We now know where the post-human weirdness so beloved of modern science fiction will begin; inevitably, a bunch of bright kids messing about customising a mind expanding nano-tech drug. The current street version (Nexus 3) gives a temporary neural network interface with other users in the vicinity; great for parties, no doubt. The authorities, just for a change, see it as dangerous and a threat to the status quo so a special unit has been created to prevent the proliferation of Nexus and its derivatives. Not surprisingly, and suitably hypocritically, the authorities are themselves enhancing the drug to turn their operatives into super-agents and for military applications. Nice.
So the scene is now set. Young Kade and his chums have developed Nexus 5 which persists in the brain and allows permanent connection to other users in the locale while the aforementioned government heavies (the ERD) try to track them down and generally bust them. What ensues is a splendidly taut sci-fi conspiracy thriller and while not multi-threaded, the narrative is by no means linear with enough well developed characters to maintain plausibility while the pace generally bowls along at a cracking rate. There is a bit of a lull in the action mid-way during the conference in Bangkok but it is necessary for the introduction of a raft of new characters & motivations and to get them into position for the blistering finale.
Needless to say, I really enjoyed this book. Proper speculative near-future science fiction, well written by an author who has plainly put a great deal of thought into the background science but without feeling the need to show off or bore the reader with huge info-dumps. Excellent stuff and the sequel, Crux, is now on my wish list although I’ve got to wait until April 2015.
Thanks to Amazon’s apparent trend in stocking fewer ‘minority-interest’ books (hoping, I expect, to boost sales of E-books & Kindle thingies), I bought my proper paper copy via the splendid BookDepository dot com. Interestingly, I believe that BookDepository is now owned by Amazon so I’m sure they won’t mind me plugging them in an Amazon review.