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)
Chapters in order.
None. They all had their chapters in order.
Chapters out of order. Did not not know what was happening and when.
The ones that put the chapters out of order.
Seriously, folks unless you want to spend time searching forwards and backwards through the chapters to make sense of what is happening. Don't both. Buy the print version, it might have its chapters in order.
Something must be wrong with this audiobook. Part of the book repeat itself. In different chapters. If the author intended this then it's a terrible book. Otherwise the audiobook itself is badly made. The repeating chapters threw me off an otherwise decent story.
I rate as follows: 5 Stars = Loved it. 4 Stars = Really liked it. 3 Stars = Liked it. 2 Stars = Didn't like it. 1 Star = Hated it.
What a romp!
Reamde begins by introducing us to a strong and varied cast of characters. Once the story weaves them together, it then tears them apart; with events scattering them across the globe. Some end up on their own, others in small groups. The rest of the story slowly works towards bringing all these people back together for the story's climax and resolution. Some will make it, others will not.
The book rotates between these different individuals and groups as they deal with everything from hijacked plans, to adrift boats at sea, to navigating wild mountain passes, to working their way through different cities around the world. Each plot rotation is long enough to allow you to miss the other groups and wonder what's happening to them. The focus then rotates, and another piece of the puzzle is revealed as we move to another part of the world, and another group of our intrepid characters.
Malcolm Hillgartner did a fantastic job with the narration, and I appreciated his style of reading. He didn't try to do female voices different than male, which I was glad of. He also did a solid job with the accents from the different nationalities.
An added bonus of the book was the fascinating world of T’Rain that it introduces us to. T’Rain is the online role playing game that plays a pivotal role in the story's plot. T’Rain's virtual, mystical world provides a chimerical quality to the story that I greatly enjoyed.
The downside of the novel was that the last 4 hours were in desperate need of an editor. It went on far too long, and would have been more effective if written in a cleaner, more concise style. I will also admit that it came to mind several times that you could build an entire new drinking game based on how many times the author uses the word "inferred" in his sentences.
Overall, a very enjoyable way to spend some time, and I will certainly be checking out additional novels by Neal Stephenson.
I am an entertainer...so I spend a lot of time on the road. I take my audio seriously. I appreciate great writing and outstanding narration.
I was expecting to read a novel about Silicon Valley. I really wanted to go there in this book...but there's none of that. There IS a lot of other stuff: terrorists, cyber terrorism, guns, engaging characters and a story that you will (at least ONCE) sit in the car in the driveway to hear what happens next.
The remarkable thing is that -- despite all these hefty hours -- not a whole lot happens.
This is essentially one long chase.
But the time passes by very quickly. A very good read.
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.
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.
"long and enjoyable"
enjoyable tale, good narration. but be prepared its very long. not that that is a bad thing.
"A whole lot of entertaining nothing"
It may be a "techno thriller", but only just -- the technology in question feels mostly like a MacGuffin to motivate a chase around the globe; the possibilities and dangers of technology remain largely unexplored, but while the book fails to inspire or enlighten, it remains entertaining throughout. "It's not a must-read, it's a can-read."
Recommend to anyone who is looking for a lot of book for their credit and who is willing to accept a somewhat run-of-the-mill thriller. Reader is competent.
"A thrilling adventure"
This is an excellent story with wonderfully delivered narrative that made me want to keep listening. Neal Stephenson always writes with great depth and breadth and this was the first time I had listened to an audio version of one of his books. But it did not disappoint in any way and I enjoyed the delivery by Malcolm Hiltgartner.
Reamde covers many subjects and develops so many characters, you end up rooting for them all. It's difficult to assign a preference to any of the cliffhangers and indeed many of them take a while to resolve in the narrative. The plot does not falter at any point despite the length of the book.
I enjoyed them all. Some level of ingenuity was required to escape each problem scenario and where it seemed hopeless there would be a solution. Not every situation resolved happily though. There was balance.
The role of the cougar.
There was no wasted narrative in this story. Everything matters.
"Details make the story"
Since snow crash Neil Stephenson has been one of my favorite authors with Cryptonomicon being, to my mind, his stand out book. While “Read me” isn’t as good as Cryptonomicon it is still well worth a read. I found the opening third slightly confusing, but after this I couldn’t stop listening.
A long book with a very geeky feel, it may not appeal to all, but i loved it.
The narration was quite neutral and did not detract from the book.
"Good clean fun - with guns"
I bought this because it was on special offer. I really didn't know what to expect but thought it worth a try.
The story rattles away at breakneck speed. Lose your concentration for a second and you're on a different continent.
For all the detail on computer games at the beginning, this is an old-fashioned adventure story and none the worse for that. Not a great deal of character development but a lot of action. In it's own way it's rather good and I have to confess that I rather enjoyed it although not my usual sort of listen. I was however, not so happy about all the guns. At times it felt like a love letter to the firearm.
"Started so well and then became tedious"
Yes because I enjoy (usually) Neal's book's and I thought it was well narrated. The story started really well and showed much promise. It is just that the ending was a bit of a let down in my opinion and I started to loose interest.
No as right up until the last quarter of the book I was enjoying it.
The description of the virtual game world and how it affected peoples lives. Could this really be the future.
Yes - by no means a bad book just not as good as I hoped.
I thought the narration was excellent.
"i nearly didn't make it"
This is a good story with some great concepts & characters but it could have been brilliant. It just goes on too long, i never thought i'd be recommending an abridged version.
The narration is good, i hope he was paid by the minute.
No need for a follow up, i just need to know Eggdog made it home.
"Twisty Tech Thriller"
Not quite up to the standard of Cryptonomicon, but it weaves multiple viewpoints in the story arc in an engaging way. In ten years time, some of the technology described will seem old fashioned (and of course it will be), but it's the usual mix of well researched detail and plausible very-near-future speculation from Stephenson.
It doesn't make the mistake of speculating *too* far into the future; everything described *could* be done now, so coming back to it at a later date, or picking it up in 5 years time may feel slightly nostalgic, but it will dodge sounding dated and inaccurate.
A wide range of likeable and thoroughly unlikeable characters thrown into challenging and increasingly tense situations.
I enjoyed Malcolm Hillgartner's performance; the accents are a bit variable in places - you may pause for a second or so to tune into the character - but all-in-all pretty effortless to listen to, clear, and well paced.
Reamde is one of those stories that sound good from the cover but then gets better and better. It does a fantastic job of creating likeable characters throughout and perfectly combines the geeky world of MMORPGs and the fast pacing of a thriller.
Malcolm Hillgartner does a great job of story telling and has the better range of voices that I've heard in a while. Fantastic listen and I've recommended it to a lot of people and bought paper copies for Christmas presents.
"Rip roaring good tale, but.."
This is a great book to switch your brain off to an just enjoy. It killed many hours on my commute which is just what I wanted it to do.
As the blurb says the story takes us from country to country (even to a cyber country) following the trials and tribulations of Zula (main character) a bunch of Russian Mafioso and then a group of Jihadists. If you can get past the Alexander the Meerkat, Russian accents and the slightly too coincidental story line then you will surely enjoy the book.
My only gripe is that the author went to great lengths to explain how the coincidences occurred. It was almost as if he knew some things we too unbelievable so he tried to rationalise and explain everything. It got a bit tiresome toward the end of the book. Still a great listen though.
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