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Trading Reality Hardcover – February, 1997

22 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

High tech and high finance make a natural pair, in real life and now in fiction thanks to Ridpath (Free to Trade), whose second novel features desperate characters trading in reality of the virtual kind. Narrator Mark Fairfax, a London bond trader, discovers that his brother Richard has been murdered in Scotland just as Richard's firm, FairSystems, was on the verge of a fundamental breakthrough in virtual reality (VR) technology. As Mark takes charge of FairSystems and tries to fulfill his brother's dreams, it becomes increasingly obvious that the murder has something to do with the breakthrough?and that Richard was not the only victim. Mark has his hands full trying to learn his way around VR while fending off hostile takeovers, cash-flow crises, terrorists and attempts on his life. He also has to deal with being dumped by one lover and finding a new one. Ridpath's pacing is brisk, and his use of largely Scottish settings is a welcome change from the usual American suspense backdrop. His characters are painted in broad strokes but, then, the thrills here lie as much in carefully thought out financial and digital tools as in the humans who wield them. Drawing on classic thriller elements, Ridpath has written a clever, if not very original, story with a trendy spin and a satisfying conclusion that should have readers buying up copies as fast as you can say "Bill Gates." $50,000 ad/promo; UK, translation, first serial, dramatic rights: Writer's House.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

With this exciting, suspenseful novel about skullduggery in the stock market, Ridpath should exceed the success of his first novel, the best-selling Free To Trade (LJ 11/1/94). Mark Fairfax is a bond trader turned entrepreneur when his brother is murdered, and he has to take over his brother's company. He finds that it has a virtual reality product that could make it the next Microsoft, worth billions, and that many people want to steal it out from under him. Its stock is being manipulated, and it is being forced toward sale or bankruptcy. In finding out who is doing this, Mark also learns who murdered his brother. Ranking with the best of Paul Erdman's financial thrillers, this is an essential purchase for popular fiction collections.
-?Marylaine Block, St. Ambrose Univ. Lib., Davenport, Iowa
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Harpercollins; 1st U.S. ed edition (February 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060176296
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060176297
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 6.5 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,024,734 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Rønne Jakobsen on August 16, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I found Trading Reality to be very exciting and entertaining - from beginning to end. The plot is great and it's difficult to guess what's going to happen next. You constantly think you've worked it out only to realise that you've been had once again. I found the detailed descriptions of life in The City combined with the interesting world of high technology to be an excellent cocktail. Well written and definitely worth a try...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 8, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I like his writing very much, easy to read, and keeps you wanting to turn the pages, However, I did find this book a bit predictable. All the leads are laid into the book in a far to obvious way.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on March 5, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book can be described as a modern whodunit murder mystery with thriller and technological elements thrown into the plot line. The brother of a bond trader in London is murdered and the bond trader turns into CEO and entrepreneur when he takes over his brother's company. The company was on the verge of a technological breakthrough in Virtual Reality and this technology plays a major role as the story unfolds. Suspense mounts towards the end as the protagonist has to deal with managing the company, keeping it afloat and learning about the technology, while he also tries to discover who murdered his brother at the same time. His life is not made any easier by attempts at hostile take-overs, attempts on his life and terrorism. To top it all, he also falls in love with one of his new employees! The author brings the book to a masterful conclusion when all the suspects are gathered in one location, as in true classical whodunit fashion, and the technology is employed to force the murderer to expose him/herself. The story flows well and the book is very difficult to put down.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 18, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The book really keeps you up all night. It has less brokering stuff then "Free to Trade" what makes it even more interesting. Ridpath manages to combine the two areas of brokering and virtual reality but keeps it near real life. The classic ending of an english criminal story of gathering all suspects in one room to make the murderer reveale himself, is varied in a fascinating way.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Found this book well-documented and methodically written, but also slow-moving and predictable re many characters. Written chronologically in the I-form -no recipe for much action- it is a murder mystery set in Scotland around 1995, the year email and internet were launched. The murder victim is Richard, founder, managing director and main shareholder of a promising start-up in Virtual Reality (VR). His kid brother Mark, a City bonds trader becomes the biggest shareholder and takes control of the company for a period of three months. Why three months? To test the firm's viability, which faces myriad problems despite its great potential: cash flow problems, delayed product development, declining share value on the Nasdac, intrigues inside and threats from outside, to mention a few.
Author MR has deep roots in the London City and experience with VR start-ups too, which shows. Investment bankers are (fiercely) reviled by some of the characters. Bravo! But today, the lengthy explanations about VR read like old Economist articles. This reader skipped them as old hat. Re dialogue, Mark's many one-on-ones do not move action faster forward. As a police procedural, little progress on Richard's murder is made in the first half of the book. Mark's London romance with colleague Karen seems to dim chapter by chapter... Will Mark find enough allies in- and outside the company to help him save his late brother's dream?
Other readers must take over at this halfway point. Surely, MR's book is far richer than presented above, but it never becomes really exciting. Today, it is a perfect winter book to be closely read, one chapter per day.
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Format: Hardcover
When I first read Michael Ridpath's "Free to Trade", I was thoroughly enthralled by the use of bond trading as background for a suspense story line. There have been few truly integrated financial mystery novels. (A couple others are "The Takeover" and "Nest of Vipers.") Due to what I considered an exceptional first novel, I was slightly disappointed by "Trading Reality." Ridpath's latest novel is more cyber-techno than financial; too bad when you consider Ridpath's background in the financial markets. Although he starts the novel in a bond trading room in London, it quickly moves into different territory, that of computer generated virtual reality. That said, this is a pretty good novel, with a fairly intricate and convoluted plot, including a few red herrings, a couple of nasty characters, and a predictable, yet satisfying, ending. I would have preferred if the protagonist developed a more creative financial bailout. Even so, the ending was reminiscent of the classical English sleuth gathering all of the principal characters into one room, making them squirm, and finally announcing the murderer. Frankly, this would probably make a great movie script. It could easily be placed in the USA. Throughout the book, I found myself substituting American locations (Wall Street for London; the coast of Maine for Scotland; Harvard for Oxford), and it still played well. How about it Hollywood!
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