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)
I think this story promised well at the beginning but relied too much on stereotypical characters - all the women were innocent and seen by the men as vulnerable, all the men were naughty boys in one way or another. The final shoot-out was predictable and quite boring really. There were some unresolved but important plot details lost in a bloodfest in the mountains. Overall, it kept me engaged, but I was disappointed by the denouement.
Maybe, after a few years have passed.
It's a Neal Stephenson. The details are all credible and spot on.
The meeting of the russian mobsters and the islamic terrorists.
An unashamed Audiophile who has his own studio and business called iZENEARS which brings Australian travel and history to life for locals and visitor's alike.
Complex and not easy to follow but good general listen if you are not concerned with the intellectual process.
This is a fast paced story. Dealing with addiction to video games money to make out of them and a close knit gun toking family. Set in America, Canada and China with the Russian mafia and the Islamic terrorist army. You are in for a wild ride. I definitely recommend this book.
Say something about yourself!
I wish I have read the reviews before because I kind of agree with dome of the other readers.It is very long, I have not really an idea why so many people was eager to risk everything for the girl.
I've been addicted to reading since high school. I started with pulp novels, switched to great literature in college and now read everything
I started reading, rather than listening to, this novel because I knew Stephenson is no minimalist. A fast pace and a spare writing style is the best (maybe only) kind I can listen to without zoning out. I could tell "Reamde" would be an exception so I switched to my iPod and finsihed the book in a few days. Even when he delved into details while time (in the story) slowed to a crawl, I always remained very interested and attentive. Never once did I zone out during this long book. The only thing that really bothered and distracted me was the narrator's pronunciation of "Reamde." While reading the book, I established the word in my head as "reamed," with the "e" at the end silent -- "reamed" doubling as a typo and meaning "screwed," which you are if the Reamde virus infects your files. The author must have meant it that way; it makes perfect sense. But the reader pronounces it "ream-dee," and my mind corrected him every time. It was distracting.
Otherwise, the novel was convincing and entertaining. It's packed with information, but the details don't get in the way of the story. They serve the story - to make it more compelling and real. The Russian mafia are in this book, so you might think it's going to be pulp garbage. Not so. They seem real. This book is long and at times the pace is slow, as I've mentioned, but it still flies by. I would have kept listening indefinitely and plan to check out Stephenson's other books.
Stephenson's skillful pacing and mind-blowing imagination and detail remind me of the often overlooked writer, Allan Folsom, author of five terrific books: The Day After Tomorrow (1994), Day of Confession (1998), The Exile (2004), The Machiavelli Covenant (2006) and The Hadrian Memorandum (2009).
Hillgartner's narration gripped me and yanked me through an unusual book that I might not have persevered with were it not for his excellent storytelling and voicing of characters and accents.
The whole premise behind this novel seemed too far fetched. But then again, what do you expect from Neal Stephenson. Maybe if it was not written in present day, I could suspend my disbelief.
I did not read the print version
I liked the different voices and the overall performance of the narrator.
This book made me get an audible account and convinced me to try audio books.
No, I never listen to books more than once.
Chongor, he was the most related character.
No, was my first I enjoyed it.
Not really, it was action all the way through.
Wasn't really into the whole Jihadest plot.
"This virus really infected me!"
A story told between the real countries and fabricated world of T’Rain, this monumental book taps into real do-able on-line technology and imagines an intricate plot mashing the interests of Russian Mafia, wacko survivalists, Jihadists (!), US Special Forces and gaming geeks all toting gun, and shooting people! It draws the humanity out of each characters, on all sides, as they display greed, devotion, love, violence, chivalry and humour.
As with all Neal Stephenson novels, the detail is well researched and much as Michael Crichton did, it pushes you to check the boundaries of fiction in the story.
Despite the stereotype British accent that did as well for both the Black Welsh Islamic terrorist as it did for the British/Chinese secret agent Olivia, the reader, Hillgartner, kept the pace and plot twists going and diction is good enough to ramp up the reading speed to time and a half - a benefit when this monster story comes in a 38 hours!
"A real 5 star audio book...."
For me this is a real 5 star audio book. I like longer, unabridged books and at over 38 hours long this is great value for money. The really great thing however, is that those 38 hours are action packed. The book never falters or goes through a slow patch, it's great, fast paced action with a quality modern storyline thats perfect 2011. Malcolm Hillgartner's narration is spot on as well.
I've read a lot of Neal Stephenson's other books, most of which are massive tomes and all of which I love. I have his previous novel, "Anathem" in all its 935 page hardback glory (there is no audio book version), sat on my shelf at home unread because the shear size of it daunts me but listening to this has reminded me that this is madness. I know I will love it as soon as I turn the first page and I plan to start reading it straight away.
If you have read Neal Stephenson before, and especially if you liked "Cryptonomicon" you will love this as well. If you are looking for an intelligent, fast paced modern thriller then I recommend you give this a go, the 38 hours will fly by.
"Wow! What a cracking listen."
It may be a long book at around 38 hours but the story, characters and construction are fabulous. The way the storylines split, weave around each other and then come back together for the climactic end game was very well accomplished. The narrator did a great job at holding my attention and in many cases anxious intrigue along the way. Some of the Scottish/Welsh/English accents were a bit ropey but good enough to be credible. A definite 5 stars from me.
Whatever the audio equivalent of a page turner is, this is one of them. I found myself making excuses to go for long walks so I could get more listening time in. At first I didn't think this was my kind of book; I loved Snow Crash and Diamond Age but I'm usually less fond of books set in the the "real" world.
The reader is just right although, in common with most US readers I've listened to, really can't do a Scottish or Welsh accent which always irks me at first as it breaks the spell but the story carried me with it so I can forgive that.
Finally, I do appreciate strong female protagonists and Zula kick ass!
"Brilliant novel, average reader"
The novel is fantastic. The story starts off a little slow but quickly picks up the pace until it is dragging you along in its wake. The characters are all incredibly well realised and even the bad guys feel like actual people; which is saying something when you consider several of them are terrorists planning atrocities.
The only down side to this audiobook is the fact that the reader has a tendency to miss the fact that he still has words to say in the odd sentence. Once you notice he is doing this, and you will notice it fairly quickly, the next thirty-or-so hours will be annoying. That's not to say that the overall production quality on the audiobook is poor, it's just that this guy really needs to read through what he's going to say before he starts to talk.
"You will be disappointed"
I found it impossible to listen to this book because the narration is so poor. Malcolm Hillgarther just can't do accents. Think Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins. Its a shame that about 50% of the characters are not American. Just awful.
The story itself is entertaining and engaging. If you like neal Stephenson's style you will like this. Buy the book instead
"Best Audio Book in Ages"
Great Characters and immersion into american culture that did not offend. I found myself taking the long way home because I did not want the story to stop
"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.
"Accents aren't a strong point..."
And as for the constant 'shone' pronounced as 'shown', don't get me started.
Excellent story, just let down a little by the decidedly average performance.
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