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The Demi-Monde: Winter (The Demi-Monde Saga) Hardcover – 27 Dec 2011

4.1 out of 5 stars 49 customer reviews

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--This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 528 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow & Company; Reprint edition (27 Dec. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062070347
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062070340
  • Product Dimensions: 23.1 x 15.5 x 4.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)

Product Description

Review

'Part Matrix, part Escape from New York, with a dash of Film Noir and a whole host of imagination. Beautifully written' Falcata Times. (Falcata Times)

'State of the art... Discworld's savage noir cousin' Stephen Baxter. (Stephen Baxter)

'Delectably dark ... A feisty and nightmarishly enjoyable debut' Sunday Times. (Sunday Times)

'An amazingly quick and enjoyable read . and a beautifully designed cover' British Fantasy Society. (British Fantasy Society)

'The world he's created is a psychopathic nightmare, while Ella, by contrast, is a touchingly vulnerable heroine whose quest is fraught with both physical and psychological dangers' Guardian. (Guardian)

'Explosively creative barely defines Ross Rees's The Demi-Monde: Winter. It blew me away' James Rollins, New York Times bestseller of The Devil Colony. (New York Times) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From the Back Cover

Experience the ultimate in virtual reality.
The Demi-Monde is the most advanced computer simulation ever devised. Created to prepare soldiers for the nightmarish reality of urban warfare, it is a virtual world locked in eternal civil war. Its thirty million digital inhabitants are ruled by duplicates of some of history's cruellest tyrants: Reinhard Heydrich, the architect of the Holocaust; Beria, Stalin's arch executioner; Torquemada, the pitiless Inquisitor General; Robespierre, the face of the Reign of Terror.
But something has gone badly wrong inside the Demi-Monde, and the US President's daughter has become trapped in this terrible world. It falls to eighteen-year-old Ella Thomas to rescue her, yet once Ella has entered the Demi-Monde she finds that everything is not as it seems, that its cyber-walls are struggling to contain the evil within and that the Real World is in more danger than anyone realises.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The Demi-Monde is a lovely surprise. It's a book packed full of playful language, great ideas, and interesting characters, both historical and fictional.

From the premise (artificial hell populated with scum like Heydrich and Beria, used to train US soldiers) I expected it to either take itself too seriously, or embrace the insanity. Fortunately, it does the latter. Rees' exposition and world building has a light touch that makes me think of a nerdier Pratchett. Every faction name appears to be a pun or joke - the Fascist Northern European section of the demi-monde is known as the Forth-Right (Fourth Reich?) and their religion is UnFunDaMentalism (because nothing's less fun than Fundamentalism), while the militant wing of Empress Wu's radically feminist faction (branded with the derogatory term - LessBiens) is the Suffer-o-gettes.

I don't know about you, but I love this sort of thing. It serves as an excellent juxtaposition to the doom and gloom that constant warfare, racism, sexism, everythingism engenders. Whoever created the Demi-Monde has a sick sense of humour. Rees has a sick sense of humour.

Ella Thomas, a student with a penchant for dance and jazz, and Vanka, a charlatan psychic are ostensibly the main protagonists in the book. They are both interesting and their personalities clash well with the world and the characters around them. Yet Trixie Dashwood is the real scene-stealer throughout the book. Her transformation - without giving much away, since it is rather surprising - is fascinating.

Highly recommended for its explosion of ideas and sense of humour. I eagerly await the turning of the season.
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Format: Paperback
What a fabulous book. Enjoyable in its own right, Demi-Monde is the first part of a series of four so holds the delightful promise of three further episodes. Don't pick this up if you insist on a full resolution to every plotline at the end of each book. Book One/Winter is most definitely the opening instalment and leaves the reader cliff-hung on several fronts as the action in this book draws to a close.
The plot deftly weaves together many recognisable themes which will be familiar to readers of fantasy quests, sci-fi and alternate history novels. The Demi-Monde is an unstoppable, deadly serious computer game, a replica of the real world where players experience lethal role-playing and war-gaming. It's a lot like Sid Meyer's Civilisation and similar empire-building games, taken to the nth degree. The Demi-Monde is a very detailed creation which draws heavily on the history of the 20th century, and in particular the outbreak of WW2, but slants that recreation with Victorian-era technology and a vast smattering of intriguing characters from across earlier and later eras. The Demi-Monde is divided into conflicting regimes; totalitarian, hedonistic, misogynist, religious, monarchist, mystical and so on. An outsider is thrown into this mix and somehow has to stop the evil escaping from the confines of the game...
So our heroine is sent on a rescue mission into the heart of the ForthRight (the evolution of the Third Reich in this reality), just after the ur-nazis have defeated Henry Tudor, created the Warsaw ghetto and are about to launch Operation Barbarossa. Head magician Aleister Crowley plans an unspeakable rite of power so our girl pretends to be a voodoo mistress and falls in love with a rascal magician (there's a good joke about the mispronunciation of his name).
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I really enjoyed this book, and it's a real pleasure to be able to write a positive review about it. Many fantasy/science fiction novels have alternate worlds or universes, and quite often they come across as very similar - this one is very different, as it's a computer-generated world populated by some of history's worst tyrants, which was intended to be used to train armies for extreme warfare.

I found it fascinating, and very funny (surprisingly enough) at times. It comes across as the deadly lovechild of David Cronenberg and Douglas Adams (if only that was possible!); it was refreshing to find myself chuckling away because a lot of these type of books are so humourless right the way through - it's written with a real verve and the author obviousy enjoyed himself when he wrote this. Also, the historical characters are very convincing - quite chilling portraits at times.

The icing on the cake is the pacing - the story gets going right away; one of the problems I have when thinking about reading books that look like this one is that they always seem to take at least 100 pages before the 'other' world is involved - not here, thankfully. As the story builds, the chapters end with some real cliff-hangers that make you keep on going even when it really is time to turn the light out.

One caveat - swearwords are used, and there are the occasional mildly explicit moments. This is a book for adults - although I'd consider it for mature 15-year-olds and above perhaps.

I'll spare you the plot details, as they're already covered by the other exemplary reviews here - you'll know by now whether this is the sort of book you'll want to read. A fair proportion of the book deals with a battle, but this is a book which should appeal to both male and female readers.
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