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The Last Firewall

Narrated by: Jennifer O'Donnell
Series: Singularity, Book 3
Length: 9 hrs and 46 mins
4 out of 5 stars (498 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

In the year 2035, robots, artificial intelligences, and neural implants have become commonplace. The Institute for Ethics keeps the peace, using social reputation to ensure that robots and humans don't harm society or each other. But a powerful AI named Adam has found a way around the restrictions.

Catherine Matthews, nineteen years old, has a unique gift: The ability to manipulate the net with her neural implant. Yanked out of her perfectly ordinary life, Catherine becomes the last firewall standing between Adam and his quest for world domination.

©2013 William Hertling (P)2014 William Hertling

Critic Reviews

“Awesome near-term science fiction.” (Brad Feld, Foundry Group managing director)
“An insightful and adrenaline-inducing tale of what humanity could become and the machines we could spawn.” (Ben Huh, CEO of Cheezburger)
“A fun read and tantalizing study of the future of technology: both inviting and alarming.” (Harper Reed, former CTO of Obama for America, Threadless)
“A fascinating and prescient take on what the world will look like once computers become smarter than people. Highly recommended.” (Mat Ellis, Founder & CEO Cloudability)
“A phenomenal ride through a post-scarcity world where humans are caught between rogue AIs. If you like having your mind blown, read this book! (Gene Kim, author of The Phoenix Project: A Novel About IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Richard
  • FOXBORO, MA, United States
  • 05-22-14

Great series of books

Read the whole series of books from this author and couldn't start listening to the next book quick enough. The flow of the story in each book and from book to book was amazing. Would like to see more from this author.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

The future belongs to AIs

Herling's The Last Firewall creates a semi-dystopian future where artificial intelligences (AIs) have basically all but superseded humans. In a somewhat implausible short span of time, neural implants (basically having your internet connectivity in your head) and AI technology have advanced such that AIs dominate the economic landscape and humans have been reduced to mostly welfare status. Against this backdrop is one AI with megalomaniacal ambitions, an emerging mob mentality anti-machine backlash, two individuals responsible for much of the state of affairs trying to sort things out, and a young girl with growing strange powers due to a unique instance of neonatal implants.

The sci-fi elements are focused on computer artificial intelligence and direct neural connectivity to online computer systems through physical implants. Some rather inventive ways of perpetrating crimes are presented that foretell future issues. The future societal organizing structure does strain credulity as it's hard to envision how AIs performing "work" instead of humans can invigorate the economy when most of the population is reduced to subsistence living and drug abuse. The plot and pacing are well executed and the story is an enjoyable listen nevertheless.

The narration is well done with a solid range of voices and excellent tone and tenor that matches the pace of the tale.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • CSoAmazon
  • Spring, Texas, United States
  • 03-12-14

Very much enjoyed this book.

Any additional comments?

Wonderful read, great new characters and after finishing this book I understand how this fits in with the other two. You can read this separate from the other two or in series and its just as great of a read.

Kat is a character that was effected by ELOPe, this was before "Yoni", year of no internet. By the way ELOPe was only mentioned twice in the book. She plays a critical roll in the evolution of everything.

One thing puzzles me, what happened to ELOPe.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Robert
  • East Perth, Australia
  • 03-10-14

Races along at 100km an hour. Great listen.

Great concept, great story. Enjoyed every minute of it. Narrator was great as the main character. Though since the story is told from several points of view, I would have preferred a separate male narrator for the male parts... this might just be me since I also dislike female parts being narrated by males. Keep up the good work. Can't wait for your next book.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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This was good.

Good movement through the story but thought narration needed a better performance. Though the protagonist was female I belive all voices would have benefited from a male narrator like Jeff Gurner (Daniel Suarez books).

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Good story

What did you love best about The Last Firewall?

Narration could have improved. Her attempts to do male voices were not convincing and made me squirm a little.

Did the narration match the pace of the story?


yes

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Painful

What was most disappointing about William Hertling’s story?

Being in the industry I found the misuse of proper computer terms grating. Now I know how doctors feel when they watch House.

Would you be willing to try another one of Jennifer O'Donnell’s performances?

I found the voice acting of the male characters irritating, especially the imitation the stereotypical gangster.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Great Potential Tainted by Weird Sex Stuff

The first two books in this series are incredible. They’re well researched, gripping, tasteful, they even allude to sexual or romantic themes at times without being overly explicit. Also, the voice acting in the first two books is great - pleasant on the ears, various different character voices.

Book 3 throws that all out the window. While the story is still good, and fairly well researched, it begins to enter the realm of superheroes and highly speculative ideas. I can handle that though, it’s still fun. What really ruins book 3 for me is the seedy romance crap. The author literally mentions a 19 year old girl having a foursome as if it’s completely normal. Everything is hyper sexualized.

Nearly as bad as the sex crap is the voice acting. Is he trying to help his friend kick-start her career in acting? Or was he just strapped for cash. This woman can barely hit certain ranges or normal tone without her voice getting raspy and cracking, her male voices are absurd, and her female voices are waaay too mushy and passionate sounding.

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Story good, but different as the first two

I liked the idea if the book, but since it is far from reality it’s a pure since fiction without the real feel of the first two books

As I am not a native speaker and mostly listen to improve my English, I was afraid of having troubles to understand the speaker and be able to follow the different persons, cause of the bad recession here. But it was okay and I can’t confirm the bad recessions of the speaker.

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Great story, But beware the Foul Language

wonderfully written story, but I don't recommend for kids or those that hate a ton of foul language. the author has such talent, but can't seem to escape the idea that foul language is the norm...not for everyone!

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  • R. ODELL
  • 06-07-17

Once through the confusion, it's great!

So at first I found the storyline quite confusing, I tried to follow along several peoples stories, I did find it hard.

I continued and things progressed fast, each story started to make sense and I gained a good understanding of how the stories related.

The last chapters were exiting and I couldn't turn it off, great story.

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  • Paul Seward
  • 05-16-16

loved it

a great listen, the second book i have in the series and cant wait to listen to the third.

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  • chris schuck (amazon)
  • 07-18-19

Overall it was okay

Story is brave and takes on a future with AI and human implants. I don’t know why but it took me the first third of the book to become interested. Maybe I was easily distracted but didn’t stick a single main storyline, instead tried to interweave a number of storylines. I didn’t like the storyline of Adam. As a class 4 AI his strategic thought would have been far superior to cat. Anyway onto book 4 with a hope the excellence built in the first 2 books continues on