The Dark Fields Paperback – 15 Jan 2004
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|Paperback, 15 Jan 2004||
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Alan Glynn's THE DARK FIELDS is that rare thing - a first novel of such great stylistic assurance and narrative energy that you immediately realize you're in the hands of a born storyteller. More tellingly, this dark, corrosive story of designer pharmaceuticals and high finance is a trenchant morality tale for our manic, avaricious times. This is a wild, compulsive ride into the greedy vortex of modern life. It is also an astonishing debut (Douglas Kennedy)
This is fast, clever- and horrifying, in a cheerful sort of way. (DAILY TELEGRAPH)
Glynn understands the thriller format and drives the plot relentlessly forward with verve and panache...A finely written debut, new in paperback, by an Irish writer who will only get stronger. (EVENING HERALD)
THE DARK FIELDS is a high-concept, highly original thriller, a pharmaceutical Faust that is page-turning and thought-provoking in equal measure.See all Product description
Top customer reviews
The concept in itself is amazing - and potenitally plausible as medical science evolves - and both the plot and writing style are gripping.
We are introduced to the narrator 'Eddie', who is overweight, slovenly, and stuck in a dead end job as a copywriter for a small publishing company. A chance encounter with his former brother-in-law introduces him to the mysterious drug MDT-48, allegedly under development in a major pharmaceutical lab. Eddie pops his first pill, and it is from this point that the full on adrenaline rush that is 'The Dark Fields' kicks in, gripping the reader relentlessly until the final full stop.
Under the ever increasing addictive grip of MDT-48, Eddie finds his intellect soaring to unprecedented degrees; he masters Italian in one evening and finds he can decipher stocks and trade on the market for ever increasing profits. Furthermore, he exudes charisma, and his mere presence proves irresistable to others. He soon finds his social circle widening to include great artists and billionaire business tycoons.
However, as Eddies consumption of and reliance on MDT-48 increases, so too do the horrifying side effects...
To offer a cliche, 'The Dark Fields' rips along at rollercoaster speed. I found my heart palpitating as I read, anxious to reach the conclusion, but reluctant for the ride to end.
As thrillers go, 'The Dark Fields' is top notch. Set aside a weekend and cancel all plans as you won't put this book down until the last word.
Eddie's long downward slide into oblivion is interrupted when he runs into his former brother-in-law on the street. Vernon was a coke dealer in the '80s, and after a few drinks and catching up, turns Eddie onto his latest product -- MDT48. This illegal designer drug is sort of like Viagra for the brain, providing superhuman powers of concentration, retention, learning, focus, ambition, charisma, etc. (as an example, Eddie is able to learn a foreign language in a few days). After his first pill, Eddie is hooked and goes back to Vernon for more -- only to find him dead. Fortunately, Eddie finds his stash and thus has plenty of pills to propel him through the coming weeks.
The story then more or less charts the metamorphosis an average person might experience under such a transformative drug. A minor triumph at work segues into wildly successful day trading, and from there into high level M&A finance. Of course, along the way, Eddie ups the dosage and also starts to experience disconcerting blackouts. Eventually, he also realizes he needs to figure out a source for more pills, figure out how what's causing the blackouts, deal with the Russian loan shark he's in debt to, and maybe, just maybe, try and reconnect with his ex-wife. There are a lot of threads going at once, and as they converge in the final third of the book, the results aren't always as compelling as the journey.
There are a few elements of the plot that are kind of sloppy. For example, Eddie gets involved with the Russian loanshark because he wants a quick infusion of cash to up his day trading capabilities. However, at his rate of success, he could have made the same amount of money in a matter of days. Secondly, it's not until rather late in the story that Eddie starts to think about how to secure a permanent supply of MDT48 -- but it seems like the focusing power of the drug would have put that on his front burner, rather than the back. The old Eddie was a procrastinator, but not the newly enhanced Eddie. There's also a whole background thing about the US possibly going to war with Mexico that doesn't seem to serve any purpose. Finally, the book is littered with Anglacisms that simply wouldn't be said (or thought) by American characters. This is a pet peeve of mine because all it would take is one relatively eagle-eyed American reader to flag these for the author or editor.
These problems aside, it's a relatively enjoyable slick thriller that is easy to connect with. Even though Eddie isn't a particularly likable or interesting character, most readers will find no problem placing themselves in his shoes and wondering what they would do if they stumbled across MDT48. And there's a certain amount of pleasure to be had racing through the final third of the book to learn if Eddie's MDT48-fueled brain has somehow managed to find a way out of the corner he's painted himself into. Not particularly deep stuff, but reasonably entertaining -- not surprisingly, it was reported in 2008 that the book is supposed to be made into a big budget film starring Shia Lebouf.
From hack writer to stockmarket wizard, he's riding high and loving it, all thanks to a tiny pill.
Now, if only he could get Gennady, the Russian mobster off his back, but as it turns out that's the least of his problems.
MDT-48 is like viagra for the brain, supercharging Eddie's intellectual abilities. There's only one problem, he's discovered - it's going to kill him.
The Dark Fields is a tightly written novel, lavish in detail and background knowedge. The book, like the drug, will leave you craving more.
I found myself reading as quickly as the hero learns foreign languages (very very quickly!!).
You will not want to put this book down once you start it.
No spoilers from me though.... reading is believing!
A fantastic fiction story that I think everyone can relate to and enjoy.
Very well written, very believable and very ..umm well .. short actually.
I would have liked the story to have gone on and on!
Delivery was quick and efficient. The book was in perfect condition.
Will be purchasing from this seller in the future.
An amazing plot idea, not beyond possibility - the writer diaries his experiences as he finds his world changing as a direct result of taking a new designed drug - MDT.
Excellent descriptives left one almost jealous about how it must feel to exist on an accelerated platform of thought and understanding.
A nice and acceptable ending to a decent story left me satisfied.
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