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Reamde Audible – Unabridged

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Editorial Reviews

In 1972, Richard Forthrast, the black sheep of an Iowa farming clan, fled to the mountains of British Columbia to avoid the draft. A skilled hunting guide, he eventually amassed a fortune by smuggling marijuana across the border between Canada and Idaho. As the years passed, Richard went straight and returned to the States after the U.S. government granted amnesty to draft dodgers. He parlayed his wealth into an empire and developed a remote resort in which he lives. He also created T'Rain, a multibillion-dollar, massively multiplayer online role-playing game with millions of fans around the world.

But T'Rain's success has also made it a target. Hackers have struck gold by unleashing REAMDE, a virus that encrypts all of a player's electronic files and holds them for ransom. They have also unwittingly triggered a deadly war beyond the boundaries of the game's virtual universe - and Richard is at ground zero.

Racing around the globe from the Pacific Northwest to China to the wilds of northern Idaho and points in between, Reamde is a swift-paced thriller that traverses worlds virtual and real. Filled with unexpected twists and turns in which unforgettable villains and unlikely heroes face off in a battle for survival, it is a brilliant refraction of the 21st century, from the global war on terror to social media, computer hackers to mobsters, entrepreneurs to religious fundamentalists. Above all, Reamde is an enthralling human story - an entertaining and epic pause-resister from the extraordinary Neal Stephenson.

©2011 Neal Stephenson (P)2011 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

Product Details

  • Audible Audio Edition
  • Listening Length: 38 hours and 34 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio
  • Release Date: September 28, 2011
  • Whispersync for Voice: Ready
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005Q20OBM
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank:

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

311 of 341 people found the following review helpful By Barney on September 20, 2011
Format: Hardcover
The good news: *REAMDE* is a great page-turner, a bit of a throwback to Stephenson's early, pseudonymous techno-thriller *Interface*. I stayed up all night charging through the first half, and seriously considered skipping work so I could finish it. Having finished it, I have to say that it reads like a streak, which isn't something you can say about any of Stephenson's other novels. However, it's in his digressions and excesses that Stephenson is great, which brings us to...

The bad news: although it wouldn't be accurate to call this a "beach read", it's true that it isn't anywhere near as ambitious as Stephenson's earlier work, and there are no outrageous, indelible set-pieces like the Cap n' Crunch chapter of *Cryptonomicon* or the Newton-Leibniz smack down from *The Baroque Cycle*. And with the exception of the hilarious medievalist Don Squared, the characters aren't very memorable. In particular Zula, the heroine, is a bit bland and unconvincing.

The bottom line: if you're a Stephenson fan, you'll probably be a little disappointed, but if you're new to his writing, this is a perfect introduction to his style and outlook.
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179 of 197 people found the following review helpful By Will. L on September 27, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Just finished this beast of a novel. It's strange to give one of the best thrillers ever written a four-star review, but there it is...because this is, it needs to be said, not a towering accomplishment along the lines of a Baroque Trilogy or a Cryptonomicon or even a Diamond Age.

One could be forgiven for, like me, being a little disappointed about that. Neal Stephenson is an author capable of towering accomplishments. For an author as preoccupied as he is with grand, sweeping ideas of cosmological scale and intricacy, it's jarring to pick up his latest novel and find yourself reading a thriller that's not about ideas as much as it is about fun.

But oh, what a thriller. It's a thousand pages with the dynamic energy of a bullet train or a wild mustang, screaming along with an almost unbearable intensity and narrative zest. I found myself nipping a hundred pages at a time, like trying to gag down a glass of Bacardi 151, because it moves with explosive speed and a madcap intensity that never really lets up. It's not a traditional Stephenson novel, but only a writer of his caliber could have crafted a thriller this long, complex, and energetic. And you get the sense that he just had a ridiculous amount of fun writing it.

It's worth every moment of the read, and it's terrific fun watching the thriller genre get worked over by a writer of a caliber rarely seen in the straight-to-paperback set. But it's still not really as good as some of his earlier it's a four, reluctantly. Doesn't mean it's still not one of the best books I'll read this year.
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61 of 67 people found the following review helpful By D. Jones on September 28, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"Snow Crash" and "The Diamond Age" were two of my favorite books of all time, and "Cryptonomicon" was worth the time it took to plow through it.

For about the first half of "Reamde" I felt like I was reading "Cryptonomicon" all over again. There is a familiar balance of international characters, intrigue, wit and technological digressions that make it a pleasure to read for any fan of Stephenson's previous novels.

The story starts going downhill when it turns into a terrorist hunt. The al-Qaeda characters are wooden, undeveloped, and evil for unexplained reasons. There was plenty of space to get inside their heads and Stephenson didn't even try. Strike one.

Strike two is the verbose gunfight that takes up the last quarter or so of the book. It's far too detailed and very difficult to follow. I found myself losing track of where characters were and what they were doing, and couldn't even maintain a consistent mental image of the scene without getting thrown off by random inconsistent environmental details that Stephenson kept throwing in.

Strike three is the Hollywood-esque setup of the ending. Stephenson used to always leave important issues unresolved at the end of his stories, which made for good food for thought. This story ties up cleanly in the end but Stephenson had to seriously finesse reality in order to get it there.

I got the overall impression that Stephenson wrote half of the book in his old mode, where he simply had fun coming up with characters and situations to get them into; then he spend the second half of the book trying to squeeze out a coherent ending that would get all the characters to where they needed to be, but losing a lot of the inherent quality of his style in the process.
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249 of 292 people found the following review helpful By Jyotirmoy Bhattacharya on September 21, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As an avid Stephenson fan, I feel let down after finishing Reamde. It is not as if it is a bad novel. In fact I would rate it as one of the better thrillers I have read in the last couple of years. If you like tales of very strong men and somewhat strong women in which lots of guns go off, then you will like Reamde. In its ambition and the quality of its execution it easily matches up to the works of the masters of this genre such as Clancy or Forsyth.

Yet, the book lacks the special Stephenson touch. First, there is no overarching theme tying the novel together. Cryptonomicon was about the elusive nature of information and wealth, the Baroque Cycle was about the rise of science and capitalism in the West. Having these deeper questions in the background made the surface action in the novels more meaningful. This time it is just a bunch of Good Guys chasing a bunch of Bad Guys.

Second, the characters in Reamde lack both depth and idiosyncrasy. Despite the length of the novel, there is so much going on that we do not get to know the nuances of the characters' personalities. I don't think I am the only Stephenson fan missing the Cap'n Crunch episodes. Though they start off with nominally different backgrounds and interests, as the novel progresses the good guys/girls all converge into a uniform mould of toughness, self-reliance and an aptitude for violence. The bad guys, apart form the chief villain, seem to exist just to be killed. These cookie-cutter "jihadists" seem to have been dropped in from some B-grade action movie script, for Stephenson does not seem to have any wish to examine either the ideology of religious fundamentalists or their social backgrounds.
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