A new Soviet nuclear missile sub (a Boomer) heading out on her maiden voyage that is being tracked by a Los Angeles class American submarine suddenly goes silent and "disappears". This focuses the attention of both U.S. Intelligence and the U.S. Navy on the Russian Sub Commander . When it is determined that the silent Soviet Boomer may be headed for American coastal waters panic ensues. A CIA analyst, Jack Ryan, convinces the brass that the Boomer's commander may intend something other than a nuclear first strike in mind. A perilous and tense cat-and-mouse game ensues.