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)
Thrilling, complex, long
Lots and lots of twists and turns - it is really 3 or 4 books in one.
Reamde reminded me a lot of William Gibson's recent work - a sort of hyper-present-day-reality with strong female leads. The length is typical of Stephenson's writing - full of wandering paragraphs and delightful details. You can love the musings of a talented mind, or get frustrated that the plot is not always central to the exposition.
This isn't the typical Stephenson book. I've found his recent work to be somewhat plodding. This one is a fast-paced thriller with good characters and an enjoyable performance. It has the pacing of his earlier books (Snowcrash, Zodiac) rather than the more recent work.
Jodi Picoult is my favorite author for various reasons including that she answers my emails. I am also interested in most crime dramas.
yes, I remember it clearly
there were so .many characters you meet along the way.
I think the 2 young travelers he meets on the train
Oh and the gentle giant he meets briefly when a fight breaks out somewhat near the end
no, it's almost impossible
I seriously did not think I would get so engrossed in this book that I would take my Mp3 player and walk around the house with headphones on because I could stop listening to it, but it was and I did
Fan of Fiction, And really really good naratives.
To tell the truth it was a little hard to get thru the first hour.. But not until the deal went down did this start to pick up traction. It was then that the story began to have different perspectives/viewpoint that told the story from that characters viewpoint. It is simple amazing. That and its many in dept but not minuscule draping of scenery and scents and sounds. Neal paints a fantastic portrait and its pallet is large and varied . The Narrator is amazing in his vocalizations of all the characters. To the point that you knew who was talking with out the need of the narrator to explain.
I loved the twisting storylines, Subplots, stories within stories. It is constucted in such a way as to hook the reader/listener into the fabric of the story without ever feeling that you are being pulled along like a child by a parent.
Malcolm, mastery of vocalizing each charater and giving them distinct accents and speech pattern is quite marvelous to put it plainly. I would say he could narrate anything and make it interesting.
This is not a one sitting book, 40 hours is a bit of time to dedicate to one book.. At times i could not get enough and even now am sadden that the tale has come to an end. These are characters I will miss.
Could not put it down, NS is still able to create a panoply of characters that engage, tour de force of suspense, entertaining waste of time but ultimately not satisfying. I don't remember much of the characters, nor the story. Coming from the author who brought us some truly stupefyingly awesome masterpieces [my favorite is 'Anathem'], this is mediocre.
It was good - addictively so but WAY TO LONG for the story it wanted to tell. I wanted to know what was going to happen next, but it became ridiculous in its crazy story connections and plot twists. At first it felt like Snow Crash, but then veered a bit out of control.
If you like Neal Stephenson, you should love this. While Diamond Age is my favorite of his works, I think his skills improve with each book he writes.
The only book of his I've read and been underwhelmed by was Snow Crash, and I feel like Reamde was his return to, and successful re-imagining of, the cyber-punk, MMORPG-based novel.
Thanks Neal! Keep 'em coming!
AWESOME! This guy is among the best audio book performers I've ever heard! As much as I enjoyed the book, I actually think Hillgartner's reading made it even more enjoyable than it would have been in print. His accents were fun and well-differentiated! I always knew who was talking, and it spiced up some already atomically spicy characters.
Chinese computer viruses, Al-Qaeda, the Russian mafia. All they have in common is a Midwestern farm girl.
While exiting a building set on fire to escape the terrorists who are hot in pursuit, one of the characters feels vaguely guilty about using the emergency exit, since it's really only supposed to be used in emergencies. The book is full of such subtly drawn, amusing, and realistic psychological moments.
Neal Stephenson at his best. This could have used a little editing to tighten it up, but this was so much more fun and readable than the Baroque Cycle.
I really enjoyed the story the most. I liked that there were great characters and the weaving of real life with virtual life.
I think this is a more modern (and obviously not a futuristic dystopia) story telling style in the likes of Philip K. Dick.
If you are looking for a text that will allow you lose yourself in the story and you enjoy intrigue and the mixing of technology and murder/ mysteries, then you should really enjoy this book.
Reamde is classic Neal Stephenson--a rollicking story with unbelievable coincidences. I personally love the unbelievable coincidences; they make for an epic novel that doesn't take itself too seriously.
"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.
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!
"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
"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.
"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.
"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.
There are a few novels that are so good it is hard to say enough positive things about; this is one such novel.
Listen or read this, I doubt you will be disappointed.
very well narrated, Malcolm Hillgartner tells a gripping story that keeps you hooked to the end.
"so long and so good!"
Adventure and action thriller. Full of people I want to know about. As someone who doesn't MMO, but is player adjacent, it made sense for me and had enough of the right kind of detail to be loveable. Much story. Such Wow. I was very happy with the ending.
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