by Neal Stephenson
Atlantic Books Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9781848874480
Date: 20 September 2011 List Price £18.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK /
Uncorrected Proof Copy: He's a big name and he writes bloody big books full of big ideas. Neal Stephenson's Reamde is one of the major releases of the latter half of 2011 and, as was Anathem before it (which I reviewed back in 2008) it is a big commitment for intrepid readers. Those that take up the challenge will be richly rewarded. A hardcover due next month from Atlantic Books.
"Across the globe, millions of computer screens flicker with the artfully coded world of T'Rain - an addictive internet role-playing game of fantasy and adventure. But backstreet hackers in China have just unleashed a contagious virus called Reamde, and as it rampages through the gaming world spreading from player to player - holding hard drives hostage in the process - the computer of one powerful and dangerous man is infected, causing the carefully mediated violence of the on-line world to spill over into reality. A fast-talking, internet-addicted mafia accountant is brutally silenced by his Russian employers, and Zula - a talented young T'Rain computer programmer - is abducted and bundled on to a private jet. As she is flown across the skies in the company of the terrified boyfriend she broke up with hours before, and a brilliant Hungarian hacker who may be her only hope, she finds herself sucked into a whirl of Chinese Secret Service agents and gun-toting American Survivalists; the Russian criminal underground and an al-Qaeda cell led by a charismatic Welshman; each a strand of a connected world that devastatingly converges in T'Rain. An inimitable and compelling thriller that careers from British Columbia to South-West China via Russia and the fantasy world of T'Rain, Reamde is an irresistible epic from the unique imagination of one of today's most individual writers. "