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)
Stephenson creates a complex set of characters and keeps the reader wondering what is next..and rooting for the lead characters. Starting in Iowa, driving/flying to Canada, exploding in Seattle and the really big bang in China...this book reminded me of the first of the Bourne series and its rich complex plots. A great read/listen
A major romp staged in the US, China, the Philippines, Canada and space in a computer game with Russians and Hungarians thrown in. This 74-year old computer guy found the story fascinating and the language used terrific and stimulating.
I decided to listen to Reamde after being blown away by Snow Crash. Boy was that a mistake! I only got about 10 hrs into the book before having to abandon it all together. The book is too long for the subject matter, moves way too slowly, and really does not constitute "science fiction" (at least based on what I struggled through ).
In the interest of full disclosure, I am not normally a fan of cyberpunk novels and tend to prefer hard sci-fi. Snow Crash was amazing because it crossed both genres and did an excellent job with each. Not true with Reamde. I probably won't listen to any more NS novels after this experience....
I've read most of Mr. Stephenson's work, and would consider myself a fan. I really liked the first 2/3 of the book, but felt like the final bit was kind of contrived. The book moved with real kinetic energy, but the set-up for the final scene and the way he tried to bring all of the characters back together just didn't work for me. I understood the reason for it, but while the first parts of the book felt like something that could really happen, I found myself having to increase my suspension of disbelief as it wound up.
It's still a very enjoyable read and I'd recommend it, but it ain't the Baroque Cycle.
From his other books I have come to expect something better from Neal Stephenson. His works are usually presenting very interesting ideas; scientific and philosophical integrated into an interesting plot. This book started out this way but before is was a quarter over, it descended into a long, tedious action story that reminded me of watching a marathon full season of "24" (Fox). I finished it to see what was going to happen to the individuals but had to slog through too much running around and shooting jihadi's all around the pacific coast. The new idea part had mostly to do with a World of Warcraft style game and what kind of business consequences it was having.
I was disappointed.
The reader did a good job.
The writing is simply bad. This is not because it lacks style, imagination, or information. It is bad because the author loves simile and owns a rather thick thesaurus. The end result are descriptions that include off the wall personification and ridiculous dark and foreboding cumulous cloud word phrases (I really can’t do that as good – or bad – as the author). I own many audio books – and this is only the second I have ever counted as a loss and turned off.P.S. – The story, as far as I heard, was unrealistic at its core.
As is common when a book is read, the narrator really needed to ask for advice on how to pronounce a few of the technical words. I can forgive SQL (pronounced sequel) but there were a few that were doozies. I guess they need a better editor?
Perspective provides a Particular Point of View
Stephenson has done it again; an exciting story, with a very interesting basis.
Mr. Hillgartner's performance, and putting accents to different characters made the entire story extremely pleasurable. One of the best performances I've ever listened to.
A very long book, but couldn't wait to get to the next listening session.
Good voices and accents, nicely consistent.
Nope, not good enough.
The plot was interesting, but after part 2 is was very foreseeable, i don't know if Neal foreshadowed deliberately, or if he's losing his touch, assuming it was deliberate, he must have a pretty dim view of his readers. the last half of the book was one big drawn out ending.
I feel like Neal tried to imbue Richard with the persona of Hiro from Snow Crash by making them similar, but it made me feel as though Richard just had a good back story but no personality.
Unbelievable plot line.
I like Stephenson's style, and I've enjoyed books of his in the past. This book was perfectly readable.
I liked Richard the best, as a character. I wish the book spent more time on his story. Malcom Hillgartner gave an excellent performance for all of the characters.
Neal Stephenson, while at time can make me feel like a simpleton never fails to draw me in with topics I want to be entertained by. At first I was thinking the book was going to be all about game-geeks (a badge I wear proudly!) so of course I get sucked right in. Interesting characters, accessible story, bam... I'm in, then here come the twists and turns, loved it. Long book yes, but that just means I got to enjoy it for longer. Thanks Neal!
Everyone loves it when 'they' get what they deserve.
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