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Breakpoint Hardcover – January 16, 2007

3.5 out of 5 stars 83 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

In Against All Enemies, Richard Clarke warned about how we were conducting the war against terror. In his bestselling first novel, The Scorpion's Gate, he demonstrated what could happen. And now, in Breakpoint, America's preeminent counterterrorism expert and #1 bestselling author shows us all what might come next.

The global village--an intricately intertwined network of technology that binds together the world's economies, governments, and communication systems. So large, so vital--and so fragile. Now a sophisticated group is seeking to "disconnect the globe"--destroying computer grids, communications satellites, Internet cable centers, biotech firms. Hard to do? If only that were so.

Quickly, a dedicated team of men and women assembles to try to track the group down, searching through right-wing militias and Russian organized crime, Jihadist terrorists and enemy nation-states. But the attacks are coming more swiftly now, and growing in destructiveness. Soon, they will reach the breakpoint--and then there may be nothing anybody can do.

In an exclusive video message for Amazon.com customers, Richard Clarke introduces his new novel, and explains why, as he says, "sometimes you can tell more truth through fiction":

Reviewers everywhere praised the suspense and pace of The Scorpion's Gate, the vivid depictions of war, espionage, and bureaucracy, but most of all they hailed its authenticity. "Unlike most novelists, the man has been there and done that," said The New York Times Book Review. "Some of us," added The Washington Post, "have learned to listen when Richard A. Clarke has something to say." And we'd better hope they're listening now.

From Publishers Weekly

Veteran counterterrorism official Clarke, author of Against All Enemies: Inside America's War on Terror and the novel The Scorpion's Gate, proves once again that authenticity, insider information and top-secret access artfully applied trumps fancy writing with this cutting-edge, nail-biter techno-thriller set in 2012. Clarke's intriguing plot centers on the development of Living Software, a massive computer program designed to travel throughout the Internet correcting computer errors and creating software without any help or oversight from human beings. Volunteers would be connected to this program in a project aimed at reverse engineering the human brain. Added to this fascinating mix is the Transhumanist movement, whose labs grow designer children with extra chromosomes. Mysterious entities who would deny this progress are blowing up government Internet connections, killing scientists and destroying the labs participating in this research. Savvy readers will ignore the evidence that points to the obvious suspect, but still be surprised at the identity of the perpetrator when all is revealed. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 309 pages
  • Publisher: G. P. Putnam's Sons; 1st edition (January 16, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399153780
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399153785
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (83 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,717,243 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Mel Odom VINE VOICE on January 17, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Richard Clarke has just shot to the top of my list of people I'd love to interview. In only three books, one nonfiction and two fiction, he's grabbed my attention and paranoia about all the scientific and technological changes that are going on -- and that will be going on -- in the world.

BREAKPOINT isn't the best writing to hit fiction because there are writers who paint pictures and characters with words better, but there's no one I can think of who writes with the easy authority Clarke brings to his novel. The author has been involved in Washington politics since 1973, and been involved in the clandestine evolvement of scientific advances with DARPA and other think-tank institutes that work on defense technologies.

The novel centers on a terrorist threat against the United States that starts with the destruction of communications nodes that allow the internet to work. With those avenues shut down, banking, investing, business dealings, and even political diplomacy get crippled in a matter of hours. Clarke points out how pervasive the emerging technology is, and how everyone seems to have integrated it into their lives. Presented even in fiction, this is truly scary stuff and I found myself thinking about the possibilities as much as the plot and characters.

Two crack agents of the Intelligence Analysis Center are assigned to ferret out the truth. Although almost paper-thin characters, Jimmy Foley and Susan Connor pull the reader through the frantic chase for the truth behind the attacks. There's just enough insight behind the characters to flesh them out, but not get in the way of the plot.
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I didn't read Clarke's earlier novel, but I found Breakpoint to be entertaining. I noticed some people complained about his writing style, and I admit it's not perfect, but I read a book for the story and the entertainment value. Breakpoint is indeed a very fast read, and I thought he did a great job tying in new and emerging technologies to create a story that is set in the future, but is imaginable. Will the book win a literary award? Not even close. Is the book entertaining? Absolutely. The characters are not deep, and you will not feel an emotional tie to them, but the pace is fast and the story is interesting.
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Format: Hardcover
A series of nearly simultaneous bombings knock out Internet communications between North America and Europe. A few days later, three major communications satellites suddenly spiral out of orbit, lost forever. A supercomputer data center, one of the major control nodes for the Globegrid project about to come on-line, is blown up. Another Globegrid computer center is attacked, and hackers cause the entire United States power grid west of the Mississippi to shut down. Evidence points to China as the power behind these attacks on the American technology infrastructure, and the Pentagon is happy to oblige this view. While the FBI, the CIA, and the rest of the country's massive investigative resources struggle and fumble to find the cause, a black, female junior intelligence analyst, an Irish cop from New York City, and a good-hearted hacker improbably outwit them all and discover the truth.

There are three ways to view (and review) BREAKPOINT, Richard Clarke's second foray into the world of science-based fiction. First, as a potboiling techno-thriller and diverting airplane read, BREAKPOINT succeeds moderately well, although somewhat like Robert Ludlum with a pseudo-geeky technological edge, or perhaps Tom Clancy mixed with Michael Crichton (whose book PREY Clarke obliquely references), both laced with amphetamines. Still, as a fast and escapist read, Clarke delivers a serviceable if ultimately predictable story (I guessed the "answer" nearly 100 pages from the end of the book) - give it a 4 when viewed from this perspective.

Second, we can look at BREAKPOINT as a sort of jeremiad, a catalog of warnings about how fragile and vulnerable our networked world has become.
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Format: Hardcover
Whether it's judging future applications of scientific advancements or determining whom our enemies are,

"Breakpoint" illustrates the need to not leap to erroneous conclusions. Rather, the meat of this novel is very

good at stressing the axiom, "think before you act".

The only faults I find have to do with cardboard characters and dialogue that sometimes reads like something

from a "B" movie. However, it is the discussion and use of technology which saves the day.
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Format: Hardcover
I read this book over a relaxing weekend on the couch. It has likeable characters who readers will enjoy joining on this romp through technological thrills. For avid readers of techno-thrillers and national security themed novels - BREAKPOINT is new way of presenting fact to readers by including a series of end notes that gives you more information on the technological innovations described throughout the story. It would be great to see other novelists follow this line to help readers see the facts through the fiction. Another thing I liked most about the book is not only that the characters are engaging, but that as the United States and the global community continue to confront challenges in the War on Terror, Iraq, and nuclear proliferation -- there is also a much ignored focus on the many commercial and scientific innovations that will indeed revolutionize society and the way we engage with each other in confronting numerous new medical, scientific, educational, and national security issues. Read this book for fun or for new knowledge - either way you can't lose.
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