• The Florentine Deception

  • A Novel
  • By: Carey Nachenberg
  • Narrated by: Nick Podehl
  • Length: 10 hrs and 29 mins
  • 4.2 out of 5 stars (120 ratings)

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The Florentine Deception

By: Carey Nachenberg
Narrated by: Nick Podehl
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Publisher's Summary

A seemingly mundane computer cleanup leads to an electrifying quest for an enigmatic - and deadly - treasure in this gripping techno-thriller.

After selling his dorm-room startup for millions and effectively retiring at the age of 25, Alex Fife is eager for a new challenge. When he agrees to clean up an old PC as a favor, he never expects to find the adventure of a lifetime waiting for him inside the machine. But as he rummages through old emails, Alex stumbles upon a startling discovery: The previous owner, a shady antiques smuggler, had been trying to unload a mysterious object known as the Florentine on the black market. And with the dealer's untimely passing, the Florentine is now unaccounted for and ripe for the taking. Alex dives headfirst into a hunt for the priceless object. What starts out as a seemingly innocuous pursuit quickly devolves into a nightmare when Alex discovers the true technological nature of the Florentine. Not just a lost treasure, it's something far more insidious: a weapon that could bring the developed world to its knees. Alex races through subterranean grottos, freezing morgues, and hidden cellars in the dark underbelly of Los Angeles, desperate to find the Florentine before it falls into the wrong hands. Because if nefarious forces find it first, there'll be nothing Alex - or anyone else - can do to prevent a catastrophic attack.

©2015 Carey Nachenberg; This edition published in 2015 by Open Road Integrated Media, Inc. (P)2015 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about The Florentine Deception

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

if you enjoy action or cyber-crime stories

The Florentine Deception was an enjoyable adventure-type story with an interesting plot, lots of action and some nice humor. Although it is a techno-thriller centering around a cyber-security expert you do not need a profound knowledge of computer science to follow the story. The author does a great job providing just enough details for easy understanding and without it getting too technical or dull. The main theme was really a treasure hunt to find the location of the Florentine. This involved among other things a funny trip to the morgue with the hero's grandfather, a climbing adventure and a few altercations with a couple of adversaries who were also after the Florentine. The author created a likable group of characters who were supporting the somewhat unlikely hero of this story: Alex is a twenty-five-year-old computer geek who made tons of money with his start-up and is now spending his days drifting, mainly climbing with friends and doing computer-related favors for his relatives. While there wasn't a lot of character development or truly breathtaking twists, it was an easy and fun story to listen to.

Nick Podehl's narration was as ever excellent, and one of the reasons I decided to listen to this book in the first place. He was a great fit for the character of Alex, but also managed to bring all the other characters to life with different voices and believable accents. It always feels as if he really gets into the stories he narrates and he is enjoying himself, which in turn makes it easy for the listener to engage with the audio book. There were no problems with the production.

I think it's worthwhile mentioning that the author is donating the proceeds of this debut publication to charities supporting underprivileged students and veterans. So if you enjoy action or cyber-crime stories and/or have an interest in climbing and/or computer security, you should definitely enjoy this audio book whilst simultaneously supporting a very good cause.

Audiobook provided for review by the author.

Please find this complete review and many others at my review blog

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14 people found this helpful

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

Feels like non-fiction, which is terrifying.

Alex Fife is a multi-millionaire former computer virus buster. He's also a fan of a good treasure hunt. The Florentine Deception is the perfect combination of both of these worlds. Mixing in old school treasure hunting with new school computer technology, The Florentine Deception weaves in and out of some amazing (and terrifying) worlds that feel more like non-fiction than fiction.

The narration was done by Nick Podehl, and holy crap does he kill it. I honestly think I've listened to a book or two narrated by him before, but I will definitely be checking him out in the future. The characters were 100% believable and the voices he gave them were very fitting for each character. Even the female voices were pretty good, which isn't easy to accomplish as a male narrator.

I consumed this book like it was real. Alex Fife and the situations that he gets himself in were just crazy. But the scariest part was that everything that Nachenberg wrote is totally plausible. That's what makes The Florentine Deception so scary.

Alex was so incredibly likable as a character. The way he was written made me really like him and all of his interactions with the other characters in the book. His roommates and friends were all the perfect additions to his life. Not one single person felt out of place in this novel. A feat in itself.

The techno/computer things in this were written by someone with A LOT of knowledge, but they are easy to read. They don't read like a computer manual or anything. It's actually borderline elegant.

I won't spoil anything for you, but I was extremely pleased with the ending. A few times throughout I wasn't sure how it was going to end, but I was happy with the choice that Nachenberg went with.

Overall, a wonderful technothriller that was full of twists and turns that had me begging for more. Nachenberg is a name to remember, especially when it comes to mixing reality with our new computer-oriented world.

I was given a free copy of this by the author in exchange for my honest and unbiased opinion.

Like this and want to see more? BriansBookBlog DOT com

4 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Reminds me of contrived juvenile series books..

A very formula oriented book. I found it to be reminiscent of serial books associated with TV shows like the Partridge family or Scooby Doo in the 1970's.

A rather contrived and ridiculous young protagonist who apparently made a fortune in cyber security. Very formula and unbelievable as someone who can hack anything.. The protagonist is complete with his side kick and exchanging "dude" fist-bumps regularly during the story. I can't imagine anyone over about 20 years old identifying with a rather ridiculous character.

It becomes even more ridiculous as the protagonist becomes "curious" and as on the fly decides to buy a house in Malibu for 2+ million $, simply so he can investigate nefarious situation. (First of all where could you find a house in Malibu for $2M?).

In any case, I couldn't finish this disaster as the contrived story seemingly was designed to appeal to tweens and teens.

All I could think when reading was Shaggy wondering where Velma and scooby were....


2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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W*O*W!

Wow! I don't normally write a full review but I felt compelled to with this book. The author has a way of making the reader feel as though he's part of the story. I couldn't stop listening! The narration was very good as well - I liked the voices. Please Carey write another book soon! Hurry!

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • JQ
  • 09-20-21

An Entertaining Techno-thriller For The Layperson

Story (no spoilers)

I found most of Alex Fife's adventures to be fun to follow. There were some moments in the latter half of the story where I felt that he had a little too much plot armor. I.e., there were some scenarios that were a bit of a stretch for me mostly from how Alex manages to somehow get out of those tough situations.

Performance

Nick Podehl was a phenomenal narrator. I think he did a great job performing a wide range of characters (and thus a wide range of voices) that really brought the story to life.

Overall

In combination of the persuasive performance by Nick Podehl, Carey Nachenburg certainly deployed all sorts of visual and tactile imagery to help the audience envision the tunnel systems, caves, and other environments portrayed in the story (and those who happen to be familiar with the greater Los Angeles area/UCLA may appreciate some more extra details).

What I appreciated the most from the story is how Carey Nachenberg gently introduces some fundamental ideas in cybersecurity. His expertise in cybersecurity and his time as a professor at UCLA definitely shows in The Florentine Deception as he distills the notions of hex editors, pixels, steganography down to a level that anyone can appreciate even if they have limited-to-no-knowledge of cybersecurity (myself included).

All-in-all I think it's worth listening to if you have some interest in cybersecurity and how a cyberattack may manifest in present day; I found myself re-listening/re-reading the foreword (which you can preview on Amazon as of 2021-09-20) as The Florentine Deception certainly gives you food for thought on some possible sequences of events from such cyberattacks.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Very entertaining!

Great book, kept me engaged and I listened to nearly the entire audiobook in one go! Loved the UCLA, spelunking, and climbing references.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Must Read If You Like Tech and Realistic Fiction

Not just a generic mystery novel.

I felt I could really relate to the protagonist, Alex Fife. His grandfather in the story is hilarious -- probably my favorite character. There is a part where Alex and his grandfather is trying to do something in the hospital and that situation was just all around hilarious (intentionally being vague to avoid spoiling the story).

Also loved how the cyber problem/crime in the story could actually happen in real life and was explained in a way that non-technical people would understand.

I usually listen to audiobooks when I'm doing chores but found myself also listening at the gym and making time for the book. You're not going to want to put this story down once you start.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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A riveting adventure!

The Florentine Deception was a thrilling mystery-adventure that kept me guessing until the very end. The down-to-earth group of friends, realistic descriptions, and promise of untold treasure make you feel like you're searching for the Florentine right alongside Alex.

The book has an even pacing, allowing the listener to getting to know the lovable characters before the deception really begins to take off!I Nachenberg's storytelling ability is thorough and engaging, and I found myself laughing and grimacing with the characters as they embarked on their high-stakes adventure.

Alex is a truly clever main character, wielding his technological prowess expertly, and you as the listener often feel like you are partaking in his clever schemes. I truly enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone who is craving a good adventure!

1 person found this helpful

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Fast paced cybertech adventure

This book offers a very unique mix of many genres, from cyber crime, adventure, mystery, and survival thriller. The author provides an extremely realistic and believable yet crazy ridiculous scenario that drives the plot along at a brisk pace. The characters are likeable and relatable to millienals and the tech and outdoors crowd. However the dialogue and some side characters can at times be cheesy and cliche.

1 person found this helpful

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  • SS
  • 09-07-17

Couldn't stop listening!

I don't usually listen to mystery stories but this one really had me hooked. There were several points in the story that felt frustrating bc the energy and action wouldn't let me take a break! But I guess that's what kept me listening. :P the performance was also fantastic so all in all a wild and enjoyable ride!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Lexi Carnell
  • 10-09-18

amazing

Loved the narrators voice, really made the book enjoyable to listen to. Anyone with any knowledge of cyber security will love this book
And if u don't have knowledge on cyber security still a great listen!!

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Wicked Kea
  • 04-28-17

a read for teens

A better read for male teens than adults. Writing ok. Plot thin, but fun. Hilarious mortuary scenes are a bonus. His female characters are insipid, at best.