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 really enjoyed this book. It was my second in this sort of sub genre behind Ready Player One (which was really great especially if you grew up in the 80's). But this book ended up being less about the video game world and more about how it was the catalyst for a string of events related to terrorism.
And though it dealt with terrosim it wasn't too heavy. You could actually enjoy it and the characters and laugh and root etc. It was a smidge longer than desired but I think because of the numerous international locations and related travel it kind of had to be that way to allow for the plot to develop.
I would recommend.
Loved it! Loved the ingame and out of game settings and unpredictable story line. I found myself walking just a little farther and driving once more around the block because I didn't want to turn it off.
Malcolm Hillgartner constantly impressed me with the diverse accents and voices required for this book. They seemed natural and authentic.
My only criticism is that the ending was abrupt and disappointing, so I felt a little cheated.
If you like thrillers that take you to interesting places, with unique and great characters, give this one a listen!
The game world was a great hook, but the story-telling didn't last. If Stephenson weren't a great writer I would have abandoned the book halfway through.
Reamde blends a Neal Stephenson sci-fi with a Tom Clancy thriller to great effect. The sprawling, globe trotting plot really carries you along. Rarely does over one thousand pages pass so quickly.
The whole Chinese episode in Reamde stands out as a highlight. Although I did love taking the tips to T'Rain.
Unfortunately Malcolm Hillgartner's narration is not terribly varied. He does a fine job but could have defined each of the characters more fully.
It's a book to eat up in big greedy chunks but certainly not one to get through in a single sitting.
Great Detail, Interesting Topics, all tie together wonderfully
It is a long listen and starts slow but really draws you into the story and characters are very well developed.
This book has many touching and also funny places that brought tears and made me laugh out loud.
This novel, like most of Stephenson's, is not easy. I enjoy them, but they tend to be loooong, full of technology-talk, and maybe in need of some serious editing.
However, that's it for my negative comments. I think Stephenson has a genius for explaining technical/mathematical/philosophical/sociological/astronomical/financial/etc. concepts, theories, and applications in a way that allows his non technical/mathematical/etc. readers a glimpse into these difficult to understand fields. The bonus is that he does it in the context of a story, so it's entertaining as well as educational. I have learned to trust his knowledge and believe that he will not make stuff up or make mistakes.
I enjoyed the character performances of the narrator, Malcolm Hillgartner, and found his accents very good to acceptable (in a couple of cases).I was a bit put off by other reviews which trashed his abilities, but I found them either overly critical or just plain wrong.
If you're up for it, and have the time to devote to thought provoking ideas, a pretty good thriller-type story, and a very interesting look into the MMPORG game genre, you have your work cut out for you.
As and avid video gamer, WOW in particular, Stephenson caught me up in his described game in the novel. I wish I could play the game he describes. It surprisingly turns into an international thriller with the game having some real world impact. I wish the game could have been more central to the story, but I really enjoyed it!
Awesome action thriller !
This is a complex but absolutely logical and clever story with fascinating characters. Fast-paced action, funny at times, Surprising twists. Never a boring moment. The most surprising thing about this story was that it really made me wonder if I might not, after all, want to become an online gamer :-)
Perfect performance by the narrator.
I am glad that I had a few days off when listening to this book because I could not put it down. Never have passed 38 hours faster. Excellent book, highly recommended !
I'm a Stephenson fan, despite the fact that he can struggle with endings. However, Reamde doesn't get anywhere near the end before it falls apart. It started out promisingly enough, but once it hit a critical juncture, it took a bizarre twist and just kept going. I was excited to read a Stephenson book so different from his other works, but this one just doesn't work.
Near Future Thriller
I like the many moments when Stephenson stops for a moment in the story to share an interesting anectote for the situation at hand. One example is a description of why people have the archetypical elves and dwarves in fantasy literature. another is how some conversations can eventually revolve around non-sequitor subjects, like bears, and a good conversationalist will steer clear of them.
Hillgartner is a good narrator with a deep voice and clear pronunciation that carry well across a room. He also adds a distinct personality to every character.
I hesitate to describe the moment because it would spoil an important plot twist halfway in the book. Let's say our protagonist has been put in a terrible situation realizes that not only can she escape, but many of the decisions she made up to that point have been subtly enabling that escape.
I recommend giving it a chance. If you like Neal Stephensons writing style, you'll like this book. Personally, I don't believe that this is Neal Stephenson's strongest work when compared to genre-defining masterpieces like Snow Crash and The Diamond Age. That doesn't mean that its a bad book by any means. Instead of taking place 40 or 100 years in the future, it takes place two. Some of the events are plausible, but I found it harder to suspend my disbelief.
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