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The Ascendant: A Novel | [Drew Chapman]

The Ascendant: A Novel

Hidden deep within the figures tracking the ups and downs of the stock market lies a terrifying truth: America is under attack. Our government…our economy…our very way of life are in the crosshairs of a ruthless enemy…and no one knows. Except Garrett Reilly. He has a knack for numbers. He sees patterns no one else can. His gift has made him a rising star on Wall Street. But when he notices that two hundred billion dollars' worth of U.S. Treasury bonds are being sold off at a terrifying rate, his gift makes him the most wanted man alive.
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Publisher's Summary

Hidden deep within the figures tracking the ups and downs of the stock market lies a terrifying truth: America is under attack. Our government…our economy…our very way of life are in the crosshairs of a ruthless enemy…and no one knows. Except Garrett Reilly. He has a knack for numbers. He sees patterns no one else can. His gift has made him a rising star on Wall Street. But when he notices that two hundred billion dollars' worth of U.S. Treasury bonds are being sold off at a terrifying rate, his gift makes him the most wanted man alive.

The U.S. military wants him for his extraordinary abilities. They need someone to lead a crack squad of rogue soldiers to act as the last line of defense in a war that could mean the end of everything America holds dear. And everyone else? They just want him dead.

In this explosive debut novel, ranging from the offices of Wall Street to the casinos of Vegas to the back roads of the Chinese countryside, Drew Chapman introduces listeners to a new kind of action hero: One uniquely skilled to fight a new kind of war.

©2014 Drew Chapman (P)2013 Simon & Schuster

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (177 )
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4.3 (155 )
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Performance
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  •  
    John S MA 01-23-14
    John S MA 01-23-14 Member Since 2005

    Avid audible listener for over 10 years.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Actually quite entertaining"

    I was slightly hesitant since it was new and had no reviews,but it was actually not bad. It starts a little slow but picks up the pace as you get into book. The story revolves about someone who can pick out patterns in large amounts of data. It also questions how much we rely on media to filter our information. It's not great literature by any means but is quite entertaining.

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Melinda UT 01-24-14
    Melinda UT 01-24-14 Member Since 2009

    So hooked by audio that I have to read books aloud. *If my reviews help, please let me know.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "War Games meets Wall Street"

    [Chose this after reading an Audible Editor's review.] Drew Chapman is a TV writer turned author, and this debut book reads like a political/cyber/financial thriller that could almost be extrapolated from our current headlines: cyber espionage, high finance and international terrorism, the virtual world colliding with the real world. Chapman refrains from using the esoteric lexicon of computers and finances, writing a book that appeals to those of us that are not computer geeks or financial wizards.

    In the author's own words, Ascendant antagonist Garrett Reilly is "me, a bunch of years and many bong hits ago...Deeply patriotic and at the same time prone to spasms of anti-Americanism." Garrett Diego Reilly is a 'half Mexican, half Irish surfer from Long Beach' with a boulder-sized chip on his shoulder against the US military, which he blames for the death of his brother in Iraq. Cocky, irreverent, and fast-living, he drops out of Yale and becomes a successful Wall Street bonds trader. He also is a wiz with numbers and computers-- a beautiful mind that sees patterns and predictions in those numbers. When he notices that hundreds of billions of U.S. Treasury Bonds are being sold off and thousands of properties are being dumped for fractions of their worth, he knows this is big -- he is about to become unimaginably wealthy. When the US nuclear plant control programs are invaded by a virus that he connects to China -- he knows this is bigger than just fortuitous economic panic.

    The US government has also seen a pattern, an ominous global gauntlet throw-down, and sends Army Captain Alexis Truffant to recruit the government-hating wunderkind Reilly to head up a secret military project, *Ascendant*. But it takes more than Capt. Truffant's curves and seduction to erase the grudge harbored by Reilly (even when he has half-heartedly signed on, he is still irascible enough to pick a fight with a bar full of marines).

    As you'd expect, there is domestic opposition high in the ranks to handing the military forces over to a 26 yr old hot shot with no regard for military status or international protocols, armed insurgents protecting their foreign interests, and a parallel story involving a Chinese woman leading an uprising against government corruption in China...all in stark contrast to Reilly and his computer gaming geeks downing Red Bulls and junk food while they launch their unorthodox counter attack. Chapman ties the whole circus together neatly.

    Chapman gives a strong debut, a novel along the lines of - but not yet on the level of - Clancy, Ludlum, or Child. But, I couldn't help compare to another strong espionage thriller debut from Jason Matthews (Red Sparrow), and that had me knocking off some stars. There's a lot of suspending logic and some clichéd characters (right out of a TV plot), a few times the story slackened and my mind wandered, but Chapman has created a charismatic quasi-hero that you can't help but like in spite of himself. Word is that though Chapman has already written half of the sequel to Ascendant, he has sold the rights to 20th Century Fox TV...so, we just may be tuning in to a series about the *new breed* of Joshua/Gecko/Snowden warriors. A basic, fun, entertaining thriller fix I recommend. This is an author that I think will just get better with each book.

    19 of 21 people found this review helpful
  •  
    cristina Somerville, MA, United States 03-12-14
    cristina Somerville, MA, United States 03-12-14 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Quite entertaining"

    The story leaves several questions open ended, leading me to believe that there might be a sequel. If there isn't one, I would still rate this one four-stars. Yes, it's far-fetched, but who cares? I was hooked from the beginning. The narrator helps -- he is perfect as the voice of the numbers genius who reluctantly finds himself heading an army stealth operation. (If there IS a sequel, I will be buying it.)

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jane Seattle, WA, United States 02-03-14
    Jane Seattle, WA, United States 02-03-14 Member Since 2011
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    "Not your Granddads' Thriller"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Ascendant to be better than the print version?

    I'd say equal.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I almost never listen to thrillers. This is not because I don't love exciting page turners, but because they inevitably glorify sexism, materialism, and blind patriotism. Not so The Ascendent. In Drew Chapman’s debut novel, hero Garret Reilly, deftly subverts the thriller genre and saves the world all at once.

    The undercurrent of fear in the book involves not the usual foreign terrorists or Nazi officers, but more contemporary concerns. It deals with the sorts of things that can happen when civil rights are set aside in the name of national security, the havoc a hacker could wreak on our economy through manipulation of our banking and energy systems, and the desperate lives led by factory workers in developing nations who make our modern day life in America so comfortable

    Like all fine thrillers, The Ascendent is fast paced, keeps you on the edge of your seat, makes you laugh in a few places, and treats you to a touch of romance. But, with its surprising new hero, it manages to do more. It breaths new life and vitality into what had become, despite lots of car chases, shoot-outs, and bombings, a stodgy and predictable genre.


    What about George Newbern’s performance did you like?

    He doesn't over do the performance. It's pitch perfect.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes!


    10 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stevon Tempe, AZ, United States 07-25-14
    Stevon Tempe, AZ, United States 07-25-14 Member Since 2005

    I love books!

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    "interesting, thought provoking"

    First time author, debut novel by the author I believe although he's done plenty of writing in the world of television. The story pits the USA versus China in a present day actin thriller where all of the latest and greatest technology available is brought to bear. The protagonist is brought into the story to use all of this technology and his knack for finding patterns to try and stem the tide from a Chinese threat using these same tools. It was action packed enough to keep you interested and make you wonder if this type of warfare might really be fought. Maybe it already is. I enjoyed the listen enough that I will give the next book in the series a try whenever it comes out.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J. McGovern Las Vegas 06-15-14
    J. McGovern Las Vegas 06-15-14 Member Since 2006
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    "A book for young adults."
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    A story that young adults will love...... adults, not so much.


    Would you be willing to try another book from Drew Chapman? Why or why not?

    Probably won't as they are written for young adults.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tim 05-03-14
    Tim 05-03-14 Member Since 2010
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    "Good premise, but totally ridiculous plot"
    What disappointed you about The Ascendant?

    Two dimensional characters, action scenes even more ridiculous than The DaVinci code.


    Has The Ascendant turned you off from other books in this genre?

    No, I like cyber thrillers when they are realistic.


    Have you listened to any of George Newbern’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No. He did a good job with lousy material


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    Nope


    Any additional comments?

    No way anyone could suspend disbelief of this plot.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Charles Atkinson Greensboro, NC, United States 03-14-14
    Charles Atkinson Greensboro, NC, United States 03-14-14 Member Since 2005

    A few must reads: Mr. Mercedes, Narrows Gate, Cop Town, Bomb Proof, Wayfaring Stranger, The Son (Nesbo), Dept Q series...

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Absolutely Riveting!"

    This is the story of a somewhat immature and troubled young savant. He's a brilliant financial analyst with a genius for discovering patterns in the financial and political realms. The story opens with his discovery of an unprecedented series of financial attacks on the American economy.

    The story moves fast with a great storyline and unforgettable characters. George Newbern is brilliant with a variety of distinct and believable voices.

    Like Bombproof, this is a great suspense novel that I could not put down.
    An easy 5 Stars all the way!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    JCL Coarsegold, CA USA 10-09-14
    JCL Coarsegold, CA USA 10-09-14 Member Since 2004

    JCL

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    "Exciting story about a very important topic"

    The Ascendant is an exciting story about a very important topic that thoughtful people should make a point of understanding: the use of huge databases and sophisticated software in international financial commerce. Sounds boring, but this story makes this subject-matter quite interesting. The author focuses on this subject-matter well and does a good job of fictionalizing an explanation of how it works and how this phenomenon is affecting business and world governments. However, the author neglects other elements of good novel writing which sadly weakens this important work. The term “ascendant” is defined as a position of dominant power or importance. This refers to the anti-hero is this work and also to the government program sorta built around him. His job is to push world events to a tipping point for the benefit of the United States. This apparently is opposed by American leaders of our military-industrial complex because the Ascendant can avert shooting wars by engaging hidden data manipulations behind the scenes, e.g., computer hacking, currency manipulation, etc. Think of the “Stuxnet” worm that targeted and temporarily ruined Iran’s bomb-making centrifuges. Beyond this, the focus of this story, the Ascendant, can see patterns in staggeringly huge data streams that no one else can perceive. (BTW, this might be the way we humans defeat Skynet. For the problem here, see: Berners-Lee: 'Computers are getting smarter. We’re not' in the UK Telegraph.) All this makes the Ascendant and his team members the target for elimination by a host of individuals from around the world who, for various reasons, profit from war. The work would have been stronger and more gripping if both the villains and the love affair were more pointedly developed. (The love affair is lame.) Nevertheless, the book is well worth the price. It is thought-provoking because, after listening, you will come away with a strong conviction that the plot is more real than fiction. I wonder whom the author really works for….

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lynn Plymouth, MN, USA 05-18-14
    Lynn Plymouth, MN, USA 05-18-14 Member Since 2006
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    "Gripping and complex"
    If you could sum up The Ascendant in three words, what would they be?

    Gripping, complex, Unique


    Which scene was your favorite?

    My favorite scene was when all the Chinese citizens march on their capital cities and the top ranking politicians realize they cannot deal with two fronts.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    China has just declared war on the United States


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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