In 1972, Richard Forthrast, the black sheep of an Iowa farming clan, fled to the mountains of British Columbia to avoid the draft. A skilled hunting guide, he eventually amassed a fortune by smuggling marijuana across the border between Canada and Idaho. As the years passed, Richard went straight and returned to the States after the U.S. government granted amnesty to draft dodgers. He parlayed his wealth into an empire and developed a remote resort in which he lives. He also created T’Rain, a multibillion-dollar, massively multiplayer online role-playing game with millions of fans around the world.
But T’Rain’s success has also made it a target. Hackers have struck gold by unleashing REAMDE, a virus that encrypts all of a player’s electronic files and holds them for ransom. They have also unwittingly triggered a deadly war beyond the boundaries of the game’s virtual universe - and Richard is at ground zero.
Racing around the globe from the Pacific Northwest to China to the wilds of northern Idaho and points in between, Reamde is a swift-paced thriller that traverses worlds virtual and real. Filled with unexpected twists and turns in which unforgettable villains and unlikely heroes face off in a battle for survival, it is a brilliant refraction of the 21st century, from the global war on terror to social media, computer hackers to mobsters, entrepreneurs to religious fundamentalists. Above all, Reamde is an enthralling human story - an entertaining and epic pause-resister from the extraordinary Neal Stephenson.
©2011 Neal Stephenson (P)2011 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
“Stephenson...delivers a sprawling thriller that shows him in complete control of his story.” (Publishers Weekly)
“Noir futurist Stephenson returns to cyberia with this fast-moving though sprawling techno-thriller...Who’ll prevail? We don’t know till the very end, thanks to Stephenson’s knife-sharp skills as a storyteller. An intriguing yarn—most geeky, and full of satisfying mayhem.” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review)
“Sometimes when you’re reading Neal Stephenson, he doesn’t just seem like one of the best novelists writing in English right now; he seems like the only one.” (Lev Grossman, Time)
1 Too many numbered and lettered lists
2. occasional middle-aged man phrases, even when it's not Richard (no, I don't have to provide examples)
3. if it's going to be this long (which I like - in this case, the length and detail almost feel like an attribute of the plot and the worlds it describes, and it doesn't hurt that I'm listening on a 3 week business jaunt with two weekend breaks) and it's going to rely on a combination of preposterous but entertaining coincidences, sometimes the speculation by the characters ought to be more off the mark; everyone is just too dang smart.
4. Seamus - Mr. Hilgartner needs to dramatically improve his Boston (southie says the narrator) accent. It would have been much less distracting to simply speak basic American English.
5. Too much love for firearms. I mean, it sounds like Mr. Stephenson loves them. I like nice guns too but the net effect is that almost everyone in the book, at least characters who get more than cursory descriptions, are in love with guns.
6. I forget.
A great story - I loved it as it rollercoastered through a contemporary interconnected world. Complex plot with plenty of detail, but also fluid enough to easily draw the listener along at a breakneck pace.
I was a bit put off by Stephenson after Cryptonomicon, but he more than makes up for it in REAMDE. The characters are cerebral and distinct, each with their own quirks that come out brilliantly in the dialog.
The plot is continuously shifting, and each turn is punctuated by the resilience of the book's primary protagonist. No slow muddled storyline (which was my biggest gripe with Crypto) in REAMDE. Also, Stephenson show off his real 'nerd cred', which is as always technically accurate and non-embellished.
The narration is second to none. Hillgartner pulls off Russian, English, and CHinese accents with authenticity, and he often does it in the same breath.
Driving over 100,000 mile a year since 1983, I got hooked on audible books on tape 30 years back. I now listen from my bicycle 2 hours a day
Some great characters and an interesting story line extended a bit beyond optimum but worth the credit and a satisfying thriller none the less. It could have been trimmed a bit but that's a quibble that cost it one star IMHO. It's quite unlike the more dynamic Snow Crash still it shows Stephenson's range and he is quite at home with this rather convoluted series of crisis inducing mistakes.
I focus on fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, science, history, politics and read a lot. I try to review everything I read.
I guess this book is a pretty standard thriller, which is fine, but did not impress me. It is NOT science fiction. The narration was well done, handling the myriad of characters well, although it may have been, understandably, uninspired. I was annoyed by the utter stupidity of the characters, who act in ways that made no sense at all, yet were convenient for the author. I was annoyed by the wildly unbelievably string of events necessary to move the story. Although there was a lot of action, I found most of the action uninteresting because it was so implausible I didn???t really care. There were a couple of scenes I found exciting, a couple of lines that were funny, and a very few scenes with appealing language and evocative imagery, but far less than I need to really enjoy a novel. Finally I found the novel lacked a spirit that transcended the story. This is a standard thriller with a few geek twists, but I always hope for more than standard.
Tell us about yourself!
I was eagerly awaiting this story & zipped right through it as soon as it arrived. LOVED it- my favorite since Cryptonomicon.
The story is classic Stephenson, and the characters are just crazy. There are a bunch of folks you end up following around and of course their backstories are all just bonkers but awesome. I was in awe how he brought everyone together at the end for the big showdown. Yes, it's a 100 page gun battle. A totally crazy, somewhat hilarious, pure Stephenson ending. Go listen! I was so sad to have this end, eagerly awaiting his next story.
As other reviews have noted, there are several passages which are duplicated out of sequence and spoil any suspense that the author was trying to create. Why won't audible fix the file?
I was SO disappointed about how out of sequence this otherwise exciting novel was. It was particularly bad for a book with so many moving parts—I didn't even realize how out of sequence it was until I started hearing repeat chapters. This NEEDS to be fixed. Do not buy until it is.
I picked up Reamde because the Audible blurb for this story involved an online game world, hackers, and a virus and it seemed like an interesting topic for a novel. That premise is just the tip of the iceberg and this tale veers all over the place. The main characters wind up all over the globe, and the online world of T'Rain, as spies, terrorists, smugglers, and the Russian mafia all get entangled into the plot. Every step of the way Stephenson ups the ante and the plot almost seems to run out of control.
Reamde moved along nicely but it was always just on the wrong side of being believable for me. The relationships formed by some of the characters were just too strong too quickly and the mechanics of the online gaming world of T'Rain were also just a little bit off. If you aren't an online gamer the latter may not be of concern to you at all; however, if you are picking this up because of the online game connection then you should know that it is only a small part of a much larger story. It is not as central to the tale as it was in "Ready Player One".
Reamde can be a fun thrill ride that will head in directions that aren't obvious but only pick it up if you are willing to embrace a chain of highly unlikely occurrences. Malcolm Hillgartner does a decent job of narrating although he deals with a lot of different accents to various degrees of success.
Finally a Stephenson book with an actual ending!
I was a bit hesitant at first about an American narrator (I'm British, so it's odd for me to hear a whole book in American), but Malcolm Hillgartner was excellent. Granted, his Scottish accent sounded Irish and his Welsh accent sounded more British than the British guy, but he's a great reader and those accents are minimal in the story and forgivable for how good he was in all other respects.
In terms of the story itself – what a great yarn. Long, complex, balanced, knowledgeable, humourous in places and, as above, actually has a great ending, unlike other Stephenson books I could name *cough* Diamond Age, Snow Crash *cough*
"great story, well worth the journey."
great story, great journey , good characters and plot line well worth a read. a bonus to any sci-fi fan
"Great story, terrible accents"
This is a great story on the whole, surprisingly exciting and fun for a story with so much infodumping, has a great array of characters from different backgrounds. Mostly good narration apart from terrible, bordering on offensive (I'm thinking of the Irish accent here) accents.
"Neal Stephenson does 24"
Frankly, I love this one. I've listened to it twice now, and upon reaching the end was tempted to go back for a third time. I'll probably end up listening to it once a year.
Pretty much every character in a Neal Stephenson book is clever and interesting, and Reamde is no exception. It's a refreshing change from most thrillers, where you find yourself in a state of perpetual frustration with the protagonists (I was once bitten on the shin by a Lee Child novel).
This even ups the ante on James Bond's globe trotting by trotting on several globes at once. The characters range from practically everywhere, and Malcolm Hillgartner does an excellent job. Unlike the Seveneves narrator, he wisely demurs from attempting a welsh accent. In fact, he imbues proceedings with a frenetic pace, and his delivery of Stephenson's frequently witty prose is top notch. He even pronounces Linux correctly.
If you are of a, shall we say, even slightly geeky persuasion, this is manna from heaven.
brilliantly narrated. Great story with good depth and woven threads, only minor criticism is some parts were unnecessarily verbose, but this trait is actually what makes Stevenson so brilliant usually.
"Unconnected stories that implausibly connect"
Bloated, yet engaging, unconnected characters that implausibly run towards each other and connect in the last few chapters. For most of the book you are thinking "WHAT'S THIS GOT TO DO WITH ANYTHING" only for all the loose ends to tie up completely in the last couple of chapters. But surprisingly enjoyable for all that, can see it as a long running TV series, like Lost, but everything makes sense in the end.
"A great book"
superb story. Refreshingly steps away from predictable linear style. Surprising til the end.worth a listen.
Loved this book. Great story about an ex drug baron turned computer genius (to suit his needs) who becomes embroiled in a dangerous sequence of events with terrorists and the Russian mafia.
"Many brilliant things about this."
The narrator is superb. The mix of IT, World of Warcraft the Mafia and Islamic Fundamentalism is something to behold. The story isnt perfect and contains too many unlikely coincidences. But it is really very brilliant.
"long and enjoyable"
enjoyable tale, good narration. but be prepared its very long. not that that is a bad thing.
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