“Freedom™” by Daniel Suarez (Dutton, 2010)

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After the runaway success of Daniel Suarez’s debut book, Daemon, the author wraps up the gripping story in the concluding Freedom™.  The daemon that was set lose with the death of Matthew Sobol continues to run seemingly out of control, and yet every event and move it makes has been carefully calculated.  Bank accounts and private information are no longer protected with this daemon loose, and neither is anyone’s identity.  At the same time, the daemon continues to increase its army of killing machines and people to do its dirty work.  This time the daemon is taking over the agribusiness, strategically using its people to create a new sustainable lifestyle in small towns across America.

The members who work for the daemon are able to stay in contact and continue their “quest” with the use of special glasses that keeps them connected with the Darknet, a type of virtual reality world much like that of the Massive Multiplayer Online games (MMO).  It is with the Darknet they know what their quests are, essentially the jobs and duties they are to perform.  In this way they can increase their character levels, experience points, and popularity with a ratings system.  It is a world that has existed on the Internet for some time and has now been transposed into real life.

The government is doing its best to pretend that none of this is actually happening, that they have everything under control, while in reality the daemon continues to be unstoppable, taking over and/or erasing people’s identities and lives in seconds, as well as executing those it deems no longer necessary with its vicious inescapable creations.   People considered long dead are miraculously resurrecting themselves on the Darknet, including Matthew Sobol himself, and then there’s the evil Nazi general from Sobol’s MMO The Grid who is somehow alive and well in the real world.

Freedom™ has less of the background and development, focusing more on Matrix-style action scenes and catastrophic events, so reading Daemon first is certainly recommended, and while Daniel Suarez said in his interview that it would only be a two-book series, there is a storyline left open at the end that could lead to more.

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Originally written on June 28 2010 ©Alex C. Telander.