Neal Stephenson, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Anathem, returns to the terrain of his groundbreaking novels Snow Crash, The Diamond Age, and Cryptonomicon to deliver a high-intensity, high-stakes, action-packed adventure thriller in which a tech entrepreneur gets caught in the very real crossfire of his own online war game.
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 twenty-first 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 page-turner from the extraordinary Neal Stephenson.Amazon Best Books of the Month, September 2011: Neal Stephenson is quite rightly known as a writer of ideas, but don't put it past him to pen a straightforward thriller. True, the plot of said thriller hinges on a massively multiplayer online game that's a step beyond what's actually available on the Internet circa 2011, but that's as far as the sci-fi goes. Enter "REAMDE," an online virus that brings together a super-rich CEO, a Chinese hacker, a rogue Russian mafioso, an assimilated East African beauty, an itinerant Hungarian software programmer, two insanely prolific fantasy writers, and guns, guns, guns. (The book features so much firepower that Stephenson enlisted what he calls a "ballistics copy editor.") It takes a veritable master of pacing to make a thousand pages feel like barely a third of that, but Stephenson is that master; his breakneck narrative starts fast and never, ever lets up. As such, Reamde is as likely to turn off fans of his more cerebral fiction as it is to gain him scads of new devotees. Regardless, it marks an inimitable highlight of this year's thriller roster. --Jason Kirk