Technology controls almost everything in our modern-day world, from remote entry on our cars to access to our homes, from the flight controls of our airplanes to the movements of the entire world economy. Thousands of autonomous computer programs, or daemons, make our networked world possible, running constantly in the background of our lives, trafficking e-mail, transferring money, and monitoring power grids. For the most part, daemons are benign, but the same can’t always be said for the people who design them.
Matthew Sobol was a legendary computer game designer—the architect behind half-a-dozen popular online games. His premature death depressed both gamers and his company’s stock price. But Sobol’s fans aren’t the only ones to note his passing. When his obituary is posted online, a previously dormant daemon activates, initiating a chain of events intended to unravel the fabric of our hyper-efficient, interconnected world. With Sobol’s secrets buried along with him, and as new layers of his daemon are unleashed at every turn, it’s up to an unlikely alliance to decipher his intricate plans and wrest the world from the grasp of a nameless, faceless enemy—or learn to live in a society in which we are no longer in control. . . .
This is an impressive debut novel from this Author which, surprisingly for a first novel, is very well written and brought to mind some of the works of Michael Crichton. Readers who dislike graphic violence and sex, however, should look elsewhere as there is quite a bit of both in this novel.
My problem with writing this review is where to start with the comments on character development. This novel has a large number of important characters included but is about a few central ones. This led to the main characters coming across as rather two-dimensional and very little time was given to their depth and back stories. The characters in the book seem to appear randomly throughout its pages and, for me this led to a feeling of it being a rather impersonal book. With that said however, this is a book that is extremely fast paced and this, in itself, may have led to the lack of development of any of the characters; almost as if the Author did not want to take time out from the action to give their readers characters they could connect to.
When I say it is a fast paced book, I mean it. There is no downtime within its pages, no places where the reader can stop to take a breath and relax before the next event takes place. Unfortunately this means that in some places the plot moves so fast that it has a tendency to lose some of the details, but I had a feeling whilst reading this that this was an intentional move on the part of the Author; after all how many people feel that our real lives move at this kind of pace sometimes. The Author does an incredible job of bringing to the reader’s attention, if they were not already aware of it the fact of how much or our daily lives; both personal, business related and in the global economy that actually relies and is dependent on computer technology. After all without this technology there would be no book reviews from myself, and in this area this book can be the jumping point for some very interesting discussions for any book club that chose to read it. The Author makes the reader think and question their reliance on things that could vanish in an instant. It is this material and the Authors attention to detail that makes this novel stand out from the rest in the techno-thriller genre in my opinion.
As with all good beginning to a series of books, this one does not have a complete and tied up ending, but it does lead very nicely into the sequel which not only leaves the reader wanting more but, from a marketing point of view, can only be a good move on the part of the Author and their Publisher. I will definitely be reading the sequel as I am intrigued to see how the plot plays out.
I would highly recommend this book to lovers of the sci-fi/techno-thriller genre, and also those who like to read books that are well worth the time.