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Publisher's Summary

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.

Critic Reviews

“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)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • StealyDan
  • Northern Virginia, United States
  • 07-07-15

Not Stephenson's best, but very good

What did you like best about this story?

The plausibility of T'Rain and the external markets was very creative. I used to buy and sell "items" on eBay for Ultima Online, and made a tidy profit on some of them. Tying that economy into a techno thriller was clever.

Which character – as performed by Malcolm Hillgartner – was your favorite?

Abdallah Jones is a worthy villain, right up there with Hans Gruber.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

"It's not just a game anymore."

Any additional comments?

The final act dragged for me. It seemed like an endless game of cat-and-mouse through the woods of the Pacific Northwest. But that was the only low spot; the rest of the story was absolutely engrossing.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Disappointing

Neal Stephenson has written some of my favorite books of all time, his visions of the future are always compelling. Despite a fabulous narration by Mr Hillgartner, the story feels like it's tired of hearing itself. The virtual world created by the main hero feels like an afterthought ("oh yeah, I'm a technology prognosticator, almost forgot") and the characters are thinly drawn in favor of a forced 'breakneck pace' that seems more ambling than thrilling. Time to put Stephenson's books down for a while. I hope seven eves is good :-(

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    1 out of 5 stars
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DON'T BUY

story and performance are great, but chapters are all mixed up and/or missing completely starting at chapter 28. Struggled to finish. spend your money on the paper or e-book version.

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Good stuff!

I loved Cryptonomicon, so I decided to give this one a try. It didn't let me down. The story has fun settings and characters, and it got weird. Not boring. Check it out!

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Not the Neal Stephenson I love

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

I wouldn't recommend this book, especially when compared to others Stephenson has written. Overlong, tedious in many places, bizarrely violent to the point of sadism, unpleasant and uncomfortable listening, and in many places, unexpectedly badly written. There's a hint of the old Stephenson in the sometimes witty descriptions of the central computer game the rest of the story (loosely) surrounds, but too much of the book seems like Stephenson is attempting to channel Lee Child. Lee Child is funnier.

What was most disappointing about Neal Stephenson’s story?

The endless, slogging, unbelievable action tale of the interaction between the jihadists and Zula. Her torture, which isn't necessary for furthering the plot, is gratuitous and not for the squeamish.. Why does this constitute more than half of the book? It barely coheres with the much better story of T-Rain, the computer virus that launches the action, and the relationship among the international cast of players. The local color of China, British Columbia, Seattle, and the Philippines is well portrayed, as are some of the Asian and Russian characters. But the parts that stick in one's head are the scenes of ugly violence.

Have you listened to any of Malcolm Hillgartner’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Yes, and he's a good reader, although sometimes burdened with dislikeable books. He did a pretty good job of the various accents and didn't overdo the drama.

Did Reamde inspire you to do anything?

Vow not to read another new Stephenson book for a long time.

Any additional comments?

What is this obsession with the minutiae of guns?

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Excellent!

The only thing that would make it better would be if the narrator knew how to pronounce the Russian and Chinese words better. Really, a couple of hours googling and practicing would have made the narration so much better

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Rollicking tour de force

Rollicking tour de force. A clever melding of adventure technology and perhaps even social commentary. Cleverly created characters which come alive. Long but moves along very well.

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The writing is very complicated, but so enjoyable

This is a unique book, although you can say that about almost everything Stephenson writes. What distinguishes this is a fascinating technique he uses. As the story progresses, you not only get the same view of a situation from different characters, the exact same piece of the story is told again, but with additional information added at the beginning, middle or end. If you aren't prepared, you may think that there is something wrong with the recording itself.

The story has so many twists and turns. He often jumps ahead so you are hearing about things for which you don't have the background. Just wait. It will come, and probably from a direction you didn't expect. Have fun with this one. It is absolutely worth it!

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    3 out of 5 stars

Enjoyable but misleading

I was expecting a techy book, not a constant international hostage situation. Otherwise quite good.

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Really poor editing

Huge Stephenson fan since he first came out. This is one of his typical fun and imaginative yarns. Where it all comes apart is the horrible editing. Many sections are out of order or even read 3 or 4 times. Given the story itself moves back and forth in time and place and switches perspectives often, having the reading skip back and forth (especially in Section 3 of 5) was crazy making. Don't know if it was narrators fault or their edit team but come on guys, really? Really?