Written by Neal Stephenson.
Narrated by Malcom Hillgartner
The Forthrasts are a diverse family hubbed in the heartland of America in the state of Iowa. They created war heroes, a draft dodger, an uber conservative recluse who moved to Idaho and a computer-geologist adoptee from the Horn of Africa. Their reunions are not the scene of friendly softball games so much as the group firing of the family armory of rifles, pistols, shotguns…redneck paradise.
The skills from this hobby will come in handy as they become embroiled in dealings with: Russian Organized criminals, Chinese Hackers using the Reamde virus to get rich in the Multi-person online game called T’rain, and Islamic extremists who want nothing better than a martyrdom opportunity on US soil.
As seems to be the genre for this author this is not so much a science fiction as it is a fiction with some science. The uses of the web, hackers, complex code used to make global impact are just some of the realms that are common to Stephenson’s works yet there is very little in this that is a …stretch. Where this book really sings is in the paths of action as Zula, Kongor(?), Solokov, Olivia and an impressive supporting cast engage the Russians then the extremists in rapidly changing environments. I was really impressed.
I’m giving the audio version of this work five out of five. That’s because I liked the storyline, liked the delivery, saw no hand waving on technical things and the whole product kept my interest. Time will tell if it is a masterpiece but I think it is well worth listening to. Enjoy.