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Reamde Audiobook

Reamde

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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.

What the Critics Say

“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 Rating

4.3 (6461 )
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  •  
    Ee 05-21-15
    Ee 05-21-15 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Jumbled up"

    Something must be wrong with this audiobook. Part of the book repeat itself. In different chapters. If the author intended this then it's a terrible book. Otherwise the audiobook itself is badly made. The repeating chapters threw me off an otherwise decent story.

    9 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jim Fenner 05-21-15
    Jim Fenner 05-21-15 Member Since 2009
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    "Out of Order Nonsense"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    I was SO disappointed about how out of sequence this otherwise exciting novel was. It was particularly bad for a book with so many moving parts—I didn't even realize how out of sequence it was until I started hearing repeat chapters. This NEEDS to be fixed. Do not buy until it is.


    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ian C Robertson South Australia, Australia 05-05-12
    Ian C Robertson South Australia, Australia 05-05-12 Member Since 2010

    Eclectic mixer of books of my youth and ones I always meant to read, but didn't.

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    "A Word-burner!"

    I am trying to capture the audio equivalent to a page-turner, so I hope you get the idea.

    Another great yarn from Stephenson and on that would make a Jackie Chan film plot look slow and uninteresting. I'd like to say it's well paced, but it's not - all furious action, so that the downtime between engagements seems barely to be punctuation.

    Again, it has great characterisation. There are some very likable characters, both heroes and villans, and there is as complex a plot as one can reasonably expect. However, I found the pairings and the ending a bit too neat. If I was comparing it to his other works, I'd say the plot is not as clever as Cryptonomicom (hardly suprising, that) and the research is not as awesome (in the true sense of the word) as the Baroque Cycle, but I think it's a very good third place. This still puts it ahead of just about every other book in the same genre out there in my view. Overall I loved it!

    As for the performance, I thought Malcolm Hilgartner did a superb job; as good as William Dufris in Crypto', and with as much range and at a rattling good pace.

    I highly recommend it, but this time not only for history buffs. It's for the secret agent that lurks within each of us, too.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kimberly Ypsilanti, MI, United States 12-16-11
    Kimberly Ypsilanti, MI, United States 12-16-11 Member Since 2009
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    "Not as much story as implied."

    Ok, I love long stories. However, this one went on way too long for the plot. I kept finding myself drifting off only to realize I hadn't actually missed anything integral to character or plot development. There was lots of back story to justify future actions that I really don't think added anything to the story. And lots of meandering around or waiting for things to happen.... and not in a Tolkien "the journey is the story" way.

    Having said that, the book does have interesting twists and well written characters that definitely draw you in. From the synopsis I was expecting something more sci-fi, but the story has more of an espionage/terrorist bent.

    The narrator is ok, but I agree with others about his deficiency in portraying accents. He used a generic British accent instead of a Welsh one for one of the main characters. The Hungarian accent was atrocious & Russian accents were cartoonish. Thankfully, he didn't even attempt Chinese accents.

    In the end, I suggest you give it a try. Although it's not my cup of tea, it didn't suck.


    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michele Kellett Seattle, WA United States 11-04-11
    Michele Kellett Seattle, WA United States 11-04-11 Member Since 2014
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    "Fasten your seat belts!"

    Neal Stephenson, my favorite speculative fiction writer, is back in form with this one, perhaps because he's back in his own century, and back on his own territory (literally: we are in places with which Stephenson is deeply familiar -- the Pacific Northwest, Manila and the coast of China, as well as the world of massive multiplayer gaming.) His speculations, thus grounded, are more entertaining than usual and focused on a variety of strategies and scams. How can you make real money in an imagined world? How can a terrorist fly out of China without a flight plan or manifest? How does one spend millions of hours writing/playing online games and maintain a slim figure? To which a delighted reader might respond: how do you write a 100-page gun battle that a reader can actually follow? how do you maintain multiple plot lines and dozens of characters without dropping (or drooping) the narrative pace?

    Stephenson has invented a genre unique to himself: a big dumb nonstop action thriller packed with provocative ideas and insights, and rich in humor based on characters and their interactions. (Yes, I've read William Gibson, whom I like. But Gibson is the vegan at the feast compared to Stephenson's full-throated omnivore).

    There is a large international cast of characters, whom the narrator keeps distinct with reasonably plausible accents that (mostly) don't go overboard.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alex Levine Florida, USA 10-24-11
    Alex Levine Florida, USA 10-24-11 Member Since 2015
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    "Good fun...but a little low on substance"

    Stephenson is a great storyteller, and like most of his books (I'm a committed fan) this one is a great romp. However, what sets him aside from the other prolific storytellers who reliably produce good, long novels is that is books tend to have some real intellectual substance, even when they don't take themselves too seriously. Such substance is missing from Reamde. I know that Anathem, my personal favorite, is not to everyone's taste--but even Snow Crash, Diamond Age, and Cryptonomicon all played with big ideas in a compelling and stimulating way. Reamde has great characters, fast-paced action, and surprising twists and turns--but the ideas are a bit thin on the ground.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Candace B. Walden California 06-01-15
    Candace B. Walden California 06-01-15 Member Since 2015

    Candybrie

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Out of order"

    I'm only about a third of the way through, but there are several parts out of their proper order so far, making certain things terribly confusing. I'm fairly certain this is a problem with the recording rather than the actual writing.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Steph United States 04-18-13
    Steph United States 04-18-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Thank heavens!"

    I loved this book and Neil Stephenson, however, I do not love all of his books. Recently, I have had frustrations with Anathem and the books he has written with other authors. I much prefer it when he is the sole author. This is not science fiction but it is much more in line with Snow Crash or Cryptonomicon in detail of knowledge and style. Stephenson does a fabulous job in communicating and understanding the gaming world (not that I am an expert but those I know and other reviewers have stated it is).

    Malcolm Hilgartner does a wonderful job with the narration. He did well with the accents, and in my opinion did very well doing female voices.

    If you like Stephenson and if you enjoy a suspense novel you will enjoy this book. It was a relief to read this book. I was hesitant after Anathem and Mongoloid, as I mentioned above. If you are hestitant, like I was, don't skip Reamde. It really is great.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Charles Atkinson Greensboro, NC, United States 03-08-13
    Charles Atkinson Greensboro, NC, United States 03-08-13 Member Since 2015

    Dept Q, Harry Hole... where are you?

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Easy 5 Star on story and narration."
    What did you love best about Reamde?

    Remarkable characters, a unique storyline, fast paced plot and top notch narration make this an easy 5 star novel. Did I mention its well written?

    This is a long, complicated tale involving an in depth view of gaming, spies, gangsters, CIA ops, gun nuts, beautiful women, overweight men, and I could go on without exaggeration. As incredible and unlikely it seems that such a story could actually occur to one group of people inside of a month's time period, Stephenson's storytelling makes it work. His characters are so engrossing, believable and likable I could not stop listening.


    What other book might you compare Reamde to and why?

    Even though its not fantasy or horror, it reminds of Stephen King's The Stand, Under the Dome and Dumas Key. These great books and Remde share the same, multi layer storyline, an extremely large cast of characters and unforgettable heroes with truly evil adversaries. All have an excellent pace, which is important considering the length of the book.


    What does Malcolm Hillgartner bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    I am fairly certain I haven't heard this guy before, which is a shame considering I've listened to over 500 novels. He is amazing. His accents are spot on and each character is easily discernible.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    I loved the CIA character from Boston. He brought humor into the story.


    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joshua mcleansville, NC, United States 06-16-12
    Joshua mcleansville, NC, United States 06-16-12 Member Since 2013

    www.newimperium.org

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Settle Down for a LONG Haul..."


    Reamde is the massive new tome from Neal Stephenson. Unlike most of his other novels, this is a more traditional modern-day thriller, albeit chock full of his own brand of humor and techie geek references.

    Just make sure you're ready to settle down for a long haul. This book is over 1000 pages, over 38 hours on audio.

    It's not that so much happens in the book, but rather that Stephenson describes everything, often from the perspectives of multiple characters, jumping back to recap some things from their viewpoint. There IS a large cast of characters too, by the end. The advantage is that you really feel like these characters are old friends after spending so much time with them. On the downside, however, I think the characters still don't feel as deep and fully realized as they should be.

    The story stays interesting with Stephenson's dry, often geeky humor. The writing is pretty solid as well, and the story is constantly taking unexpected small turns. Hilarious at times, it involves a double kidnapping of the main character Zula, who is first taken by Russian mobsters, who head out to take revenge on the designer of the computer virus Reamde, only to stumble upon a cell of Al Qaida terrorists, who kidnap Zula again.

    This is all outrageous and sometimes humorous, sometimes tense. You can tell Stephenson knows a lot of stuff about what he's writing, from all things tech to subtle cultural references and traits. He must surely have traveled to these locations in order to describe them so fully, places such as Xiamen, China; Manila, Philippines; Prohibition Creek, Idaho.

    Someone else said that this book is pieces of action followed by long infodumps, and that about sums it up. This pattern seems to repeat endlessly from beginning to end, until you really expect it. Other things I saw are weaknesses: some strange Deus Ex Machina moments, which shouldn't have been needed in a book of this size; and the fact that the title of Reamde doesn't seem to be THAT central to the book. To the first half, certainly. But later on it's clear the story is about stopping the terrorists rather than the meager threat posed by the computer virus.

    I think the audio book added a lot to the experience, as the narrator did a lot of different characters and accents well (not perfectly, but passably), and inflected just the right amount of sarcasm to the humorous sections.

    If you're looking for a LONG thriller, are into gaming and/or MMORPGs, you will probably enjoy this book.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Sort by:
  • Jennifer Random
    7/10/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • gsw_cortexiphan
    4/29/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Brilliant!"

    Finally a Stephenson book with an actual ending!

    I was a bit hesitant at first about an American narrator (I'm British, so it's odd for me to hear a whole book in American), but Malcolm Hillgartner was excellent. Granted, his Scottish accent sounded Irish and his Welsh accent sounded more British than the British guy, but he's a great reader and those accents are minimal in the story and forgivable for how good he was in all other respects.

    In terms of the story itself – what a great yarn. Long, complex, balanced, knowledgeable, humourous in places and, as above, actually has a great ending, unlike other Stephenson books I could name *cough* Diamond Age, Snow Crash *cough*

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Dave
    4/13/16
    Overall
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    Story
    "great story, well worth the journey."

    great story, great journey , good characters and plot line well worth a read. a bonus to any sci-fi fan

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Maxxxxxx
    3/17/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great story, terrible accents"

    This is a great story on the whole, surprisingly exciting and fun for a story with so much infodumping, has a great array of characters from different backgrounds. Mostly good narration apart from terrible, bordering on offensive (I'm thinking of the Irish accent here) accents.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Graham
    2/10/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great"

    brilliantly narrated. Great story with good depth and woven threads, only minor criticism is some parts were unnecessarily verbose, but this trait is actually what makes Stevenson so brilliant usually.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • John S.
    2/3/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Unconnected stories that implausibly connect"

    Bloated, yet engaging, unconnected characters that implausibly run towards each other and connect in the last few chapters. For most of the book you are thinking "WHAT'S THIS GOT TO DO WITH ANYTHING" only for all the loose ends to tie up completely in the last couple of chapters. But surprisingly enjoyable for all that, can see it as a long running TV series, like Lost, but everything makes sense in the end.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Iona, North East Scotland
    10/8/15
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    Performance
    Story
    "A great book"

    superb story. Refreshingly steps away from predictable linear style. Surprising til the end.worth a listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Jonathan
    9/14/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Loved it"

    Loved this book. Great story about an ex drug baron turned computer genius (to suit his needs) who becomes embroiled in a dangerous sequence of events with terrorists and the Russian mafia.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Benjamin
    STOKE ON TRENT, United Kingdom
    2/9/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Many brilliant things about this."

    The narrator is superb. The mix of IT, World of Warcraft the Mafia and Islamic Fundamentalism is something to behold. The story isnt perfect and contains too many unlikely coincidences. But it is really very brilliant.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Amazon Customer
    Southampton, UK
    12/10/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "long and enjoyable"

    enjoyable tale, good narration. but be prepared its very long. not that that is a bad thing.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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