The Florentine Deception: A Novel Paperback – 30 Apr 2015
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“A combination of up-to-the-minute computer hacking and hard-hitting action make The Florentine Deception a grippingly plausible tale of modern cyber-terrorism.” —Neil Rubenking, Lead Security Analyst, PC Magazine
“Finally, a Techno Thriller that gets the details right!” —Mikko Hypponen, international computer security expert
“[Nachenberg] has a writing style that will leave readers hanging at the end of every chapter, daring you to try to put it down…” —rtbookreviews.com
About the Author
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Full disclosure first: I am not a professional book critic, just an excited reader of non fiction business, science, technology and sociology popular books and an occasional reader of futuristic adventure and mystery novels.
I came across the florentine deception after reading Dan Brown’s Origin and doing a quick google to find similar novels. My rush to buy was encouraged by a need to escape the daily stresses of life as a freelancer and a desire to not drown my evening in another Netflix session with my girlfriend in our attempt at having more productive evenings by either working or educating ourselves. In no mood to further over stimulate my brain cells after a day of job interviews and reading a new rules marketing textbook in an attempt to keep up with the endlessly evolving technologies available to marketers, I opted for the first action adventure mystery novel with a science fiction flair that was also grounded in some semblance of reality.
Before buying the book I discovered that the books author - Carey Nachenberg - is a leading cyber security expert with accomplishments in anti virus technology. I wasn’t expecting beautifully written prose but an exciting, boyish, techie adventure novel grounded in realism and contemporary dangers. It delivered as such.
The story begins by introducing the protagonist - Alex Fife - a young man with a talent for coding which by his mid twenties has resulted in selling his startup (begun in his dorm room at UCLA with two friends) in a multi hundred million dollar buy out by the threatened worlds largest anti virus software company. The trigger event for the mystery begins with Alex being disturbed from his meandering thoughts as an uninspired, jobless, young (multimillionaire) man by a phone call from his father which reminds him to fix an old computer - a highly relatable situation for any young person with a knack for technology. Through some light hacking, he discovers that the computer used to belong to a now deceased antiquities smuggler, and presictably, a threatening email indicates one of the treasures has gone missing.
Alex of course takes it upon himself to find the treasure along with his best friend Steven which leads to a lethally dangerous dance between Iranian and Russian spies, a society crumbling cyber weapon and many life threatening near misses, stream of consciousness style adventure and ultimately a last second saving the world moment. The book ensures no mystery is left unsolved with the author meticulously ending the book with a chapter in which Alex explains all the prior events in various hearings and explanations of his absence to family and friends.
The book is not a literary masterpiece by any measure, however it kept me engaged through action, strong back story, cliffhangers and the extremely relatable plot. The action all takes place within a single town in California, yet the vividly described locations and perspective through the eyes of a relatable character keeps one engaged.
The pertinent issues of cyber warfare, digital espionage and hacking all make the novel relevant and place the reader in a very possible scenario that, as the introduction describes, may have already happened without public disclosure. Through an exciting adventure among friends bringing childhood dreams of treasure hunting to life, Nachenberg jovially highlights the fragility of a society that relies on largely homogeneous technology (in this case Microsoft) for all of its core systems - utilities, finance, government.
For more find me @reinventbalance
This a fabulous fast paced, fun adventure, with smidgens of humour scattered among the technical elements. Basically a modern day take of a treasure hunt or a race against time.
Alex is the main character is a cool dude, he has taken on the task of ‘cleaning’ an old computer so his father can give it to a needy family. While doing so he unearths some emails and the chase begins. I don’t pretend to be well informed in the cyber world as far as computer technicalities and security is concerned but it’s not essential to enjoy this story. The author explains it all in detail all the while making it interesting, jaw-dropping and seem entirely possible!
The action is spot on, the suspense keeps you hooked and wanting to know what could possibly happen next. I really enjoyed the rock climbing concept .. not something I could do but the description was brilliant. A very clever piece of writing and the narrator was excellent. I din’t once get bored or feel as though I would be better ‘reading’ it myself. It was a wholly enjoyable experience and will encourage me to listen to more audio versions. It would also make a great movie I think.
Thanks to the author and iRead Book Tours for the opportunity to take part in exchange for my honest opinion. I have also purchased this to help reach the goal of books sold for such a worthy cause.