Regular price: $34.95

Membership details Membership details
  • 30 days of membership free, plus 1 audiobook and 2 Audible Originals to get you started.
  • After trial, you'll get 3 titles each month: 1 audiobook and 2 Audible Originals of your choice.
  • Don't like your audiobook? Swap it for free.
  • Cancel anytime and keep your audiobooks.
  • After your trial, Audible is just $14.95/month.
  • Get access to the Member Daily Deal
OR
In Cart

Publisher's Summary

In the mountains of Pakistan, a high-tech mission aimed at preventing another nuke on US soil goes off the rails - with deadly results. At a Wall Street investment firm, a computer intelligence takes the first tentative steps to free itself from its digital restraints. In a basement workshop, an engineer sees visions of a god who instructs him to defend the human race - by any means necessary. 

In Level Five, the debut near-future thriller by Nebula Award winner William Ledbetter, AIs battle for dominance, and nanotechnology is on the loose. And all that stands in the way of the coming apocalypse is a starry-eyed inventor who dreams of building a revolutionary new spacecraft and an intelligence agency desk jockey faced with the impossible choice of saving her daughter - or saving the world.

©2018 William Ledbetter (P)2018 Audible Originals, LLC.

More from the same

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    444
  • 4 Stars
    270
  • 3 Stars
    106
  • 2 Stars
    15
  • 1 Stars
    10

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    528
  • 4 Stars
    193
  • 3 Stars
    45
  • 2 Stars
    16
  • 1 Stars
    3

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    394
  • 4 Stars
    243
  • 3 Stars
    112
  • 2 Stars
    25
  • 1 Stars
    11
Sort by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Tony
  • Hot Springs, AR, United States
  • 07-20-18

A firm 4 stars.

Overall this is a satisfying audiobook if you're into artificial intelligence. I liked the AI characters the most, but I feel the narrator did a great job bringing them all to life. A few parts of the story felt a little unnecessary and 11 hours is a tad short but I'd definitely buy more from this author.

19 of 20 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Techno thriller? Or hard science fiction? Either way, it’s excellent!

Opinions vary on technothrillers. Science fiction readers think of them as a subgenre of hard science fiction. Marketing departments disagree, treating them as a genre of their own.

But however you see them, William Ledbetter is a master. Level Five has high tech adventure worthy of Clancy or Crichton, and a vision worthy of Heinlein — but with gritty, modern world-building. This book is amazing!

The story weaves together different lines with different points of view, both human and AI. I was constantly impressed with the narrator’s ability to give each character (and their sections) a unique, recognizable voice. (Though if I have a complaint, it’s that the voice of the little girl Abby was jarring.)

Some parts of the story I could anticipate. Others kept me guessing. And the ending is audacious. I give this book my highest recommendation.

22 of 24 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A well-written and smart book, well narrated

A science fiction thriller with multiple plot lines that culminate in a well-orchestrated climax. I'm not primarily a science fiction reader, but the pacing and story carried me right through this well-written and smart book. The narrator is terrific at crafting distinct characters for all the point of view voices and really brings the story to life.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great Sci-Fi!

As someone who works in this field, I’ve been frustrated by the lack of good AI sci-fi, but this novel does a terrific job of describing a world where our reliance on tech and desire to anthropomorphize our digital assistants has become second nature. When the digital assistants themselves become ‘aware and available’, the conflict and trust (or lack of it) that has been bubbling below the surface rises to the top. Great book and excellent narration!

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

A Real Mess

The book starts off ok as an AI cautionary tale but quickly devolves into an Irwin Allen disaster film with terrible sub plots and bogas emotional content. I actually had to ff through the parts with the kid it was so awful. Maybe the author started writing one book and half way through decided to change to an allegory on global warming. Of course, I could be wrong and it's just a mess. I'm pretty non critical of Sci-fi but this is not good.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

An excellent but surprisingly dark near-future SF

This near-future science fiction thriller liberally mixes a number of well-trodden threats in the genre; from nuclear and biological terrorism, to unchecked artificial intelligences pursuing their agendas, to weaponizing nanotechnology. And yet, Ledbetter takes on a role of an experienced DJ, remixing these familiar things in fascinating new ways, adding in a cast of fascinating characters and experimenting with interesting technologies that manage to feel both wondrous and entirely plausible within our lifetime.

Writers who are bullish on near-future technologies in ways Ledbetter appears to be earlier in the book tend to be optimists who can't help but allow their plucky technocrat protagonists to save the day in the end. Without giving away any of the plot I must say that Ledbetter does not shy away from darker sub-plots and that even the most charismatic of his characters are no more safe from the twists and turns of the plot than the Starks in George R. R. Martin novels.

This is a strong debut novel from an already-accomplished short fiction writer, and I look forward to reading or listening to whatever book he comes up with next.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent Story read by a very talented narrator

Straight to the point, I agree with the majority of the other reviews on this one. New author for me as well as the narrator.

I think listeners who enjoy tech about computers and mostly plausible SciFi, would enjoy this book. It is what I would call a more thinking man's SciFi rather than a "Space Opera".

Well crafted writing combined with a very versatile collection of voices.

One little minor thought was I am not sure what the narrator's actual voice is here. If he were to default to that in an obvious way for when he was surely narrating and not performing one of the many characters in the story, it would have provided a bit more foundation for me as a listener. I did find myself asking if this was narration or a character at a few points along the way. I had to ask myself if there were more than one narrator often. It was like the "narrators" were multiple characters as part of the story - if that makes any sense. But overall, the voice acting is very broad and rich. I am going to look for other books read by MacLeod Andrews now.

I am not sure if Mr. Ledbetter is writing a sequel to this work or not, but I would be interested in more content that would logically take place after the ending of this work. I am carefully avoiding any spoilers here :)

Thank you for an excellent read!

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Pretty good quasi-hard SF

Worth the credit. Solid narration (especially the differentiation between AI characters) and a relatively expected story with some nice curveballs. The setup for a sequel is pretty nice and in some ways, kinda reminded me of the beginnings of The Expanse series' narrative arc.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great storytelling

This story is well crafted with excellently developed believable characters. Narration is superb! Highly recommended!

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Actually Sci-Fi and well done

Maybe it's just me but it seems a number of books calling themselves science fiction will have one small element of something interesting or novel and the rest is just drama. This actually is sci-fi. It's well written, well-thought-out and just a dash of drama to keep it fun.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful