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Daemon Hardcover – January 8, 2009

754 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

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.

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Originally self-published, Suarez's riveting debut would be a perfect gift for a favorite computer geek or anyone who appreciates thrills, chills and cyber suspense. Gaming genius Matthew Sobol, the 34-year-old head of CyberStorm Entertainment, has just died of brain cancer, but death doesn't stop him from initiating an all-out Internet war against humanity. When the authorities investigate Sobol's mansion in Thousand Oaks, Calif., they find themselves under attack from his empty house, aided by an unmanned Hummer that tears into the cops with staggering ferocity. Sobol's weapon is a daemon, a kind of computer process that not only has taken over many of the world's computer systems but also enlists the help of superintelligent human henchmen willing to carry out his diabolical plan. Complicated jargon abounds, but most complexities are reasonably explained. A final twist that runs counter to expectations will leave readers anxiously awaiting the promised sequel. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Dutton Adult (January 8, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0525951113
  • ISBN-13: 978-0525951117
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.5 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (754 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #227,128 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

DANIEL SUAREZ is the author of the New York Times bestseller Daemon, Freedom™, Kill Decision, and Influx. A former systems consultant to Fortune 1000 companies, he has designed and developed software for the defense, finance, and entertainment industries. With a lifelong interest in both IT systems and creative writing, his high-tech and sci-fi thrillers focus on technology-driven change. Suarez is a past speaker at TED Global, MIT Media Lab, NASA Ames, the Long Now Foundation, and the headquarters of Google, Microsoft, and Amazon -- among many others. Self-taught in software development, he is a graduate from the University of Delaware with a BA in English Literature. An avid PC and console gamer, his own world-building skills were bolstered through years as a pen & paper role-playing game moderator. He lives in Los Angeles, California.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

136 of 155 people found the following review helpful By Harkius VINE VOICE on January 4, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
For a first novel, this one is pretty good.

Others have summarized it, but there are a few details missing, so I will make a few points. This book is about few really central characters, but a cast of a dozen or so important characters, including the titular Daemon. It tells the precautionary story of what can happen when a very bright person gets very angry with society. Or perceives it to have outlasted its usefulness. Choose your poison.

Matthew Sobol, the best game designer in the world, has died. With his death, a stunning series of events begins to take place, starting with the deaths of a few programmers, and extending to the endangering of the entire world. Very few people can hope to stop his plan. These include Tripwire Merritt, "Jon Ross", Natalie Phillips, and a certain police detective you meet at the beginning of the book.

There were a number of thoughts that went through my head as I read this book. First, it is paced to within an inch of its life. There are no slow parts, there are no parts where the plotting moves too fast and loses detail. Second, this is like Michael Crichton, only better. More accurate stories, more realistic, more detailed, more interesting characters (and more of them). Third, this compares well to The Stand and The Matrix, two of the epics of our time. Like the latter, technology plays a central role in this story, and like the latter, it doesn't end here.

The only reason that I don't give this book five stars is that the ending is not complete enough. The last discussion in the book lacks the details, the philosophy, and the explanation, to raise this even further above the bar for techno-thrillers. Instead, it is left for later.
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39 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Susan Tunis TOP 1000 REVIEWER on January 28, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Few readers were more saddened by the premature death of Michael Crichton than I was. Ever since his death (and truthfully even before it) I'd read any novel that promised to introduce "the next Crichton." Invariably, I'd come away disappointed. Until Daemon. Daniel Suarez's debut novel gave me hope for the future of smart, complex techno-thrillers. What a read! What a find! Thank you, Amazon Vine!

Daemon is the story of... Well, it's a little hard to summarize. The catalyst of this novel is the death (from brain cancer) of Matthew Sobol. Sobol is the young, multi-millionaire genius behind a computer gaming empire. Specifically, he made his fortune designing MMORPGs, and if you're like me, you're a reader who doesn't know squat about Massively Multi-player Online Role Playing Games. That's okay, you'll get educated along the way.

So, Matthew Sobol spent a lot of time thinking about society and the world we live in as his death approached, and apparently he found it lacking. Or, perhaps, the tumors in his brain drove him mad. Take your pick. In either case, Sobol set in motion an elaborate plan that would be kicked off, only after a computer read of his obituary in the news. That was the catalyst that released the eponymous computer daemon into the world.

For those that don't know (i.e. me), a daemon is a process that runs in the background and performs a specified operation at predefined times or in response to certain events. And that's precisely what Sobol's Daemon does. The obituary triggers the murders of some of the programmers that took part in the daemon's creation--in quite creative ways, I might add. And that is literally the start of the novel, and how we get introduced to homicide detective Peter Sebeck.
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81 of 100 people found the following review helpful By R W Warren on February 9, 2009
Format: Hardcover
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.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful By W. Timothy Holman on July 9, 2010
Format: Hardcover
"Daemon" is a unique book. Unfortunately, it's not a particularly good book. I picked it up after hearing several glowing recommendations on Leo Laporte's "This Week in Technology". Well, Leo's guests may be technology gurus, but clearly they aren't literary critics.

Daniel Suarez knows his technology, and goes to great detail to prove it to the reader - over and over and over again. Unfortunately, his ceaseless detailed exposition of computer gaming, networking, and security gets in the way of the story. Suarez tries to use his tech background to justify the Daemon as a plausible possibility, when in fact it is nothing of the sort. Despite what the characters say, no logic tree, regardless of its complexity, could do what the Daemon does. The Daemon has to be true AI; it is omniscient and omnipotent, and once that is established (very early in the story), it could just as easily be based on magic fairy dust and incantations. Suarez's attempts to explain the Daemon's abilities using modern technology don't wash, and as the novel progresses those abilities become even more implausible.

Suarez could take a few lessons from a writer like Vernor Vinge. Dr. Vinge is every bit as capable as Suarez in providing technological detail to a story, but unlike Suarez he is a good enough writer to know when to draw the line. Read "True Names" by Vinge, look at the year that Vinge wrote it, and you'll realize that Daniel Suarez still has a lot to learn as a writer.

Suarez clearly tried to write a technothriller, but it's really a sci-fi novel. As science fiction goes, however, it is completely derivative. Anyone who has read D.F. Jones, Vinge, Gibson, Stephenson, Doctorow, etc., has seen all of this before.
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