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
"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)
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.
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.
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!
Sure. It was entertaining at some level and not a complete disappointment.
Lover of pager turners and characters I can care about.
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.
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.
Hot Money, Dick Francis
He really brought the tension alive.
Perhaps. It might work better as a series. This one was just thin.
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
The scary part is that what happens in this story is quite plausible, and has already made our financial markets unstable and ungovernable. The "smartest guys in the room" since the 1990's became Wall Street "quants" who wrote the algorithms that make scads of money getting in and out of stocks in seconds or less, while hedging their downside. Being right 55% of the time is worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
The mental illness plot twist made the book even more difficult to put down. Christian Rodska's narration was really good, including the accents and pace. The setting in Geneva sounds lovely. Great book, from beginning to end.
How can I say that a book was a disappointment when it kept me on the edge of my seat from start to finish?...Well, there you go. I guess I was expecting more from the author of Ghost Writer -- which I thought was almost flawless. The Fear Index, while clever, had holes. One of the worst ones was that I figured out who the villain was way before the characters did -- so then you are just waiting for them to 'catch up.' Still, like I said, it kept me on the edge of my seat -- and the reader was excellent, so I would still recommend it.
Military history, Contemporary sci-fi/fantasy, Classics and Sport biographies ... in that order!
The lack of closure in it's finale.
Most interesting was the initial believability of the plot, which starts out strong then stumbles to its conclusion. Least interesting was the character development, most of which is shallow at best.
A very good choice for this particular book, he has a rich sounding voice that is apt for this particular book.
Go back to non fiction for a while!
I enjoyed the Fear Index for more than 50% of it but I felt it could have been better. Perhaps I would have liked it more if I had better knowledge of the subject matter, not that it was discussed in great detail.
Harris' other books have believable stories.
It more a science fiction story than a psychological drama.
The narration for the book was fine and well done; therefore, no comment on that.
The story, however, was poor to say the least. Having reading previous work by Harris, I had expected better. For anyone who has ready any science fiction, the premise was predictable. Even so, it could have been done better. Unfortunately, and this is the second point, Harris does a poor job of characterizing the finance world. I am surprised critics have lauded his ability to describe Hedge Funds to the ordinary masses. The description of Hedge Funds, algorithm-based investing, and behavioral finance are done through tedious monologues that read like Harris did little more than read a wikipedia article.
None of the characters are particularly sympathetic and you don't really care about any of them. More importantly, they just aren't very interesting.
Not very probable
There was so much emphases on the machine thing that left the story around it inconsistent and full of lose ends, and the author never actually connected the dots
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