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Singularity (The Archon Sequence) Hardcover – November 8, 2004

56 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews 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.

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Product Details

  • Series: The Archon Sequence (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Per Aspera Press; 1st Ed edition (November 8, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0974573442
  • ISBN-13: 978-0974573441
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 6.5 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,056,026 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Bill DeSmedt draws on a checkered career history -- system designer, AI researcher, management consultant, knowledge engineer -- in creating his "Archon Sequence" technothrillers: the award-winning cult classic SINGULARITY, this year's DUALISM, and, coming soon, TRIPLOIDY. Bill lives and writes 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.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 29 people found the following review helpful By N. D. Cernadas on 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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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By M. K. Melloy on 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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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By James Tepper VINE VOICE on 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 By S. Kocan on 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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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Jeff Edwards on 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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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Nurse Ratchett on 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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