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Rainbow Six is a techno-thriller novel set in Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan universe. 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 feature a similar plot, though obviously the book offers more detail, including the point of view of the villains.

Rainbow Six offers examples of:

  • 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 was tough as nails for him, a hardened Navy vet, and gives them a month to live, tops.
  • 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.
  • Badass
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The Captain: Ding for Team-2, Covington for Team-1.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Tim's heartbeat detector, as well as his cellphone jamming software.
  • Code Name:
    • Rainbow Six: John Clark
    • Rainbow Five: Alistair Stanley
    • Bear: Dan Malloy
    • Rifle Two-One: Homer Johnson
    • Rifle Two-Two: Dieter Weber
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: John Brightling.
  • 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. True to form, said virus can be spread by intercourse.
  • Depopulation Bomb: The Shiva virus.
  • Disposable Vagrant: The Shiva virus is initially tested on the homeless by men posing as the local charity group.
  • Drives Like Crazy: oh yes. Among the vehicles that get involved: two Jaguars, a moving van, and a Black Hawk.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Five-Man Band: Many of the roles are present for Team-2:
  • Fluffy the Terrible: "Team Rainbow," a collection of the World's Biggest Badasses.
  • Former Regime Personnel: Popov, who is Ex-KGB.
  • Friendly Sniper: Both team two snipers are like this.
  • Hero of Another Story: Covington and Team-1. Most of Team-1 go unamed. 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.
  • I Have Your Wife: the IRA terrorists take Clark and Chavez's wives hostage at the hospital they work in.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The Men First: John Clark believes in this.
  • 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.
  • Multinational Team: The titular Rainbow organization.
  • Nom De Guerre: Dan "Bear" Malloy, and Julio "Oso" Vega.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Red Shirt: RAINBOW's only casualties are two members of Team-1, who are conveniently never named.
  • Renegade Russian: Popov, twice.
  • The Dragon: Willian Henriksen is one for Brightling.
  • The Squad: Team-1 and Team-2. Especially the later.
  • Strawman Political: Taken Up to Eleven with the ecoterrorists. The Ebola scientists think how adorable lab rats are but think the human race can die a horrible death, take it right into Nightmare Fuel.
  • 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.
  • Utopia Justifies the Means: John Brightling's goal.
  • Villains Act, Heroes React: Clark muses on this principle as one of the difficulties of running an antiterrorism unit.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Brightling's group wants to save nature... and will kill all humans to do it.
  • 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.
  • 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)
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