by Daniel Suarez
2009 / 632 pages
read by Jeff Gurner 15h 57m
rating C+ / techno-thriller

I usually enjoy techno thrillers like those of Neil Stephenson or William Gibson, and many others,   but the emphasis here was definitely on the thriller.  I did enjoy the gaming parts and the way Daemon (the bot-based program’s name)  worms itself into the whole real world with cars designed to kill,  the stock market fixed to collapse, the justice and medical systems open to rigging, even people doing the bidding of Daemon,  etc. because all of our lives these days depend on some kind of internet activity.     But quite a lot of this book is basically good-guys chasing bad-guys (or getting away from them)  like cops and robbers with a lot of various techie ideas thrown in – still,  it’s fascinating, realistic and well-researched.

The basic plot thread concerns the death of a  multimillionaire named Matthew Sobol who was an incredible tech and gaming wizard.  This evil genius had arranged for a daemon to be released into cyberspace via his very popular game engines at the moment of his demise.  This apparently all-encompassing program(s) was developed to take over the world and that’s apparent  from the time the police force enters  the booby-trapped Sobol estate. But observing  the depth and breadth of the take-over unfold through the chapters never ceases to amaze – it’s one surprise after another.

“If the Daemon triumphs, tens of millions will die. If it fails, billions will die, and we will fall back to a seventeenth-century agrarian economy.” 

There are lots of characters here and a few are more interesting than others.  Detective Peter Sebeck and IT specialist Jon Ross are among the best here.  The dialogue is great.

For what it’s worth,  there is a part 2 called Freedom but I think I’m not going to read it as it’s not had the best reviews.  There’s a synopsis online.