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Already an underground sensation, a high-tech thriller for the wireless age that explores the unthinkable consequences of a computer program running without human control¡ªa daemon¡ªdesigned to dismantle society and bring about a new world order

Technology controls almost everything in our modern-day world, from remote entry on our cars to access to our homes, from the flight controls of our airplanes to the movements of the entire world economy. Thousands of autonomous computer programs, or daemons, make our networked world possible, running constantly in the background of our lives, trafficking e-mail, transferring money, and monitoring power grids. For the most part, daemons are benign, but the same can¡¯t always be said for the people who design them.

Matthew Sobol was a legendary computer game designer¡ªthe architect behind half-a-dozen popular online games. His premature death depressed both gamers and his company¡¯s stock price. But Sobol¡¯s fans aren¡¯t the only ones to note his passing. When his obituary is posted online, a previously dormant daemon activates, initiating a chain of events intended to unravel the fabric of our hyper-efficient, interconnected world. With Sobol¡¯s secrets buried along with him, and as new layers of his daemon are unleashed at every turn, it¡¯s up to an unlikely alliance to decipher his intricate plans and wrest the world from the grasp of a nameless, faceless enemy¡ªor learn to live in a society in which we are no longer in control. . . .

Computer technology expert Daniel Suarez blends haunting high-tech realism with gripping suspense in an authentic, complex thriller in the tradition of Michael Crichton, Neal Stephenson, and William Gibson.

Robin Cook on Daemon
Doctor and author Robin Cook is widely credited with introducing the word "medical" to the thriller genre. Thirty-one years after the publication of his breakthrough novel, Coma, he continues to dominate the category he created, including his most recent bestseller, Foreign Body, which explores a growing trend of medical tourism--first-world citizens traveling to third-world countries for 21st-century surgery.

Daemon is an ambitious novel, which sets out not only to entertain, which it surely does, but also to challenge the reader to consider social issues as broad as the implications of living in a technologically advanced world and whether democracy can survive in such a world.

The storyline portrays one possible world consequent to the development of the technological innovations that we currently live with and the reality that the author, Suarez, imagines will evolve, and it is chilling and tense (on www.thedaemon.com the reader can find evidence that the seemingly incredible advances Suarez proposes could in fact become real). Daemon is filled with multiple scenes involving power displays by the Daemon's allies resulting in complete loss of control by its enemies, violence with new and innovative weaponry, explosions, car crashes, blood, guts, and limbs-cut-off galore.

As far as computer complexity, Daemon will satisfy any computer geek's thirst. I was thankful for Pete Sebeck, the detective in the book whose average-person understanding of computers necessitates an occasional explanation about what is going on. I came away from the novel with a new understanding, respect, and fear of computer capability.

In the end, Suarez invites the reader to enter the "second age of reason," to think about where recent and imminent advances in computer technology are taking us and whether we want to go there. For me, it is this "thinking" aspect of the novel which makes it a particularly fun, satisfying, and significant read.

Customer Reviews:

  • I won't pay!
    Not nearly full price at 14.55 for an e-book. I feel this is just the beginning of we the reader getting the shaft. Maybe they'll get the picture if we don't give in and purchase. You've got to love greed!...more info
  • High Tech Yes...But Mostly For Online Gamers
    Michael A. Sobol PhD, CTO of Cyberstorm Entertainment, died at 34 of brain cancer. He was the mastermind behind such online games as On The Rhine and The Gate. Not long after his death, Cyberstorm programmer Joseph Pavlos dies a horrible death while riding his bike, then programmer Chopra Singh is electrocuted entering the server room. Two deaths within hours of each other lead Detective Sergeant Pete Sebeck to believe they are homicides.

    Sebeck and the Thousand Oaks police force team up with the FBI, after computer contractor Jon Ross finds a rogue program running on the servers in Singh's network. Converging on Sobol's house, they find a significant technological fortress, supposedly guarding the daemon program running amok across the internet. Agent Roy "Tripwire" Merritt is injured in the destruction of Sobol's house, and many are killed including Sebeck's friend Agent Larson, when a driverless Hummer attacks the units set up outside the house.

    Surprisingly, Pete Sebeck is arrested for the deaths, the daemon is declared a hoax, and Sebeck winds out fast-tracked onto Death Row. Jon Ross disappears, leaving no trace of his identity but stays in contact with Sebeck and the NSA. Mix in some characters like Anji Anderson, an ex Lifestyles reporter who's deepest desire was to be a "real" journalist ... and the daemon gives her that wish. Brian Gragg dabbled in illegal activities on the internet in between playing online games, and is recruited by the daemon to become a faction leader. Doctor Natalie Phillips, assigned by the NSA to track down and eliminate the daemon, which they know exists but refuse to go public with it.

    Two factions emerge, those who follow the daemon, and those dedicated to stopping it. Sobol was a genius, and appears throughout the book in pre-programmed messages. His craftiness knows no boundaries. Just what is the purpose of the daemon? To change the world, but you'll have to read the book to find out what Sobol's master plan is.

    While well written, and fast paced (the book starts out with a bang and doesn't slow down) I believe it's written for a younger crowd. Anyone who plays online games is going to immensely enjoy the way author Daniel Suarez has melded the real world to the cyber world. There's a bit too much time wasted on characters playing characters in video games for my taste. Not being a "gamer", I found these parts to be tedious. Some of the writing borders on childish, such as Sebeck's little "slapping and cuffing" love bout with his mistress; reading more like a young man's wet dream that an actual physical bonding.

    I've seen reviewers compare Suarez to Michael Crichton, and I strongly disagree with that opinion. While Suarez is good, he lacks Crichton's flare for realism - his ability to make you firmly believe the events could actually happen no matter how far fetched. But rest assured, Suarez is just beginning, and 'Daemon' is wide open for a sequel that I will be sure to pick up when it comes out. Don't miss out on this talented new writer and the dangerous cyberworld/fantasy world he's created. Enjoy!
    ...more info
  • Coming to a theater near you(hopefully)
    This book is a fast-paced-tech-thriller that will have you on the edge of your seat. The story line evolves around the mysterious deaths of several employees of a computer company. The detectives who investigate the case and the other characters are easily likeable or loathing, depending on your point of view. Regardless all the characters are richly portrayed and come to life, including the computer program run amock. The first thing that struck me about this book was the intensity of the development of the scenario. I imediately thought that this book would make a good movie. I started casting immediately. This book is in the vein of books I read before in science fiction but with a modern post 2000 edge. Think ccyberpunk for the new milenium. Totally absorbing and enjoyable stuff for the scifi reader. Highly recommended....more info
  • Excellent techno-thriller
    As the first book in a series, this book is top notch. The writing and plot are excellent, the characters are interesting and the plot is grandiose but still surprisingly believable. This book's probably not for everyone though, the same technical details which make the plot so engrossing would probably just stagger or bore less tech-savvy readers. This book isn't a cliffhanger but the ending lacks finality, this is understandable as the first of several in a series, but with the sequels still at least a year off, those who like this book will be left wishing for more.

    Bottom line, if you like techno-thrillers, this is one is excellent, but if you don't know what a tcp/ip stack is, allot of what makes this book so good will probably escape you....more info
  • Review for the "everyman"
    I haven't written a review recently but thought that this book warranted some commenting due to its nature. First, if you are not technically oriented, some of this book may be too deep. It gets very technical in places. Myself, I am technically oriented, so, naturally I enjoyed it. I thought the story was well written. I found the characters compelling. I thought the motivation for one character was going in one direction when I discovered the motivation was different than my assumption. Fascinating. Without giving too much away, I was pulling for one of the characters in the book that ultimately didn't make it - I was disappointed because clearly this was an interesting character and would have liked to find out more about the character in the next book. It's a story that grabs you - stayed up past my bedtime numerous times to finish more than a few chapters. I've read the "Adolescence of P1" which was written in the 70s. This book is similar to that but grown-up and on steroids. Thank you Mr. Suarez for a great story. Looking forward to the sequel....more info
  • Not my type of book
    I had heard about this book on a radio program. It sounded like a good book and one I would enjoy. I did not like the book. The idea of the daemon is good and a real possiblility, but the story line was not to my liking. I would not recommend the book....more info
  • Excellent story for today's world
    Daniel Suarez may be one of the most insightful writers in today's market. He weaves a storyline that keeps you turning pages and appeals to the technical side that all of us encounter in our daily lives. His book, pray not, may be the warning we need for the world ahead of us. I highly recommend it. ...more info
  • Really like it
    My sister recommended this book to me. She says she was a little tired with the technology and I could see why! The descriptions of the technologies used are very real and everything is within the realm of possibility, other reviewers opinions notwithstanding.

    I couldn't put this book down and after finishing I am still thinking about it. The finish is the only part I didn't like, clearly it is leaving space for a sequel (called freedom(TM)). Character development is also a little lacking. Nevertheless, this is a great book to read and a great intro into a lot of topics of our time. ...more info
  • This decade's "Snowcrash" / "The Diamond Age"
    Believe the hype, everyone. Daniel Suarez is an insider (he consults with new media, the entertainment biz, the military and the government on technology/security issues) with enough technical acumen to make Daemon the most exciting cyber thriller of this decade. Forget William Gibson, this guy is as good as Neal Stephenson in his earlier days -- perhaps better.

    The implications of identity theft, information distortion and the nefarious application of new technology are haunting in this daring novel.

    It helps to have some understanding of online gaming and its concomitant culture, distributed networks and computer programs, but it's not necessary to appreciate this wild ride. So exciting and paranoia-inducing, it's left me breathless. You may not see the world the same way after reading this, and I don't think that's exaggeration.

    Fantastic read. Go out and get it now!...more info
  • High tech thriller
    My rating system;

    3 stars - I liked the book.

    4 - I really liked the book.

    5 - I loved the book

    I'd give this book 3 and ? stars, rounded up to 4 stars. This was a good read.

    I enjoyed reading this book. Even though it took me some time to read the 400 plus pages of the book, the plot kept me interested. There were several surprising twists in the story that I thought the author handled quite well. I did think the ending was weaker than the rest of the book, but I think there may be a sequel on its way.

    The Daemon, a computer program, is the invention of Matthew Sobol, the co-founder of CyberStorm Entertainment. The Daemon has a life of its own, and it wrecks havoc on its enemies. There are plenty of killings in this book!

    This book has lots of characters in it and a fair amount of computer terminology. I believe that one does not have to be a computer expert though to appreciate this thriller. I enjoyed it and I only have a very basic knowledge of computers.

    I would recommend this book to people who are interested in computers and/or mysteries.
    ...more info
  • I can't wait to read his next book
    I don't play games. It gives me motion sickness. And I am totally usuless with technology. I am scared of computer virus, and I talk to my pc when it freezes hoping it may change its' mind. I hate violence, splatter, horror, and I don't know why I was so attracted to this book. But I read it as soon as it came out and I absolutely loved the book. Suarez is a genius author, and I feel lucky to encounter his first novel. I can't wait to read his next one....more info
  • Horrible "ending"!!!!
    The first 350 pages are pretty darn good. The plot, while somewhat hidden is plausible. The technology and explanations are entertaining and don't overtake the plot or your suspension of disbelief. The characters, while pretty 2-dimensional, are at least the equivalent of a Grisham novel. Unfortunately, the last 50 pages are horrible!

    It's like Neo comes out of nowhere and like a super hero with batman toys tears everything up. The whole plot becomes ludicrous. Worse, the author pulls a Robert Jordan and ties up NOTHING. How can you call that an ending!?!

    Total waste of time. Do yourself a favor and at least wait until the next book comes out. I'm VERY suspicious that the author's "jumping the shark" in the last 50 pages is foreshadowing of Matrix-like destruction of a good yarn in part two and beyond.

    You've been warned!!...more info
  • Great start - bad finish
    Daemon starts off with a bang! It had me hooked and turning pages late into the night. Most unfortunately the end of the book does not deliver. The last third gets silly and the conclusion is well hardly a conclusion at all with almost every thread of the plot line left untied. A very unsatisfying ending for such a promising beginning. ...more info
  • Just hang on
    A billionaire game designer, Matthew Sobol, dies a premature death and sets in motion a series of incidents utilizing a common innocous software program.
    Suarez weaves together a variety of characters into a taut technological thriller.
    With his first novel, Suarez has provided a scary scenario of computers and technology that are reminiscent of Crichton.
    His storytelling brings you into this frightening possibility and immerses you to the point of having to pause once and a while to make sure it is not real.
    Schedule the time to read this book in one sitting because you will not want to put it down.
    This is the first of of what is going to be a fantastic technological journey....more info
  • Action-packed hi tech thriller
    Fascinating premise in a fast-paced thriller with lots of plot twists and even more wild chase scenes.

    A really fun read that leaves you with some provocative questions when you're finished reading it....more info
  • Great Read and Possible Reality
    Being in the IT world, and always trying to keep up on the latest, greatest technology on the horizon, I have heard of most of the tech that Daniel uses in his book. The tech today would require very little tweaking to make it work like in the book but it's all possible. Great book and great use of how the world could be. And it wouldn't take much to make this happen either. I learned about this book from Glenn Becks radio broadcast and interview with Daniel. I would recommend to anyone in the IT world. Can't wait till the sequel....more info
  • Coming to a theater near you(hopefully)
    This book is a fast-paced-tech-thriller that will have you on the edge of your seat. The story line evolves around the mysterious deaths of several employees of a computer company. The detectives who investigate the case and the other characters are easily likeable or loathing, depending on your point of view. Regardless all the characters are richly portrayed and come to life, including the computer program run amock. The first thing that struck me about this book was the intensity of the development of the scenario. I imediately thought that this book would make a good movie. I started casting immediately. This book is in the vein of books I read before in science fiction but with a modern post 2000 edge. Think ccyberpunk for the new milenium. Totally absorbing and enjoyable stuff for the scifi reader. Highly recommended....more info
  • looking forward to the sequel in 2010
    for book, Daemon The only bad part is that I keep thinking about this book whenever I see a story about more technology. Fro example, in todays paper about Google being able to access everywhere you go on line and all your contacts and all your private (no longer) info so that they can send you targeted ads on your cell.

    Anyway, read this book for fun and games. Its worth it! I bought 2 copies one for each of my gaming grandsons. One of whom has not gotten his copy yet! I couldn't let it go without reading it myself. I liked it and I don't play computer games!...more info
  • Stephenson Who?
    Daniel Suarez has taken Neal Stephenson's place as the premiere sci-fi tech novelist, and this is just his first novel. Daemon, which tells the story of a dead MMO game developer's daemon's attempt to change and run the world, is an amazing, non-stop tour de force of energy, excitement, thrills and brilliance.

    The Daemon is triggered when news of its creator has died. It then begins its mission of killing, recruiting, and taking over the economy of the world. A myriad number of people, from a police sergeant, identity thief hacker, and government scientists attempt to stop the daemon from gaining dominance. Along the way we are taken on a brilliant ride that we never want to end, in a world eerily similar to our own.

    I could not put this book down. It was simply that amazing. If you miss Neal Stephenson, especially since Cryptonomicon was his last great book (the last four are simply horrid), then you will want to definitely check out Daniel Suarez.

    I can't wait for the sequel, which is coming out in 2010....more info
  • Fact or Fiction?
    Without a doubt a thrilling read. This piece of fiction is close to where our reality may be truly headed. Just pause for a moment to consider the evolution of technology in the last 10 years and it is easy to consider that Suarez may have just predicted our future....more info
  • This book left me disgusted and frustrated
    I just finished reading the final few pages of this book and am extremely disappointed with it.

    I'll start out with the positive. The book is indeed a "page-turner" and Suarez is able to create interesting characters and throw numerous plot twists in to keep the reader guessing.

    That said, I think I'm most upset that this book was billed as a technological thriller. Quotes from the dust cover: "...tech fiction...", "...tech is invoked with inside knowledge...", "...an eye for technical detail that goes unmatched...", "...how other novels that rely on technology will be judged...". In reality, it's actually a book of ludicrous science fiction that tries to pass itself off as what could actually happen. Maybe this doesn't bother other readers but as someone who does understand network security (I work in IT) it's incredibly frustrating.

    Suarez begins various scenes by using real computer security techniques (something I appreciated at first) and then throws in something else completely impossible. The first time this happened I wrote it off as a necessary plot device but as the book progressed it just becomes ridiculous. I probably wouldn't have minded so much if I understood from the beginning that the book was complete fantasy. As it were, I was expecting a realistic look at technology and was miffed when the book ended with lighting-from-the-fingertips weaponry ala the Emperor from Star Wars.

    The other reason this book got under my skin was the cheap plot devices Suarez used to try to make the book seem "dark" including (semi-spoilers) killing off nearly all of the main characters and bringing others back from the dead. Maybe my expectations are too high but when the book is compared to "early Tom Clancy" there is a certain bar that needs to be met in order to avoid disappointment.

    The book starts out strong only to buckle under its own weight when the author needs to rely on increasingly bizarre technological advances to keep the momentum going. I had high hopes after the first few pages - as I mentioned, the story does progress quickly and the writing is engaging - but was left disgusted by the time I finished the final page....more info
  • An early Tom Clancey he's not
    The first three chapters do a passable job of plot development and getting the evil gamer Matthew Sobol's character introduced to the reader. Then, in chapter 4, the wheels come off.

    Gratuitous sex, drugs and partying, seamy characters, foul language - this does absolutely nothing to further the story. In fact, I found it a complete turn-off.

    Blood and gore surround the primary characters throughout the book. Even if you suspend disbelief, you cannot help but ask "Why did Suraez write this piece of trash?"

    Do not be fooled by the testimonials on the back flyleaf. Most of them are from people who he acknowledges at the end of the book as providing "time and effort" with his writing. It's like having your mother write a review of your book.

    ...more info
  • first 3/5 of the book great. last 2/5 a let down.
    I read about 10% of the reviews out there before I bought this book. Even at the midway point, I was questioning those who chimed in negatively, but, as the pages started to run out, I had to agree that it's all downhill after the midway point. The last 1/3 or so of the book crosses from engrossing to absurd. The body count escalates without advancing the plot for several chapters. The big twist at the end is predictable and self serving. Of course the author intends to profit from the sequel.

    This was my first techno-thriller and I admit that it was quite engaging for quite a while. Whether or not I'd invest in Freedom (the sequel supposedly coming out in 2010), will depend on reviews available then.

    To those who are considering buying this book, I'd suggest waiting a year to see if the reviews indicate that the Freedom provides closure to Daemon. If not, save yourself the expense of both books. ...more info
  • Too much going on, but I liked its amibition
    I agree with a lot of the other reviews in the assessment of the structure of the book. It starts off very strongly and is plausible at the outset, but it devolves too quickly into such a mind-blowing assault that you can't believe it's remotely plausible unless you know very little about the underlying technology. Also, there is just too much going on at once in the last half the book and I didn't find it as interesting as the first 1/3rd. It would translate well into a modern action-thriller where there's a sustained climax of explosions going off left, right, and centre and you're just mesmerized by the whole thing and the story is no longer being told because it's buried under the theatrics. That's not my kind of thing, but for people who like it then it might work. The first 1/3rd is good as a book, and the last half would be better as a movie. The missing 1/6th is just... "so what?".

    It is undoubtedly implausible. Anyone who knows anything about software knows that for the millions of interactions and coincidences that take place here to take place in real life without substantial real-world testing and engineering would be impossible -- especially when you throw untrained people into the equation. Even with testing, the whole thing would be tripped up by a few critical glitches that weren't anticipated. It just wouldn't happen...

    In the end, though, I gave it 4 stars for its innovation and its synthesis of a believable fictional environment based on real or plausible technology. Despite being too implausible as a whole (especially in the last half of the book), there is a solid technical core to it and it doesn't habitually compromise the technical core for the sake of easy storytelling....more info
  • This is just the beginning of Suarez's and Sobol's world
    The jacket blurbs for DAEMON favorably compare Daniel Suarez's debut novel with the works of Tom Clancy and Michael Crichton. I would beg to differ. This book put me in the mind of the early cyberpunk work of William Gibson or, perhaps more appropriately, the final novels of Philip K. Dick --- VALIS, THE DIVINE INVASION, and THE TRANSMIGRATION OF TIMOTHY ARCHER --- which composed a loose trilogy and ultimately served as a capstone for his long and impressive bibliography. VALIS, published in 1981, was an anagram for Vast Active Living Intelligence System, which is what DAEMON deals with at its core. Those with long memories will recall the Y2K scare, which was occasioned by the theory that early computer programming codes did not take into account the turning of the century. It was believed that havoc would result; what occurs here, however, is far worse than anything that was anticipated leading up to 2000.

    Suarez picks up and moves right along with the presumption that his audience has at least a rudimentary knowledge of computer programming and cyberspace. Readers who are of a certain age and station may well be served by having a 16-year-old at the ready to interpret some of what is occurring during the course of the work. However, Suarez does define the term "daemon": it's a quiet little program that runs in the background of your computer and Internet experience, transferring money, delivering e-mail and monitoring power level. Sounds mundane, almost boring, doesn't it? That is not the case, at least in this author's capable hands. What he does is extrapolate what happens when daemons are written with malevolent intent.

    The "malevolent" in DAEMON is personified in Matthew Sobol, a legendary online game designer who uses the occasion of his premature death to launch his ultimate creation. When a notice of Sobol's passing is posted online, it activates a previously dormant daemon that initiates a chain reaction resulting in one death and then another. Law enforcement personnel are just beginning to connect the two deaths and to classify them as murders when a cataclysmic event occurs that results in the horrific killings of a SWAT team and an FBI strike force. The instigator is Sobol, who from beyond the grave begins to unleash new layers of daemons that unravel a system that for the most part functions efficiently.

    These acts raise a question: How does one stop a murderer who is dead, but whose plan of attack is constantly evolving in reaction to defenses against it? The answer may lie in part within an online computer game through which a reconstructed Sobol guides his carefully selected minions, planning a series of earth-shaking acts heralding not so much the destruction of the current civilization as midwifing a new one.

    DAEMON is definitely a plot-driven work; it would be wise for the reader not to become too enamored with any one character, as just about everyone is potentially disposable. Indeed, there are enough explosions and destruction to satisfy even the most jaded action junkie. And while there aren't many sex scenes, there is one in particular that will cause those of similar inclinations to stop reading in order to defog their eyeballs.

    This is just the beginning of Suarez's and Sobol's world. A sequel to DAEMON, titled FREEDOM, is due out in 2010, and parts of it are available online at www.thedaemon.com. But my gut feeling is that the new world that Suarez is creating is too vast, too broad, to be contained on the canvas of two or even three books. Jump on now while you can still catch up. And hang on.

    --- Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub...more info
  • A New Classic
    I haven't ever written a review for anything on Amazon before, yet I was moved to because of this book. Not since the days of Neuromancer or Snow Crash has a book excited me so much. Yes, it is technical. But that is the very thing that makes it work so well. Mr Suarez doesn't back away, or sugar coat. I can't wait for the sequel(s)! ...more info
  • Strong beginning, confused middle, weak finish
    As others have said here, this book has a strong beginning. It then abandons a main character in mid-game, so to speak. In the end, other main characters are just suspended or left to literally drift away or simply lifted off stage in a helicopter with no explanation as to what happens/happened next. The climax isn't, and the wrap-up is weak and then, as an afterthought, the author adds text that seems to beg for a sequel.

    This book has a number of wonder reviews on the back by people not otherwise known for their critiques of books. That should say everything one needs to know, but let me provide this further note: this book is like taking a wonderful Sunday drive that ends up with a flat tire ten miles from the closest service station. It is an entertaining read, just don't expect a satisfying conclusion.

    Don't get me wrong. I will buy other books by Mr. Suarez and I look forward to his next novel(s). I'm just saving my rave reviews for his next works, which I'm sure will be much better and more accomplished....more info
  • Engrossing and difficult to categorize
    The book starts out as an intelligent techno-thriller, but it morphs into something more. Hidden within the action is some gentle commentary on 21st Century society. The author hints at a dystopian future that is uncomfortably believable.

    The book appears to be well-researched, but since some of the technology is unfamiliar, it's hard for a layman to say. You will not regret reading this book, although it may leave you with a feeling of uneasiness about the future. ...more info
  • When computers rule the world government becomes obsolete
    When software genius Matthew Sobol dies it kicks of a virus which will undermine not only the internet but all computer technology. Policeman John Ross finds himself investigating crimes that seem at first to have nothing to do with Sobol till his after-death plan starts moving outside the internet. You'd think that this is impossible, but where there's a will, intelligence and knowledge there is a way.

    Its not an exaggeration to say that by the end of this novel the world has changed, and not always necessarily for the better. However I have the say the ending is also abrupt. I understand that this is because this is only part one of a two part novel. However, without the second volume available now it means it's somewhat annoying. If you like a full on thriller with a technological-computer-internet theme then this book is one you should find enjoyable.
    ...more info