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Reamde [Kindle Edition]

Neal Stephenson
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (180 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £16.99
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Book Description

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.


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About the Author

Neal Stephenson is the author of eight novels, including the cult successes Snow Crash and Cryptonomicon. He has been shortlisted for the Arthur C. Clarke Award six times, winning with Quicksilver. Four of his last five novels have been number one New York Times bestsellers. He lives in Seattle.

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More About the Author



Neal Town Stephenson (born October 31, 1959) is an American writer, known for his speculative fiction works, which have been variously categorized science fiction, historical fiction, maximalism, cyberpunk, and postcyberpunk. Stephenson explores areas such as mathematics, cryptography, philosophy, currency, and the history of science. He also writes non-fiction articles about technology in publications such as Wired Magazine, and has worked part-time as an advisor for Blue Origin, a company (funded by Jeff Bezos) developing a manned sub-orbital launch system.

Born in Fort Meade, Maryland (home of the NSA and the National Cryptologic Museum) Stephenson came from a family comprising engineers and hard scientists he dubs "propeller heads". His father is a professor of electrical engineering whose father was a physics professor; his mother worked in a biochemistry laboratory, while her father was a biochemistry professor. Stephenson's family moved to Champaign-Urbana, Illinois in 1960 and then to Ames, Iowa in 1966 where he graduated from Ames High School in 1977. Stephenson furthered his studies at Boston University. He first specialized in physics, then switched to geography after he found that it would allow him to spend more time on the university mainframe. He graduated in 1981 with a B.A. in Geography and a minor in physics. Since 1984, Stephenson has lived mostly in the Pacific Northwest and currently resides in Seattle with his family.

Neal Stephenson is the author of the three-volume historical epic "The Baroque Cycle" (Quicksilver, The Confusion, and The System of the World) and the novels Cryptonomicon, The Diamond Age, Snow Crash, and Zodiac. He lives in Seattle, Washington.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
By Brian Clegg TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Like most people who have worked a lot with computers, I immediately saw the title of Neal Stephenson's book Reamde as a variant on 'Readme' - as indeed it is. I've really enjoyed his science fiction work like Cryptonomicon and Anathem before, and have even managed to overcome my loathing of extremely long books, as in these works Stephenson is not indulging in drivel, but really fills them with content. However, Reamde has left me with very mixed feelings.

I loved the plot segment that the book's title refers to. Reamde is a virus that takes computers hostage, linked to a massive multiplayer online game called T'rain, which was created as a way of using the virtual coinage inside the game for far more than simply buying a new sword. If you are interested in computer gaming, the parts of the story that revolve around the game are brilliant - as is the twist of the virus resulting in an organised crime gang trying to track down its creator.

However, this only accounts for around 1/4 of the 1,000 plus pages, and I was far less happy with the rest. Firstly, while the multiplayer game storyline is borderline SF, the rest is just a straightforward action thriller with good guys versus evil jihadists. This mostly consists of two huge set piece battle sections, each lasting several hundred pages. I'm not particularly interested in this kind of storyline, which despite being page turning in its intensity at the peaks had a lot of dull troughs. It didn't help that where previously Stephenson's expansive writing was a result of having lots of content, in the battles it really did feel like there was far too much padding and I found myself skipping whole pages at a time to get to something happening. I'm afraid he has strayed into late J. K.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing 2 Nov. 2012
Format:Paperback
I am a massive Neal Stephenson fan. Cryptonomicon and Snow crash rate as my favourite books of all time. This book was described as a return to that form, but it really isn't. It's a pretty straightforward thriller - I guess it would be a good effort from another author. I felt that the characters had no depth, the plot was contrived, it didn't have anything clever or different about it, and I ended up skim reading to get to the end. Maybe I missed something, but I was disappointed (and went back and re-read cryptonomicon instead!)
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great start, dreadful ending 22 Aug. 2012
Format:Paperback
This for me was a 5 star book for the first 600 pages, 4-star for the next 200 pages, and then the last part rapidly degenerated into a confoundingly drawn out and highly improbable non-stop action finale, with ridiculous amounts of unnecessary and uninteresting details, as all the book's heroes and villains managed, miraculously, to converge from all over the world onto one spot where they could fight it out amongst themselves (and others) whilst endlessly scrambling up and down mountain paths in a cloud of bullets and blood.

And yet the first section of the book is a finely balanced and well-paced thriller. Inspiring stuff that had me staying up into the small hours not just reading but also investigating Google maps in order to find out more about some of the areas Stephenson was describing in the story.

Such a pity that an otherwise great read became a long drawn out struggle to finish the book - I found myself "speed-reading" through the final 50 or so interminable pages of tiresome forest combat in order to reach the predictable happy ending and move on to something better to read. I only wish I had paid a bit more attention to some of the other reviews here before choosing this particular book as an introduction to Neal Stephenson.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By t0sh
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Like many readers, I've enjoyed several of Neal Stephenson's books although I did struggle through some of the longer ones in places. Unfortunately, although I quite enjoyed reading through this lengthy tome at the start, the last 20% of the book severely disappointed, which ended up spoiling most of the book for me. The book is overly detailed, describing scenarios and subjects for pages and pages which then turn out to be almost irrelevant, including the MMO game that was used to provide the basic framework for the book. In typical Stephenson fashion there are groups of characters that get up to separate but intertwined activities but for them all to arrive in the same area at the end through remarkable coincidences, luck or at best a moderate hunch is a little hard to swallow. The book ends in a few pages of conclusion with an unsatisfying antagonist resolution and a Disney-esque happy ending chapter, as if Stephenson realised he was about to hit 1000 pages and ran out of steam. Then there are the plot gaps or quick resolutions such as:

(***SPOILERS!!***):

1. Marlon, the guy arguably the cause of everything in the book including the book's title, disappears from the last 30-odd pages of the book and is literally dealt with in an off the cuff remark in the afterword.
2. Moments of peril get quickly resolved using deus ex machina devices such as man-hunting cougars.
3. What happened to the rest of the terrorists? The Forthrast's village? The helicopter pilot? The millions of dollars of virtual gold?
4. The deaths of some minor terrorist characters are explained in heavy detail, but Jake was being spoken to by Jones one minute and the next mention of him is Richard sorting through his things at his funeral.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars A giant book, but only in size.
This is a giant of a book, just holding the thing helped to burn off a couple of unwanted calories as I sipped (?) a refreshing beer in the Caribbean. Read more
Published 1 month ago by philster
4.0 out of 5 stars enjoyed it but with reservations
This book kept me entertained for several days of my holiday and was good enough to keep me going back for more but I have to say that suspension of disbelief became more difficult... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Christopher Heavey
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favourite novels
Well I just can't agree with the 3 Star reviews. I have read most of Stephenson's novels and this was my absolute favourite. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Mr. A. J. Fleming
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
I enjoyed this book, but it did need a little perseverance in places.
Published 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
1.0 out of 5 stars Excruciating read.
Why was it excruciating?:
Incongruous lexicon exemplified in a scene where a MI6 agent tries to stop a Russian agent from crushing her phone with a hammer. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Maxim L. Eaton
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
The most engaging work of fiction I've read in years
Published 5 months ago by S. Lyons
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good almost great book
A blockbuster weighing in a just over 1,000 pages, surely not for the faint-hearted? Well, surprisingly easy read until you get to the last 100 pages or so. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Byzantium
4.0 out of 5 stars Definintely README
This has all the hallmarks of a Neal Stephenson novel. Well plotted, well researched, believable characters with witty comments. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Baz
3.0 out of 5 stars as if the first 3/4 were written by Neal Stephenson and then the rest...
Great first 3/4 but the last sections when they are running around in the woods were a bit disappointing. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Julian
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
One of my husband's favourite authors, he loved it.
Published 6 months ago by robyn
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