryan universe, after Without Remorse (1993). Rainbow Six also features his son-in-law Domingo "Ding" Chavez, and explores the adventures of a multinational counter-terrorism unit that they formed, codenamed as Rainbow. The title refers to Clark's title as commander of Rainbow. The book debuted at number one on the New York Times bestseller list[1], and has since been adapted into a series of video games.

Rainbow Six
First edition cover
AuthorTom Clancy
CountryUnited States
SeriesJohn Clark
PublisherG.P. Putnam's Sons
Publication date
August 3, 1998
Media typePrint (Hardcover, Paperback)
Preceded byExecutive Orders 
Followed byThe Bear and the Dragon 

Plot summary

CIA operatives John Clark and Domingo Chavez join Special Air Service (SAS) officer Alistair Stanley in forming a secret multi-national counter-terrorist unit known as Rainbow. Based in Hereford, United Kingdom, the unit consists of a highly effective and cohesive pair of operational squads composed of elite soldiers from NATO countries, and is supplemented by intelligence and technological experts from MI6, Mossad, and FBI. Clark is the commanding officer, while Chavez leads one of the two squads.

The first deployment of Rainbow involves Chavez's squad in the rescue of hostages during a botched bank robbery in Bern, Switzerland. Several weeks later, they are deployed to Austria, where a group of left-wing German terrorists have taken over the schloss of a wealthy Austrian businessman in order to obtain imaginary "special access codes" to the international trading markets. Their third deployment involves a hostage situation in an amusement park in Spain, where a group of French terrorists loyal to Carlos the Jackal take a group of children hostage and threaten to kill them unless their patron is released.

Clark and his colleagues become suspicious about the recent, sudden increase in terrorist attacks. Unbeknownst to them, the first two attacks are part of a master plan to wipe out the majority of the human race, called "the Project". Dr. John Brightling, a staunch environmentalist who heads a biotechnology firm called the Horizon Corporation, had orchestrated the attacks through ex-KGB officer Dimitri Popov in order to raise awareness of terrorism, which then helps former FBI agent and co-conspirator Bill Henriksen's security firm land a contract during the Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia. From within the Olympic security apparatus, Henriksen plans to launch a sophisticated bioweapon attack using nanocapsules containing the Shiva virus, a mutated form of the Ebola virus that had been previously used by Iran during its biological attack on the U.S. (depicted in Executive Orders). After the epidemic starts at the conclusion of the games, Brightling's company would then distribute a vaccine that actually contains the virus itself, effectively killing the rest of the world's population that are not infected with Shiva. The "chosen few", having been provided with the real vaccine, would then inherit the emptied world, convinced of their justification for mass murder as "saving the world" from the encroachment of destructive humanity.

Popov, oblivious of the Project, learns about the existence of Rainbow. He is later tasked by Brightling and Henriksen with orchestrating an attack on the unit in order to discourage them from being deployed to the Sydney Olympics. He directs members of the Provisional Irish Republican Army to take over a hospital near Rainbow's base and take Clark and Chavez's wives hostage. While some of the Rainbow troopers get ambushed, they manage to retake the building and capture some of the terrorists. Interrogation points out to Popov's involvement, and the Russian is later kept hidden in Horizon's secret base in Kansas. Upon learning about the Project, an appalled Popov escapes the compound and contacts Clark. Meanwhile, Chavez and some of his troopers are deployed at the Olympics to oversee venue security, and they manage to thwart the attack.

Their plans destroyed, Brightling and the eco-terrorists escape to another secret Horizon base deep in the Brazilian rain forest. Clark, knowing that they may never be put on trial, tracks down the Brazilian hideout and deploys Rainbow to the location. They defeat the eco-terrorists' militia force and destroys their facility and supplies. Clark has the survivors stripped naked and left to fend for themselves in the jungle, taunting them to "reconnect with nature." When no survivors resurface in nearby towns, one agent notes that although people try to preserve nature, nature is not known for returning the favor.


Team Rainbow

Executive and support branches

  • John Clark: Commander of Rainbow (known as Rainbow Six)
  • Alistair Stanley: Deputy commander (Rainbow Five)
  • Bill Tawney: Head of the intelligence section and former MI6 intelligence analyst
  • Dr. Paul Bellow: In-house psychologist specializing in criminal psychology
  • Tim Noonan: Resident tactical electronics and surveillance specialist, also working as special agent for Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • Daniel Malloy: Lieutenant colonel for the U.S. Marines and pilot of the MH-60K Night Hawk helicopter used for Rainbow missions, beginning with the hostage situation in the Spanish amusement park

Team 1

  • Major Peter Covington: Commander and member of the SAS
  • Miguel "Mike" Chin: Former U.S. Navy SEAL as Master Chief Machinist's Mate
  • Mortimer "Sam" Houston: Sniper-observer
  • Fred 'Freddy' Franklin: Rifle 1-2, Sergeant 1st Class, Former Instructor Army's Marksmanship - Fort Benning

Team 2

  • Domingo "Ding" Chavez: Commander, and leader of team, CIA, Special Activities Division]]
  • Julio Vega: Machine gunner and former Delta Force member
  • Eddie Price: Senior member and former SAS sergeant major
  • Louis Loiselle: Former French paratrooper who had been detailed to DGSE
  • Dieter Weber: Sniper, former German GSG 9 "feldwebel", or non-commissioned officer
  • Homer Johnston: Sniper, former Special Forces and Delta Force member

Horizon Corporation

  • John Brightling: Chairman of Horizon Corporation and mastermind of "the Project"
  • Dimitri Arkadyevich Popov (Iosef Serov): Former KGB operations officer working with Brightling
  • Bill Henriksen: Consultant and head of Global Security, former FBI agent with the Hostage Rescue Team
  • Carol Brightling: Science Advisor to the President and former wife of John Brightling. Their separation is part of the Project in order to safeguard her position in the U.S. government, which enables her to pass government secrets on biological warfare to Horizon.
  • John Killgore: Senior research scientist in the testing project of the Shiva virus
  • Kirk Maclean: A Horizon employee tasked with kidnapping young women in New York City to be used as test subjects in Shiva testing
  • Mary Bannister: One of the test subjects in the Shiva transmission study run by Dr. Killgore

Other characters

  • Sandy Clark: John Clark's wife
  • Patsy Clark-Chavez: John Clark's daughter who is Domingo Chavez's wife
  • Ernst Model: Former Red Army Faction member who led the botched bank robbery in Bern, Switzerland
  • Hans Fürchtner: Recruited by Popov to take over the schloss of a wealthy Austrian businessman in order to obtain imaginary "special access codes" to the international trading markets
  • Petra Dortmund: Fürchtner's partner
  • Erwin Ostermann: Austrian financier taken hostage by Fürchtner and Dortmund in his home
  • "Andre": Former Action Directe member in charge of the hostage situation at Worldpark, an amusement park in Spain
  • Sean Grady: Provisional Irish Republican Army cell commander who led the attack on Clark and Chavez's wives in a Hereford hospital
  • Tom Sullivan: FBI agent based in New York investigating Bannister's disappearance
  • Frank Chatham: FBI agent and Sullivan's partner
  • Ed Foley: Director of Central Intelligence


Rainbow Six explores the issue of radical environmentalism. According to Marc Cerasini's essay on the novel, the philosophy of the antagonists are considered as an extreme form of naturalism, based on Jean-Jacques Rousseau's view that society's functions corrupt mankind and that "a natural or primitive state is actually morally superior to civilization". The novel shares elements found in James Bond movies: a biological weapon being used to end the human race, mad scientists plotting world domination, and high-tech secret bases hidden from civilization. However, Clancy makes the plot realistic by basing the motivations of the eco-terrorists on real-life radical environmentalists.[2]


The book received mixed reviews. Entertainment Weekly praised the novel's "sprawling, Bondesque plot" as well as its action scenes that are "vivid and cinematic — and notably lacking in the clichés and B-movie tone of his dialogue". Publishers Weekly also hailed the scenes as "immensely suspenseful, breathtaking combos of expertly detailed combat and primal emotion".[3] On the other hand, criticism was focused on flat characters and the implausibility of the plot. A review from Orlando Sentinel pointed out: "Clancy may have crossed the line into the realm of the unbelievable...I suspect even some of his most rabid fans will shake their heads at parts of this novel."[4] Entertainment Weekly also noted that "some of [Clancy's] secondary characters have a flat, dime-novel feel".[5]


Video Game

Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six was first released on August 21, 1998, about two weeks ahead of the novel. However, the plot of the game does not completely match with the book, since the game was completed first. Video game developer Red Storm Entertainment, which was co-founded by Clancy two years before, based the game's concept on the FBI Hostage Rescue Team in an international setting.[6] The game became a commercial success for Red Storm and has spawned a number of sequels. It has since revolutionized the first-person shooter genre by forcing the player to think tactically and realistically in every mission, unlike the arcade games of the time.[7][8]


In July 2017, Paramount Pictures announced plans to make a film adaptation of the novel with Akiva Goldsman as producer.[9] Ryan Reynolds was reported to be in early talks to play Clark.[10] In September 2018, Michael B. Jordan was announced to be playing the main character in a two-part film series, with Rainbow Six as the intended sequel to a film adaptation of another Clancy novel featuring Clark, Without Remorse.[11]

Release details

  • 1998, U.S., G. P. Putnam's Sons ISBN 0-399-14390-4, Pub date 3 August 1998, hardcover
  • 1998, U.K., Michael Joseph Ltd ISBN 0-7181-4336-1, Pub date 27 August 1998, hardback
  • 1998, U.S., Putnam Publishing Group ISBN 0-399-14413-7, Pub date August 1998, hardcover (Limited Edition)
  • 1998, U.S., Demco Media ISBN 0-606-17207-6, Pub date September 1998, unbound
  • 1998, U.S., Random House ISBN 0-375-70324-1, Pub date August 1998, paperback (Large Type Edition)
  • 1999, U.S., Berkley Publishing Group ISBN 0-425-17005-5, Pub date September 1999, paperback
  • 1999, U.S., Berkley Publishing Group ISBN 0-425-17034-9, Pub date September 1999, mass market paperback


  1. "The New York Times bestseller list for August 23, 1998" (PDF). Retrieved 22 September 2018.
  2. Greenberg, Martin H. The Tom Clancy Companion (Revised ed.). pp. 36–38.
  3. "Fiction Book Review: Rainbow Six by Tom Clancy". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved 6 October 2018.
  4. Skoneki, Mark. "TOM CLANCY GOES BEYOND FANTASTIC INTO FANTASY". The Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 6 October 2018.
  5. Kennedy, Dana. "Book Review: 'Rainbow Six'". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 6 October 2018.
  6. "Postmortem: Redstorm's Rainbow Six". Gamasutra. January 21, 2000. Archived from the original on 4 August 2001. Retrieved October 6, 2018.
  7. "The History of Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six". Xbox Wire. Retrieved 6 October 2018.
  8. Packwood, Lewis. "The bizarre tale of how Tom Clancy sold his name to videogames". PCGamesN. Retrieved 6 October 2018.
  9. Fleming Jr., Mike. "Akiva Goldsman Moves To Paramount; 'Rainbow Six,' 'Ologies' & 'Avengelyne' On Menu". Deadline. Retrieved 12 July 2017.
  10. Gurwin, Gabe. "'Rainbow Six' Film In Development, Could Star Ryan Reynolds". Digital Trends. Retrieved 6 October 2018.
  11. Kroll, Justin. "Michael B. Jordan to Play Tom Clancy Character John Clark". Variety. Retrieved 6 October 2018.
This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.