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Spook Country [Paperback]

William Gibson
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
RRP: £8.99
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Book Description

28 July 2011

Spook Country - a gripping spy thriller by William Gibson, bestselling author of Neuromancer

'Among our most fascinating novelists ... unmissable' Daily Telegraph

What happens when old spies

come out to play one last game?

In New York a young Cuban called Tito is passing iPods to a mysterious old man. Such activities do not go unnoticed, however, in these early days of the War on Terror and across the city an ex-military man named Brown is tracking Tito's movements. Meanwhile in LA, journalist Hollis Henry is on the trail of Bobby Chombo, who appears to know too much about military systems for his own good. With Bobby missing and the trail cold, Hollis digs deeper and is drawn into the final moves of a chilling game played out by men with old scores to settle . . .

'A cool, sophisticated thriller' Financial Times

'I'd call the book brilliant and original if only I were certain I understood it' Literary Review

'Superb, brilliant. A compulsive and deeply intelligent literary thriller' New Statesman

'A neat, up-to-the-minute spy thriller' Metro

William Gibson is a prophet and a satirist, a black comedian and an outstanding architect of cool. Readers of Neal Stephenson, Ray Bradbury and Iain M. Banks will love this book. Spook Country is the second novel in the Blue Ant trilogy - read Pattern Recognition and Zero History for more.

William Gibson's first novel Neuromancer has sold more than six million copies worldwide. In an earlier story he had invented the term 'cyberspace'; a concept he developed in the novel, creating an iconography for the Information Age long before the invention of the Internet. The book won three major literary prizes. He has since written nine further novels including Count Zero; Mona Lisa Overdrive; The Difference Engine; Virtual Light; Idoru; All Tomorrow's Parties; Pattern Recognition; Spook Country and most recently Zero History. He is also the author of Distrust That Particular Flavor, a collection of non-fiction writing.

Frequently Bought Together

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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; Re-issue edition (28 July 2011)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 0241953545
  • ISBN-13: 978-0241953549
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 19.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 167,874 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

William Gibson is the award-winning author of Neuromancer, Mona Lisa Overdrive, The Difference Engine, with Bruce Sterling, Virtual Light, Idoru, All Tomorrow's Parties and Pattern Recognition. William Gibson lives in Vancouver, Canada. His latest novel, published by Penguin, is Spook Country (2007).

Product Description


A cool, sophisticated thriller (Financial Times )

Very entertaining (Independent on Sunday )

Superb, brilliant. A compulsive and deeply intelligent literary thriller (New Statesman )

A neat, up-to-the-minute spy thriller (Metro )

The present needs Gibson more than ever (Dazed & Confused )

Fascinating (Sunday Express )

Fiction with an intensely modern feel. Above all, it's exciting (The London Paper )

A brilliantly appointed world (Arena )

I'd call the book brilliant and original if only I were certain I understood it (Literary Review ) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

William Gibson is the award-winning author of Pattern Recognition, Neuromancer, Count Zero, Mona Lisa Overdrive, The Difference Engine; Virtual Light, Idoru and All Tomorrow's Parties (The Bridge Trilogy); and Pattern Recognition, Spook Country and Zero History. He lives in Vancouver, Canada.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars No time like the present 23 Nov 2011
I picked this book up from a second-hand stall to take on a trip to New York (which is the location for much of its action). I've enjoyed a fair number of Gibson's science fiction books - most recently his excellent Burning Chrome collection - but this time I've read one of his novels which has a contemporary setting.

That setting is hard to discern at first, as Gibson writes about the present in the same way he writes about the future - as a uneasy, unfamiliar world of hidden meanings and secrets underpinned by a technology which has been put to new and unexpected uses. It's a world where practitioners of locative art create installations in public places that can only be seen by wearers of VR headsets, where iPods are used as mules to smuggle mysterious data to Cuba and back again, and where a container is tracked from ship to ship at sea over a period of many years. A persistent - but quietly stated - underlying theme of the story is post-9/11 espionage, although much of the writing is timeless: for example, there are some memorable bon-mots (e.g. "secrets are the the very root of cool") and noteworthy and insightful technological asides such as this one (p120):

"Organized religion, he saw [...], had been purely a signal-to-noise proposition, at once the medium and the message, a one-channel universe. For Europe, that channel was Christian, and broadcasting from Rome, but nothing could be broadcast faster than a man could travel on horseback. There was a hierarchy in place, and a highly organized methodology of top-down signal dissemination, but the the time lag enforced by tech-lack imposed a near-disastrous ratio, the noise of heresy constantly threatening to overwhelm the signal.
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There's probably no one else I can think of who can write so vividly, and inquisitively, about our contemporary techno-psychological landscape than William Gibson. His 2003 novel "Pattern Recognition" remains among the best - if not the best (of which I am certain) - fictional depiction of American media-obsessed culture in the aftermath of 9/11. It was also his best novel in years, a riveting techno-thriller about "cool hunter" Cayce Pollard's search for the mysterious internet "The Footage" which had acquired a most bizarre cult-like status amongst Internet lurkers. "Spook Country", Gibson's latest novel, is a sequel of sorts, introducing us once more to the enigmatic Belgian advertising mogul Hubertus Bigend, owner of Big Ant advertising firm. This time he sends another young woman, Hollis Henry, an investigative journalist for Node - a magazine which doesn't exist yet - on a rather mundane quest to find one Bobby Chombo, a "producer", whose day job involves checking out military navigation gear. We encounter her, early one morning, in a Los Angeles hotel room, on assignment for Node, collecting information on the local underground artistic movement of virtual reality-based "locative art" for an article in the nascent magazine's debut issue. In classic William Gibson literary mode, there are two other subplots which represent other, still larger, pieces of the puzzle that Henry is seeking to solve, involving Tito, a young Cuban Chinese New Yorker whose family has had intelligence ties to both the CIA and KGB, and the Russian-speaking junkie Milgrim, addicted to expensive prescription high-anxiety drugs, who finds himself quite literally, "joined to the hip" with his pharmaceutical benefactor, the mysterious Brown, someone who has some hidden ties to a military, most likely Russia's. Read more ›
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4.0 out of 5 stars GIBSON FINALLY FINDS HIS STRIDE AGAIN 27 Sep 2007
By NeuroSplicer TOP 500 REVIEWER
I am a huge William Gibson fun, since my university years. I believe his SPRAWL Trilogy to be a strong English Literature Cannon candidate - and, undoubtedly, the Gospel of Science Fiction of our generation.

His next trilogy, however, (Virtual Light, Idoru & All Tomorrow's Parties) took an abrupt downturn after the first book of the series. I will not go into the reasons I did not find them to work at par with his previous monumental works; after all, this is not their review.

So, I was pleasantly surprised when my loyalty (finally...) paid off! SPOOK COUNTRY is a BEAUTIFUL book!

If one is hoping to find a fast-paced SF techno-thriller or a page-turner gore-fest, well, this is not the book to pick. Try Richard Morgan instead.
Even since his more action-conscious Neuromancer, William Gibson had always been a subtle writer; his poetic words painting a stroke here and then a stroke there - until his reductionist prose reveals a magic vista of the human condition no one has put to words before.

Be patient with his books. Short chapters, phrasal fragments, unusual word-hacking and turning brand-names into verbs have always been his functional style. And, boy, does his style function!
Long after you will have finished the last page, the imagery will stay with you. Popping up unexpectedly, in the foam of your next Frappuchino; in your car GPS voice; in the site of a spyhopping orca.

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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Phenomenal book
This is a phenomenal book and I highly recommend it. I love that you don’t need to have read the previous books to understand what’s happening but it’s recommended. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Arken Thell
5.0 out of 5 stars quality review
good quality condition with no damage to it. i had no issues of any kind when i used this product
Published 7 months ago by adam miller
1.0 out of 5 stars Worst book I have read for years
I am very disappointed. This book is on the bestsellers list.
There is no coherent plot.
It is full of brand references e.g. cusinart
Self-indulgent nonsense
Published 11 months ago by Avid Reader
4.0 out of 5 stars Clever if a little slow
I enjoyed it but took me two attempts to get going not as amazing and ground-breaking as his earlier books but we'll worth reading
Published 18 months ago by Fjb
5.0 out of 5 stars Secret Squirrels
I've just finished this (my latest) William Gibson tale and loved it. His departure from the 'cyberpunk' genre in 'Pattern Recognition' is continued in this intriguing story; some... Read more
Published on 6 Aug 2012 by GelS
1.0 out of 5 stars Kindle edition
The kindle edition is full of errors. I had read the book in hardcover before, so I could (somehow) enjoy reading it again on my kindle, but the quantity of typos and errors is... Read more
Published on 23 Dec 2011 by Alberto Brealey-Guzmán
4.0 out of 5 stars Spook Country:more traditional thriller with the sensiblity of Pattern...
Spook Country's strenth lies in one of Gibson's best characters, Hubertus Bigend and meaningful exploration of genre. Read more
Published on 4 Oct 2011 by George H-J
2.0 out of 5 stars I'm obviously missing something here!!!
I read Pattern Recognition and really enjoyed it but this one just passed me by I'm afraid.

Three story threads which come together at the end in a pretty... Read more
Published on 23 April 2011 by R Smith
3.0 out of 5 stars Poor Kindle Edition
I'm sure this is another fine William Gibson novel, but there's no way it's getting more than three stars from me when the edition I just paid £6. Read more
Published on 19 Nov 2010 by Matt Gibson
1.0 out of 5 stars diabolist
The Kindle edition of this book has many typographical errors including the inability to even spell the main protagonists name correctly. Read more
Published on 6 Nov 2010 by A. I. Premdas
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