|Amazon Price||New from||Used from|
Is there a genre of fiction that Robert Harris has not mastered? His first novel, Fatherland, set in a triumphant Germany’s post-World War II Berlin (yes, triumphant!) ranks as one of the finest “what if?” stories ever written. Pompeii sends us farther back in time, to the slopes of Mt. Vesuvius only days before the volcano was set to erupt. Ancient Rome at its pulpiest. Who knew aqueducts could be so sexy? The Ghost Writer (winner of the 2008 International Thriller Writers award for Best Novel) claims the shadowy world of contemporary North Atlantic politics as its subject. Classy Brit espionage best enjoyed with a gin and tonic in hand. All were international bestsellers. All were page-turners non-pareil. But best, all were frighteningly intelligent. Thrillers that made you think as you maddeningly bit your nails.
With The Fear Index, Mr. Harris has turned his gimlet eye on the secret world of billion dollar hedge funds, namely those that seek to earn profits by computer driven program trading. The result is a wholly unique entertainment: a strange, compelling, and utterly propulsive novel. I’m not sure who would enjoy it more: George Soros, Arthur C. Clarke or Edgar Allen Poe.
The story takes place over a tumultuous twenty-four hour period in the life of Dr. Alexander Hoffmann, computer scientist, mathematical genius, and, of late, hedge fund billionaire. It begins (as a fine thriller should) on a dark and stormy night when Hoffmann is awoken by an intruder inside his sixty million dollar villa on the shores of Lake Geneva. A confrontation occurs, Hoffmann is injured, and in his attempt to solve just how someone was able to gain entry into his well-guarded palace, Hoffmann comes face to face with the greatest danger he can imagine: himself. Or perhaps it’s more accurate to say: his intellect. To reveal more would ruin the adventure...and adventure it is.
There is, however, a backstory. Hoffmann was not always a stock trader. He began his career as a computer scientist at CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research) where his work in artificial intelligence involved modeling sophisticated algorithms that programmed computers to teach themselves. It is this mastery of algorithms, and how they train computers to mimic human behavior, that he has turned to such profitable use at Hoffmann Investment Technologies. And it is this mastery that will come to haunt him.
What Harris does so admirably--in my mind, better than any other writing today--is intertwine nifty, page turning plots with important historical, political, or in this case, sociological questions. The late Michael Crichton did this kind of story well. In The Fear Index, Robert Harris does it fantastically.--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Mr Harris has done it again. A great thought provoking story that in this age of computer technology, artificial intelligence on this level is a real future possibility, Once you... Read morePublished 4 days ago by Dr Pete
An enjoyable book overall. It is far better than a book I would expect with the main character as he is. Read morePublished 16 days ago by Peter Rice
Read this well written book and The Flash Boys by Michael Lewis and you will see the destructive impact of algorithmic trading of securities. Read morePublished 23 days ago by Stephen J Sogin
This book is not in the same class as Robert Harris' other work. The characters are wooden and the plot is lame.Published 24 days ago by Ned
Beginning in 1982, Robert Harris spent nearly a decade writing highly acclaimed historical based non-fiction. Read morePublished 25 days ago by Michael Sova
Entertaining. Not quite as clever as it wants to be, but yes, entertaining.Published 1 month ago by Lesley Jenkins
This book sucked the when it was called "The Andromeda Strain" (or any other Michael Crichton novel). Father land and Archangel were good, Enigma; so-so. Read morePublished 1 month ago by James Walsh
Having enjoyed several of Harris' historic novel, I was curious how he would make the shift to modern day fiction. I was by no means disappointed. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
I would recommend reading The Fear Index, but it was not as enjoyable to me as I had hoped. The stock market plays a huge role and so much of that went over my head - but the plot... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Classicgold