Scion of Clancy’s family of all-American heroes, Jack Ryan Jr. usually goes armed as a special-ops warrior for The Campus, but this time he’s equipped with a Zebra F-701 pen as Maden (Drone Threat, 2016, etc.) offers his first entry in the late master’s oeuvre (Tom Clancy True Faith and Allegiance, 2016, etc.).
The Campus is a supersecret unit of Hendley Associates, a private equity management company. Former U.S. Sen. Weston Rhodes has approached Hendley for help. The ex–public servant now fronts for defense contractor Marin Aerospace Systems, which wants to buy Singapore’s Dalfan Technologies, making an audit necessary. Rhodes requests Hendley’s ace fraud accountant, Paul Brown, and Jack Jr., trained as a financial analyst, to do the work. There’s a hidden agenda, of course, linked to Rhodes’ and Brown’s long-ago CIA service. Behind that curtain lurks North Korea, a Bulgarian assassin, and a disloyal son. There’s the lowdown on Singapore, good, bad, and monsoon season, plus a three-way fight among Dalfan’s owners, the superwealthy and secretive Eurasian family Fairchild. As revealed in back-story anecdotes, Brown, who looks like a schlub, has more hidden assets than Dalfan, whose finances are suspiciously clean. In this turbocharged narrative, technology—supercomputers, smartphones, OnStar, and Google maps—gives the bad guys the plausible ability to wage economic warfare from Shanghai to the United States. On the Brave New World front, Dalfan’s ready to launch Steady Stare, a solar-powered drone. Steady Stare would make the National Security Agency drool. It can see every movement of every person plus "time travel" into the past. But isn’t that nothing more than the unlimited ability to rewind?
With typhoons; deadly Chinese and North Korean operatives wielding bats, knives, and guns; and a weaponized thumb drive, the action reaches Clancy levels early and stays there.