Reamde is the 13th novel from American author Neal Stephenson. It’s big and bold but has the author sold out or just stepped up his genre breaking writing?


Author: Neal Stephenson

Publisher: Atlantic Books


Life tends to be complicated, far more convoluted than many of the stories that are found in the books we read.  In his book Reamde, Neal Stephenson has captured some of the complexities that fill our lives.  By the time I was a third of the way through this massive tome, I almost felt I needed a chart listing the characters just to keep track of the action and it is impossible to explain the plot without writing the novel.

Richard Forthrast, a multi millionaire, with a complicated shady past finds the players of his multiplayer online game T’Rain, are under attack by a virus, REAMDE, that encrypts all of a players electronic files and holds them ransom for the princely sum of $73.  Unfortunately for Richard and his family, the Chinese hacker who created the virus has attracted the attentions of a Russian gangster and lives a little to close to a terrorist cell headed by MI6’s most wanted, who is under surveillance until the Russians, after kidnapping Richard’s niece Zula, enter the wrong apartment and everything falls apart.  The big question throughout the book is can Richard save his family as well as his virtual world?

To suggest this book has action is like suggesting an erupting volcano is warm, totally understated. Those action sequences are fast enjoyable reading, the informational sections fill you in on the Forthrast’s complex lives and relationships, leaving you wanting to know more.

Every step in the book is logical, but for the most part you will not expect the final outcome.  However by the time I reached page 300, not quite a third of the way through, I had already made a mental prediction that three pairs of characters would get together.  I was wrong with the third pair, but that was because of a character that hadn’t been introduced to the story line yet.

One cliché repeated several times, is that governmental bodies are slow lumbering dinosaurs, be they MI6, the FBI, China’s PSB or their controlling governments, whereas the agent or civilian on the ground is more likely to work out what is really going on, and react correctly to a situation long before official channels are aware of an issue, let alone what to do about it..

Image from Wikipedia

There are those who might find this a hard read, others might feel it is a bit too complicated and it is definitely a long one, but me, I like complicated and overall I find this book a grand, riveting read.

GS Rating 5/5

SOURCE: Atlantic Books

GS Reporter: Whatotherway, Montoya

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