|Author||Tom Clancy, with Mark Greaney|
|Series||Jack Ryan universe|
|December 3, 2013|
|Media type||Print (Hardback)|
|Pages||736 pp (hardback edition)|
|Preceded by||Threat Vector|
|Followed by||Support and Defend|
Command Authority is a political thriller novel by Tom Clancy and Mark Greaney published posthumously on December 3, 2013 by Putnam Adult. This is the ninth novel featuring the former CIA agent and president Jack Ryan and his son Jack Ryan Jr.
During the Cold War, KGB agent Roman Romanovich Talanov is invited to a secret meeting with a fellow agent, Valeri Volodin, who tasks Talanov with carrying out secret plans ordered by senior KGB agents who have predicted the fall of the Soviet Union. Decades later, Volodin - now President of the Russian Federation - orders an invasion of Estonia. Although US support slows the advance, the country is quickly taken by Russia.
Meanwhile, Campus operator Jack Ryan Jr., currently residing in London, grows tired of the constant recognition of him, and decides to reform, joining a corporate analysis company called Castor and Boyle Risk Analysis Ltd as a result. Two months later, former Croatian militant Dino Kadić, having been offered a contract, bombs Vanil restaurant in an assassination that succeeds in killing MI6 agent Anthony Haldane, but also kills SVR director Stanislav Biryukov. Kadić realises that he has been set up and attempts to flee, but is killed by Red Banner soldiers who raid his room. This attack is timed with the polonium-210 poisoning of Sergey Golovko, the former director of SVR, which starts major pro-nationalist and pro-Russian protests in Ukraine. Chief of CIA Station Keith Bixby, with the assistance of John Clark, Domingo Chavez, Sam Driscoll and Dominic Caruso, sets up a monitoring station in Sevastopol, called The Lighthouse, to investigate the activities of a criminal organization known as the Seven Strong Men and a senior, Gleb the Scar, but their operation is discovered and all US assets are forced to be withdrawn from Ukraine when protests congregate on The Lighthouse. President Volodin uses this as justification to commence the invasion of Ukraine.
President Jack Ryan requests his son, who is investigating a large theft of money by suspected Russian-backed corporations from businessman Malcolm Galbraith, to speak to Basil Charleston on information he has relating to the codename "Bedrock" and its relations to the Zenith assassinations during the Cold War, amidst rumours that Talanov is the assassin in question. His answers to lead him to Corby to talk to former SAS agent Victor Oxley, who initially refuses to talk to him, but after Seven Strong Men thugs attack both of them, Oxley reveals his knowledge on Zenith. After interrogating one gang member, they confront Sandy Lamont, Jack Jr.'s manager, but he knows nothing of the situation and is startled by their intrusion. Next, they go to Galbraith, who resides in Scotland; he tells them about his experiences with the money and his dealings with Hugh Castor, and how the transactions were handled. Finally, they go to Zurich, Switzerland, where Castor agrees to provide information to the United States in exchange for protection. However, Spetsnaz soldiers attack and kill Oxley, though the team, as well as Swiss private security, repel the invaders.
Clark receives identification confirming Gleb the Scar as Dmitri Nesterov, the killer of Golovko. With support from Delta Force operators, they succeed in capturing him. After this, having been fully informed by his son, Jack Ryan Sr. talks to Volodin, demanding the halt of the Russian Army in exchange for Volodin not to be linked with the Seven Strong Men. Russia ceases operations in Ukraine and pulls back; two days later, Talanov resigns, and becomes an emissary in exchange for government protection.