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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.
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-a daemon-designed to dismantle society and bring about a new world orderTechnology 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-the 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-or 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.
- Jackie Collins for Techies
Breathtakingly paced along the lines of an episode of 24. Its plot is out there, but it is delivered in a relatively believable way.
One complaint - no real central character per se and it becomes a little distracting.
One thing that is different about this book is that characters that you care about are in real peril and the use cool (semi-real) technology is compelling.
Looking forward to his next. ...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
- Why do I have to Wait??
I really enjoyed this book and the technology that is behind the plot. I think that we are not far away from these things becoming a reality in our world and should take note of the ways in which creative minds such as Daniel Suarez think up ways in which we could be vulnerable.
My one complaint is that I read this book too soon so now I have to wait for him to write the next one. ...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
- Amazing examination of the power of networked technology.
For a gripping account of our perilous future, look no further. Daemon combines the best aspects of Tom Clancy and Neal Stephenson without the weaknesses of either. I cannot recommend this novel enough to people interested in how technology could change the fabric of society....more info
- Put your Trust in the Internet????
For those of us who surf the Internet, play games online, do our banking online, keep our computers (personal and company) online 24/7, purchase online, this book is for you. Keep in mind the internet is connected world wide so that what a small computer connected in a small world in a 3rd country can do could effect the whole world!
Daniel Suarez shows us just what an intelligent person can do if they suddenly go mad with the internet. And how even after the person dies what they leave on the internet can effect us all. Don't worry, I'm not giving away more then the first few pages.
Daniel Suarez is not afraid to push the envelope. People you think will be the hero die, others you think are nothing turn into a major character. He really leaves good openings and a good ending for part two of this book (which I'm anxiously awaiting).
I think those who enjoy books about the internet and how it has the potential to effect will find this book a great read....more info
- No, thank you
Typically, I wouldn't be compelled to post a review of a book that I cared so little for. I feel, however, that Daemon is grossly misrepresented here thanks to all the overly positive feedback.
The writing is poor. Perhaps in itself, this wouldn't have been the novel's fatal flaw, if not for its equally deficient storyline. The plot is ridiculously, painfully implausible and disintegrates into total absurdity toward the end. To add insult to injury, the author appears to be confused as to who comprises his readership, needlessly explaining basic concepts, clearly trivial to the intended audience.
The book's ending is as abrupt and anti-climatic as t.
Should you wish to make up your own mind, I will be happy to offer you my copy for the price of shipping....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!
- The Return of Michael Crichton
When Michael Crichton passed away in 2008, it was with great sadness that this prolific and entertaining writer would not be sharing his tales any longer. The man who rekindled the phrase, "Once upon a time...", with books like Rising Sun, Prey, State of Fear, Sphere, and the unforgettable Jurassic Park books, single-handedly rewrote the techno-thriller genre.
With Daniel Suarez, we have someone who fills Mr. Crichton's literary shoes quite nicely. With the depth and breadth and understanding of what makes a good story tick, Suarez tackles the byzantine world of hackers, the Internet, and cyber-security. He makes everything understandable to the layperson, keeps the momentum moving, and all this in his first novel! (Which is pronounced Day*mon when used as a computer term).
The plot crackles along, the dialog is snappy and never sounds contrived, and the characters are fleshed out in a believable manner. As I read the story, I couldn't help but think how much I missed this Crichton-esque storytelling. It's no easy task to write a white-knuckle thriller, but Suarez has accomplished it with apparent ease.
If you don't like techno-thrillers, don't let the subject matter frighten you away. He makes it as understandable as Crichton did explaining how to reconstitute dinosaurs from amber-encased mosquitoes. In fact, I would classify this novel as an old-fashioned seat-of-your-pants page-turner.
I'm looking forward to his next novel, and the one after that, for it would seem that like Crichton, and Dan Brown after that, we have a new author who will give us years of entertainment....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
- Good but just a tad bit short of great
What can I say that hasn't already been said about "Daemon" well not much really but I can give my opinion of the book. It was a well written book but felt like it was missing something. I read it. I liked it, but I did not love it. That being said it is hard not to recommend it...so i guess I will even though it fell short of greatness. ...more info
- Very Disappointing
This is a good example of a clever plot idea gone horribly wrong. The books premise is initially quite interesting until bodies and blood take over and character development stops. The idea that a lone individual dying of brain cancer could develop such a wide-ranging and individually interactive system that can actually predict behavior quite accurately (down to conversational responses!) is simply ludicrous. As noted by other reviewers, the ending is clearly set up for a sequel shich I will not be buying. ...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
- 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
- Not as absurd as people have criticized...
I finished reading this book a few days ago after my father had told me what a great book it was. I have to say that Daemon was a good book but it was not as good as he made it out to be.
The story is fast paced and the beginning of the book is very strong. Others have already mentioned this. Then "ending" -using quotes for emphasis- is frustrating. There are a couple of twists but there is really no resolution. Others have noted that this is likely due to the planned sequel called Freedom. What ever the reason, I feel like I was cheated an ending.
Some critics have also pointed out how absurd the events in the book are. There are several parts that are highly unlikely but definitely possible for someone with enough money. One example provided in another review mentioned the ridiculous unmanned motor bikes with blades attached. In the context of the book, this was not absurd at all if one takes into consideration the unmanned Humvee described in the very early parts of the book. Saying the unmanned Humvee is plausible yet claiming the unmanned motorbikes are stretching the realm of possiblity is sort of... well, stupid.
Anyway, the book is good not great. I suggest it for anyone who likes a good ride but isn't too concerned about the destination....more info
- Computers take over the world novel
I was looking forward to reading this novel because of a recommendation by Leo LaPort on one of his podcasts. The computer technology woven throughout the book was a definate plus. Unfortunately the story is about a dead genius who implements a violent network daemon set on taking over the world. Scene after scene of violent death end only when the book does when the computer wins and humanity loses....more info
- Prescient, very good read.
Thrilling blend of technical expertise, mastery of current world trends and exciting story line. A couple recent news headlines about cyber attacks from China and the Conficker virus reinforced how timely this book is....more info
- It could really happen
The scariest scenarios are things that could really happen. I'm not a gamer, nor a particularly technical person, but I was so riveted by the "what if?" aspect of this book that my boyfriend had to compete for my attention during our tropical vacation. And he's hot.
My only regret about owning this book is having to loan it out; I am sure I will never see it again as it makes the rounds of my geek friends. ...more info
- My highest recommendation...
This is an excellent novel. I cannot praise it enough. This is truly a "literary" thriller, melding philosophy, technology, poli-sci and social criticism into a cracking good read. I finished the book less than 30 minutes ago, yet I am already anticipating the sequel. Mr. Suarez, I want Roy's death avenged!
Jeff Gurner's narration was brilliant. He moves into my top 5 narrators with this production. He is an excellent voice artist, exactly what Suarez' novel demands....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
- To be continued?
I was really enjoying this book until it ended almost in mid-sentence. Hopefully there's a sequel on the way....more info
- Good book, author is very knowledgable about technology
I loved the book, especially the beginning. It kept my interests and made me think about cyber-terrorism. The only fault with the book, was the ending. I am a big believer of great endings and the ending was okay but I was expecting fireworks and I got firecrackers. But I recommend the book and if for any other reason, there a only a few books on that are technology thrillers....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
- 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
- Great well written, thriller.
Appropriate for our tech times. I've recommended it for my tech friends that normally wouldn't read fiction. Highly recommended....more info
A compelling enough story, though somewhat predictable. The main characters were painfully 2-dimensional, Regretfully, not a lot of meat on these bones. Still, entertaining enough. Good beach reading....more info
- Terrific; Thoroughly Original and Engaging,
An awesome read. Suarez's DAEMON is a pulse-pounding thriller with a plot on the cutting edge of technology. Plausible enough to hook the reader from the get go, this novel blends fascinating characters with a storyline that is entirely original and unpredictable. Having said that, DAEMON is not for everyone. Being at least a little computer savvy may be a minimum requirement to appreciate DAEMON and buy into it's extreme tech vision. For computer gamers and also for those who know where the internet and artificial intelligence are headed, this book is a must read. ...more info
- A Strange Brew
This books starts of like dynamite...the premise really grabs you. Unfortunately after you finish the first half, things get a little bizarro and out of control. You get as lost in what is happening in the book like the characters of the novel are lost in the real life computer game. The ending is atrocious...a total mish-mash resulting in a mess. I think the author is trying for a desconstructed social order but to what? There are no conclusions, no sense, just bad philosophizing nonsense. Maybe he is working on a sequel but I'm quite skeptical. The most difficult part about writing a thriller is figuring out a logical conclusion. Mr. Saurez fails. The last chapter is a total cop out. I did enjoy the first half of the book and hope that effort number two hits the mark a little better. I am not writing off this author just yet, but he had better get better with this outlandish plot if I'm going to give him any money.
I fortunately got this from the library. I have a Kindle but refuse to go over $9.99 for an ebook and would have been a little miffed if I had purchased it in view of the ridiculous ending. ...more info
- Overrated and underwhelming
I picked up Daemon because I'd read a bunch of glowing reviews and this sort of Michael Crichtonesque technothriller is just up my street.
The book's premise is great - a dying computer mogul unleashes a self-perpetuating computer programme that is capable of manipulating global events long after its creator's death - and I know enough about computers to know that much of what Suarez posits is reasonably plausible.
Unfortunately, while the plot is fascinating, the characters are beyond dull. Because the plot is so sprawling, the already sketchily presented characters are all reduced to bit players in the story and are so two-dimensional (the tough cop caught in loveless marriage, the no-nonsense but still sexy government agent, the battle-scarred special ops commando, the computer genius of indeterminate origin, the troubled but smart ex-con, the psychotic computer hacker etc) that it's hard to care whether any of them live or die.
And the ending...
Actually, what ending? Having led the reader on through the book to find out exactly what the crazed computer mogul was planning when he unleashed the demon, the author simply sidesteps the issue with a plot twist that you can see coming for miles, a lot of woolly philosophising and the suggestion that you'll have to wait till the sequel to find out what the hell is going on. You are left - almost literally - dangling on a thread that goes nowhere....more info
- Great story that will amaze you at times.
Suarez has written a great novel here about a computer program that manages to take over the world. Twenty years ago this would have been considered science fiction, but Suarez makes you believe it could be true. Don't get me wrong, the computer-controlled motorcycles and other techno oddities help you understand this is purely fiction, but he manages to keep it grounded in just enough reality to make you think.
My only complaint is the rampant profanity throughout the book. Suarez uses it so much in spots that it turns his characters into caricatures instead. You don't know anyone who talks like that, and neither does Suarez. I think it was just something to add to try and "toughen up" the book a little. It could have been cut down 90% and had a bigger impact when it happened.
Other than that, the story is good. It continues to twist and turn and keep you guessing until the end. ...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
- Good Thriller in Search of a Good Ending
Others have summarized the plot so I won't except to say that the world of computer gaming crosses the border into reality, making survival and/or destruction of real-life corporations, countries, individuals part of the game. It is quite frightening how much the world now depends upon computer bits and bytes to keep humming along and how easily that world can be controlled or destroyed by someone with the ability to control those bits and bytes. Kudos to the author for the premise. Much of the book I enjoyed, the action-scene parts of it were breathtaking and this book would make a great action movie IF that movie eliminates much of the geek-talk (too much techno-babble for me), settles upon one primary protagonist (there are too many in this book)and comes up with a more satisfying conclusion.
Having said all that, the book is definitely worth reading. ...more info