Stross, Charles – Halting State (2007 BCE HB)

Stross, Charles - Halting State (2007 BCE HB)

Ace Books
Cover Art by Stephanie Toulouse

From the dust jacket:
In the year 2018, Sergeant Sue Smith of the Edinburgh constabulary is called in on a special case. A daring bank robbery has taken place at Hayek Associates, a dot-com start-up company that’s just floated onto the London stock exchange. But this crime may be a bit beyond Smith’s expertise.

The prime suspects are a band of marauding orcs with a dragon in tow for fire support. The bank is located within the virtual reality land of Avalon Four, and the robbery was supposed to be impossible. When word gets out, Hayek Associates and all their virtual "economies" are going to crash hard.

For Smith, the investigation seems pointless. But the deeper she digs, the bigger the case gets. There are powerful players – both real and pixilated – who are watching her every move. Because there is far more at stake than just some game-head’s fantasy financial security…

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Acquired: 2008-05-14
Started: 2008-09-29
Finished: 2008-11-10

In 2018, a bank robbery takes place in a bank in an online gaming world. The breach in security threatens the financial standing of the company running the game, so the police and the company’s insurer come to investigate. The entire book is written in second person from the viewpoints of Sue Smith, the detective; Elaine Barnaby, the insurance investigator, and Jack Reed, a game developer hired as a consultant by Elaine’s company. They soon discover that the robbery has bigger implications than just the gaming world.

Initially, the most noticeable thing about the book is the second person viewpoint which is a little strange but makes sense given the gaming emphasis of the story, and I did not find it a distraction from reading the book. The story moved at a brisk pace, with enough suspense and action to keep me interested the whole time I was reading it. There is a lot of technical jargon in the book, which I did not mind, but which could be offputting to people without a computer background. The only thing I didn’t find all that convincing or interesting was Jack’s continuous angst about his personal life, which lead to an underwhelming revelation at the end. Still, this is a very good near future thriller.

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2013-10-13: 1000 views

Posted by sdobie on 2008-05-21 12:59:07

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