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The Fear Index | [Robert Harris]

The Fear Index

Dr. Alex Hoffmann’s name is carefully guarded from the general public, but within the secretive inner circles of the ultrarich he is a legend. He has developed a revolutionary form of artificial intelligence that predicts movements in the financial markets with uncanny accuracy. His hedge fund, based in Geneva, makes billions. But one morning before dawn, a sinister intruder breaches the elaborate security of his lakeside mansion, and so begins a waking nightmare of paranoia and violence.
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Publisher's Summary

At the nexus of high finance and sophisticated computer programming, a terrifying future may be unfolding even now.

Dr. Alex Hoffmann’s name is carefully guarded from the general public, but within the secretive inner circles of the ultrarich, he is a legend. He has developed a revolutionary form of artificial intelligence that predicts movements in the financial markets with uncanny accuracy. His hedge fund, based in Geneva, makes billions. But one morning before dawn, a sinister intruder breaches the elaborate security of his lakeside mansion, and so begins a waking nightmare of paranoia and violence as Hoffmann attempts, with increasing desperation, to discover who is trying to destroy him.

Fiendishly smart and suspenseful, The Fear Index gives us a searing glimpse into an all-too-recognizable world of greed and panic. It is a novel that forces us to confront the question of what it means to be human—and it is Robert Harris’s most spellbinding and audacious novel to date.

©2012 Robert Harris (P)2012 Random House

What the Critics Say

"Unputdownable.... Harris has achieved the impossible, or at least the improbable: an explanation of the extravagantly esoteric nature of hedge funds, which normal people can understand.... I gorged myself, devouring his dystopian vision of free markets enslaved by a sinister artificial intelligence in one breakneck sitting.” (The Daily Telegraph)

“Reminiscent of everyone from Michael Crichton to Ian Fleming, Stanley Kubrick and Alfred Hitchcock.” (Financial Times)

“A virtuoso specimen.... Inventively exploiting current anxieties about algorithmic trading to update the Frankenstein story, The Fear Index is both cutting edge and keenly conscious of its literary predecessors.... A tour de force.” (The Sunday Times, London)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.6 (284 )
5 star
 (66)
4 star
 (88)
3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Overall
3.5 (233 )
5 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Story
4.0 (227 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    R. Schechter Dublin, CA United States 10-25-13
    R. Schechter Dublin, CA United States 10-25-13 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
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    "Disappointment from Harris"

    After enjoying many previous works from Robert Harris, I was quite disappointed by this work. The ending was far too predictable.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lonnell Temple Terrace, FL, United States 09-02-13
    Lonnell Temple Terrace, FL, United States 09-02-13 Member Since 2013
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    5
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    Story
    "The Fear Index Review"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Great concept. The story drags on a bit and doesn't end strong. It was good, but didn't live up the potential it had.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    A little faster past and a stronger ending.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jason St Pete Beach, FL, United States 08-20-13
    Jason St Pete Beach, FL, United States 08-20-13 Member Since 2013

    Currently training for a marathon and trying listening to books instead of music. Takes mind of the long runs!

    ratings
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    31
    10
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    Performance
    Story
    "Good listen but predictible"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Highly recommend audiobooks to anyone - especially for exercise such as running where it is good to have something to pass the time.


    Would you recommend The Fear Index to your friends? Why or why not?

    Probably not - after about 6/7 chapters in I figured I saw how it was going to turn out. But I hoped it was a distraction, the ending would hardly be that obvious?! Alas - it was...!
    However the book has a good pace, interesting premise and naration is good - however some of the voices are not great.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan Gardner Bowers Whittier, CA USA 03-22-13
    Susan Gardner Bowers Whittier, CA USA 03-22-13 Member Since 2003

    Susu

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "More meh"

    HAL (of 2001 infamy) meets the 21st century financial markets. Takes over. Makes billions. Destroys lives. Kills people with elevators. Crashes planes and the stock market. All in 24 hours. Then the book ends.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert Brunswick, TN, United States 03-11-12
    Robert Brunswick, TN, United States 03-11-12 Member Since 2011

    I wish Audible would provide a better product. I continually have to go back and try to find my place to listen. Audible apparently disables the ability to burn a book to even one disk so I can listen to it. The iPod just doesn't do well on audiobooks (probably unless you buy them from Apple). It is impossible to get a book burned to CD so I can listen to it and it never plays right on the iPod.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Worth listening to."

    This is worth listening to. I did need to follow it closer than I do some books, but I felt it ws worth the listen. It passed the time well!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gabrielle Quincy, MA, United States 03-08-12
    Gabrielle Quincy, MA, United States 03-08-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
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    13
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    "Fun and Interesting Book ---"

    I bought this audiobook after hearing an interview with the author on NPR. The world of finance is not something I am at all familiar with but I found the premise of the book interesting and it did not disappoint. Though I think the 'reveal' was obvious and there were a few lose ends that frustrated me (like the storyline with the Darwin book) I still loved this book. Found the setting, the characters, and the story line different and compelling. The performance was EXCELLENT! Overall just a fun and hard to 'put down' book. I was really sad when it ended!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Danny 03-06-12
    Danny 03-06-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    1
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    "Its ok, but nothing to write home about"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    Robert Harris is a great writer and he is talented. The idea behind this book is just not that great...that's pretty much it.


    What was most disappointing about Robert Harris’s story?

    The story was just weak and really didn't have enough a foundation to carry it along. The fact that he was able to get so much out of a bland premise is a testament to his skill as a writer nonetheless.


    Which character – as performed by Christian Rodska – was your favorite?

    Both Hoffman and Inspector LeClaire were my favorite characters as performed by Christian Rodska. He was amazing! His unique and diverse voicing for each character really helped to make this somewhat weak story, more tolerable. He gets 5 stars!


    Was The Fear Index worth the listening time?

    Sure. It was entertaining at some level and not a complete disappointment.


    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Margaret Freehold, NJ, United States 02-16-12
    Margaret Freehold, NJ, United States 02-16-12 Member Since 2008

    Lover of pager turners and characters I can care about.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    10
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    "Bonfire of the Vanities meets HAL."
    Would you listen to The Fear Index again? Why?

    Best Harris ever. I love Robert Harris, but this book was the most fast moving and suspenseful of the books by him that I have read. I really enjoyed the character development.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Molly Las Vegas, NV, United States 02-15-12
    Molly Las Vegas, NV, United States 02-15-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Not Robert Harris's best"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    No, unfortunately not. The writing is great, but the plot is not. I love Robert Harris, especially his historical novels, but this is one of his weakest.


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    Hot Money, Dick Francis


    What does Christian Rodska bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    He really brought the tension alive.


    Do you think The Fear Index needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    Perhaps. It might work better as a series. This one was just thin.


    Any additional comments?

    no

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carolyn SILVERTON, CO, United States 02-13-12
    Carolyn SILVERTON, CO, United States 02-13-12 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
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    8
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    "Pass on It"

    Was very sorry I bought this
    Hard to get thru the whole thing
    Cannot recommend it the narrator does not do it any good either

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
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