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Singularity (The Archon Sequence) [Kindle Edition]

Bill DeSmedt
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Praise:
Singularity is a swift, gripping novel with a goose-pimple mix of scary science and near-future action. An excellent debut from Bill DeSmedt — and I’ll be looking forward to his next one!”
— GREG BEAR, New York Times bestselling author

“One of the best debuts of the year!”
— Barnes & Noble’s Explorations

“DeSmedt veers an action-packed thriller into perilous realms of black hole physics. The combination of adrenaline and intellect sizzles.”
— DAVID BRIN, New York Times bestselling author

“Singularity juggles Clancy, Crichton and The Da Vinci Code. An innovative concept for an end-of-the-world thriller, with convincing research and locomotive pacing.”
— KEVIN J. ANDERSON, New York Times bestselling author

Synopsis:
June 30th, 1908 — In the remote Tunguska region of Siberia, the most violent cosmic collision in recorded history flattened ancient forests over an area half the size of Rhode Island. Yet after a hundred years of international scientific research the cause of this impact remains a mystery.

A MAVERICK ASTROPHYSICIST
Jack Adler thinks he’s fingered the culprit: a submicroscopic black hole, smaller than an atom, heavier than a mountain, older than the stars. What’s more, that fantastic object is still down there, deep inside the Earth, burrowing through the mantle in an ever-decaying orbit that will end only when it has devoured the entire planet.

A ROOKIE SECRET AGENT
Marianna Bonaventure is tracking three missing scientists suspected of involvement in weapons of mass destruction research. The trail leads to Rusalka, the luxurious floating corporate headquarters of billionaire Russian industrialist Arkady Grishin. Determined to prove herself, Marianna creates an elaborate ruse in order to infiltrate the megayacht — a dangerous gambit that requires the coerced cooperation of a rather special civilian ...

AN UNCANNY CONSULTANT
Jonathan Knox is one of the country’s most sought-after analysts; his knack for intuiting hidden relationships among seemingly disparate events serves his Fortune-50 clients well. But when Marianna compels the reluctant Knox to join her undercover mission, he must grapple with puzzles of a whole different order of magnitude.

Against violent and cunning opposition, the three of them unearth a scheme to capture the submicroscopic black hole that caused the Tunguska Event and use its awesome power to transform the world — or end it altogether.

Bill DeSmedt’s debut is a tour-de-force of breakneck plotting, complex characters, and cutting-edge science. In the tradition of Michael Crichton and Greg Bear, Singularity weaves a richly detailed and intelligent tale, meticulously researched and elegantly told.


Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Bill DeSmedt should be on the bestseller lists with Tom Clancy and Dan Brown. DeSmedt's ambitious and exciting debut novel, Singularity, mixes a post-Cold-War conspiracy with cutting-edge quantum physics and a century-old mystery to create a terrifying techno-thriller.

A secret US government agency, CROM, fights terrorism by apprehending or terminating post-Soviet scientists before they sell the technology of mass destruction to terrorists. A rookie CROM agent, Marianna Bonaventure, and a brilliant consultant, Jonathan Knox, find themselves on an undercover mission to locate a missing Russian physicist. Instead, they discover a secret far scarier than terrorists with nuclear weapons.

The famous "meteor" that devastated Siberia's Tunguska wasteland in 1908 was no meteor. It was a microscopic black hole that entered the earth's crust--and never exited. Trapped, it may eventually devour the earth. But a small, clandestine group has developed secret technology to capture the black hole. If the conspirators succeed, the world will be enslaved by a dictatorship made omnipotent by the black hole's quantum effects. If the conspirators fail, they will accelerate the black hole's destructiveness--and guarantee the earth's immediate annihilation. Bonaventure and Knox rush to stop the conspirators--but they may already be too late. --Cynthia Ward

From Publishers Weekly

DeSmedt's debut SF thriller, a brisk Michael Crichton clone, vividly depicts the Tunguska event that leveled a big patch of Siberia in 1908, then shifts to the near-future, where warrior woman Marianna Bonaventure is working for CROM (Critical Resources Oversight Mandate), the U.S. Department of Energy's branch for dealing with loose WMD talent. Meanwhile, in Siberia, scientist Jack Adler discovers that Tunguska was actually hit by a microscopic black hole, not a meteorite. Marianna and an intuitive analyst, Jonathan Knox, are assigned to infiltrate the gigantic yacht Rusalka, owned by the Russian billionaire Arkady Grishin, who is on the trail of something odd. It turns out that Grishin is not who he seems and his motives for finding the Tunguska object are a great deal more sinister than anyone had supposed. The book bounces along, from well-developed scenes to lesser ones and back again, with a good deal of deft if not particularly original characterization. The sexual chemistry between Marianna and Jonathan adds spice. Exotic hardware, lifestyles of the rich and notorious, double- and triple-crosses and a slightly rushed and facile conclusion all make a respectable if not outstanding first effort.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Product Details

  • File Size: 954 KB
  • Print Length: 512 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Per Aspera Press (December 7, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006JE4Y62
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #259,808 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a great ride! December 5, 2004
Format:Hardcover
I had no idea what to expect from Singularity written by new author Bill DeSmedt. After reading the blurbs from the likes of Kevin Anderson (Dune: Battle of Corrin) and Greg Bear (Darwin's Radio), I had to give it a try. What a great ride!

The novel is gripping from the very beginning. It has spies, killers, not-so-altruistic scientists, and consultants ... yes, consultants - but these are not the same ones that read your watch and tell you what the time is. The characters are smart, witty and engaging. I found myself wishing my plane ride was longer so I could continue reading!

There are various storylines cleverly weaved together. I kept wishing I could read faster so I could find out what is happening to protagonists Jonathan Knox and Marianna Bonaventure. The unexpected twists and suspense reminds you of The DaVinci Code - but Singularity is so much better. The story is just so solid, witty and smart.

As for the writing, Singularity is beautifully written - similar to CRYPTONOMICON or even My Life as a Geisha or The Grapes of Wrath - you are transported into the characters lives and into exotic locations. The writing is witty and delicious. It is also a smart read - the author weaves the story around a mysterious microscopic black whole. You unwittingly learn more physics than you expect. He brings in science more artfully than Michael Crichton.

In addition to the great story and writing, the characters are clever and interesting. There is a strong female protagonist that is smart, can take care of herself (a la Alias) and knows how to wear Gucci. The male character - now there is a real man!

The one negative is that the book had to end. I can't wait until the sequel comes out.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bill DeSmedt, hot new writer November 27, 2004
Format:Hardcover
Bill DeSemdt is an "Information Engineer," an amateur physicist, a student of Sovietology, and now a first-time novelist who reads like he's been doing this for decades. With his debut book, "Singularity," DeSmedt demonstrates a knack for pace and plotting that make the "international thriller" aspect of his book a hair-raising adventure. But there is a science fiction angle at work here, too, and it's just close enough to plausible science fact that you'll wonder, even as you devour the pages, just how scared you should be.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Singularly excellent December 1, 2005
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A very impressive first novel. Solid, hard SF of the Gregory Benford/Stephen Baxter/Greg Bear variety. The plot intensfies as it moves along and the hard SF aspects become more and more important as integral parts of the storyline. DesMedt has clearly been thinking about this for a while, as he says in the very informative Further Reading section at the end of the book.

Why 5 stars? In addition to an (very) interesting plot, the writing is very good, the physics is excellent and (gasp!) several of the characters are very, very well done. There is a believable heroine (and a sort of hero), an excellent "baddy" (actually a couple of them) and a couple of guys to round out the cast. All of them are fleshed out well enough so that one can tell who is speaking even if you skip ahead a few lines. And DesMedt makes us care about all of them.

This book literally has something for everyone. Black holes, quantum mechanics and more (don't want to spoil anything for anyone), Russian history and politics, action, romance (well, sort of) computers and technobabble. What a great combo.

The dust jacket says he is working on a sequel. I can't wait.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Brilliant Debut! January 9, 2005
Format:Hardcover
Start with a cataclysmic planetary collision, add one part hard science, one part espionage, a dash of shamanism, and shake mixture vigorously until it explodes. Bill DeSmedt's `Singularity' moves at the speed of light, careening from science to adventure and back again without ever quite losing control. His characters are interesting and three-dimensional, his writing is crisp, and his storytelling is captivating. This man was born to write cutting-edge Science Fiction. Now all I have to do is wait for his next book.

Jeff Edwards, author of `Torpedo: A Surface Warfare Thriller'
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best book I've read in quite some time! December 4, 2004
Format:Hardcover
No doubt about it, Singularity is a great read. The book has it all: lightning-fast pace, believable characters, easy-to-read style, mystery, intrigue, clever plot twists and adventure.

The basic plot of the book revolves around a black hole that crashes into the earth. While this may make the book sound like science fiction, it actually reads more like the Da Vinci Code (though I think the writing in Singularity is better). It's one of those books I just didn't want to put down because I wanted to see what would happen next.

The characters in the book were quite believable and quite diverse. From the consultant (when was the last time you saw a consultant as the hero?) to the Russian billionaire, their words and actions made sense and had a purpose besides just moving the story along.

I also appreciated that I didn't see any distracting errors in the facts in the book. I even learned a few things about black holes (painlessly I might add).

My summary: well written, engaging, thought provoking, enjoyable. Glad I read it.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Combo January 11, 2005
Format:Hardcover
I am not usually a fiction reader, but, "Singularity" was recommended by friends and it is a gem. The author has a great sense of humor, is able to present technical information in an interesting and informative way, and throws in some wonderful literary quotes, authors and vocabulary to boot! Mr. DeSmedt engages the reader's attention with various convergent plot lines and his focus on how the good guys are dealing with the high unemployment rate of Soviet nuclear scientists is certainly interesting in our dangerous world today. Looking forward to more from this author.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars I just discovered this fantastic book
I just completed Singularity.

...

That was a moment of silence as I acknowledge being in the presence of greatness. Read more
Published 10 days ago by Blake Senftner
5.0 out of 5 stars Listened to the audio twice and had to have the book
I will read this over and over. The use of Sci-Fi to explain and expand upon real events is very good.
Published 6 months ago by JeffB
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read all the way through
From cover to cover an intelligent entertaining read that brought science and international politics together in a human story with believable tangible characters. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Michael K. O'connor
5.0 out of 5 stars hard science, great adventure, iconic characters
At the end you'll know more about black holes and the deep structure of reality and consciousness than you can imagine. Read more
Published 10 months ago by John Pavley
1.0 out of 5 stars Laboured junk.
I am afraid that will this novel, the author has mistaken a second-rate science essay as the plot for a novel. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Willie Nealy
4.0 out of 5 stars More, please!
I found Singularity gripping, so much so that I woke up from a deep sleep just now to finish the last act, and now am typing up a review in the dead of night. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Scott
4.0 out of 5 stars A Singular Thriller
Can this excellent thriller really be Bill deSmedt's first novel? If so, I'm really looking forward to his second. Read more
Published on January 14, 2012 by Bridget McKenna
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good story on many levels
I strongly recommend this book to anyone. The story starts out a little slow in terms of protagonists and plot, but pretty quickly starts to make sense and become very... Read more
Published on December 27, 2011 by Marq N. Elliott
5.0 out of 5 stars With a Consultant as a hero, it's gotta be a winner!
I had read Singularity in hard cover when it first came out, and liked it so much I bought 2 more copies as gifts. Now that it's on Kindle I just bought it again. Read more
Published on December 12, 2011 by L. Finch
5.0 out of 5 stars riveting read
This book has lots of twists & turns - with no hint of what's around the next turn. I find it to be exceptionally crafted science fiction, rooted in concepts of "real science."
Published on November 5, 2011 by GeekGuy & NatureNut
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More About the Author

Bill's life is a superposition of orthogonal career paths -- system designer/developer, AI researcher/practitioner, management consultant, ontologist/knowledge engineer, husband/father/lover, and, most recently, thriller writer. The resulting sum over histories has spawned the Archon Sequence, consisting so far of Singularity and Dualism, with Triploidy on the drawing board. When not writing, Bill lives with his wife Kathrin and wire-haired dachshund Nicki in a hilltop aerie overlooking Milford PA, a town whose rich tradition in philosophical and speculative literature serves as a never-ending source of inspiration.

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