“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.

“Daemon” by Daniel Suarez (Dutton, 2009)

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Daniel Suarez has designed and developed enterprise software for the defense, finance, and entertainment industries, as well as being an independent systems consultant; he’s also an avid gamer.  So it’s no surprise that in Daemon he has created a world and plot that involves all these facets, resulting in a fast-paced, riveting, exciting novel that is a combination of classic Michael Crichton and The Matrix.

Daemon begins with Matthew Sobol, a renowned computer programmer and video game designer, dead from cancer.  It is upon his death, when the obituary is posted online, that the dormant daemon is unleashed upon the world.  In this world – just like our own – everything is automated and computerized: banking, transportation, defense, government, patient records; there are few things remaining “off the grid.”  The daemon works fast and incredibly efficient, beginning a systematic takedown of technology and world systems, causing deaths and the collapse of companies, and a financial meltdown that is scarily similar to the current economic climate.

It’s up to Detective Sebeck and computer genius Jon Ross to try and stop the daemon somehow from destroying everything.  Then there is The Grid, the Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game – in the style of World of Warcraft and Lord of the Rings Online – created by Sobol, where the daemon secretly begins recruiting the disaffected but brilliant youth who play the game as part of its efforts to bring down technology and society.

Whether you’re a gamer, a computer person, a network specialist, an Internet aficionado, or just someone who likes books about technology and possibly the end of the civilized world, Daemon is the book for you.  Expertly written by Daniel Suarez, who knows exactly what he’s talking about, Daemon is a book that will have you on the edge of your seat from page one to the very end, and waiting for the sequel, Freedom, due out in 2010.

If you liked this review and are interested in purchasing this book, click here.

Originally written on February 8th 2009 ©Alex C. Telander.

For an interview with Daniel Suarez check out BookBanter Episode 8.

12/22 On the Bookshelf . . .

Today my copy of Kim Stanley Robinson’s new book, Galileo’s Dream, arrived which looks to be an interesting one.  After reviewing it I also hope to see about interviewing him for BookBanter, hopefully an in-person interview since he lives in Davis and is close by.  Also managed to snag a copy of Freedom by Daniel Suarez, which I’m looking forward to after his enjoying first novel, Daemon, Freedom being the sequel and all.

Galileo's Dream Freedom