From Publishers Weekly
With an adroit combination of paranoid spy thriller tricks and SF gadgetry, MacLeod (Learning the World
) depicts a near future that may or may not be our own, when 9/11 and the Iraq war were followed by war with Iran, a flu pandemic and terrorist attacks, and the West teeters on the brink of an all-out nuclear exchange. James Travis, a Scottish software engineer whose hatred for the U.S. has driven him to spy for France, and his daughter, Roisin, a young peace activist, have both witnessed horrendous acts of terrorism, most recently the apparent nuclear bombing of an airbase in Scotland. Nothing is what it seems, however. Government agents use the Internet to spread sophisticated disinformation, but are still perfectly willing to fall back on torture when necessary. Meanwhile, the Execution Channel, a rogue media outlet, broadcasts actual footage of various murders and executions 24-7. Dizzying plot twists and a variety of fascinating, believable technological breakthroughs make this perhaps MacLeod's most compulsively readable novel to date. (June)
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In a post-9/11 world just around the corner, attacks on American soil have been followed in horrific succession by a flu pandemic, war against Iran, and an escalating wave of executions throughout the world that are televised daily on a pirate channel. Now what is apparently a tactical nuclear weapon has been detonated on an American-occupied air base in Scotland. While conducting spying operations for French intelligence, British citizen James Travis immediately becomes a terror suspect, as does his daughter, peace activist Roisin, because of carrying illicit photos of the weapon before it exploded. A multilayered story line alternates Travis' efforts to evade UK authorities, Roisin's capture and interrogation, and a propaganda war between a clandestine disinformation team and a notorious Internet blogger seeking the truth hidden in a spiderweb of spin. A master of politically charged sf, MacLeod channels our contemporary preoccupation with terrorism into an engulfing stream of espionage and international intrigue. Although the occasional sf trope may baffle genre outsiders, McLeod's speculative thriller ought to grab political junkies and spy fiction buffs as well as his sf fans. Hays, Carl Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved