Reamde by Neal Stephenson

With Reamde being the first work by author Neal Stephenson that I have read I did not know whether I would like it or hate it. Its large size, over 1000 pages, made it so that if the author’s style was not to my liking it would end up either being a tedious read or another dead-end book I wasted money on. I am happy to say that not only did I enjoy this work but the pages flew by.

The plot is rather simple, though it is rich. Following an international cast of colorful figures, from African immigrants, to Jihadists, to Russian mobsters and Chinese hackers, the plot revolves around a computer virus which infects people’s accounts within the popular fictional MMORPG of T’Rain.

Demanding that the person in question pays seventy five dollars to secure the release of all of their files, the virus, known as Reamde, infects tens-of-thousands of accounts. However, one of the accounts which are infected is that of a Russian gangster who was supposed to deliver stolen credit card numbers to a high ranking employer.

Infuriated that his files have been encrypted the Russian mobster, angry at being screwed over, tracks down the virus creator with the intention of killing him. The search leads him to Xiamen, China. With a whole crew of hostages in toe, who have been forced to assist the mobster in his search, the finally track down the apartment where the virus creator lived.

However, the main protagonist, Zula, not wanting to sentence to death a gaggle of Chinese kids just etching out a living, tricks the mobster into assaulting the wrong apartment. Though her heart was in the right place this plan of Zula’s backfires and instead of the mobster’s men assaulting an empty apartment they instead run straight into a room filled with heavily armed terrorists harboring their own dastardly intentions.

From here the plot thickens and is ripe with humor, action, and suspense. Throughout China, Canada and America the plot takes many unexpected turns written by an author who is skilled in his craft. While said author may be more on the conservative side, the bulk of the novel stays on track with the action and rarely delves off into prolonged semi-political rants.

If you are looking for a lengthy, action packed thrilling ride which shamelessly is torn from today’s modern headlines than you could do a lot worse than Reamde.

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