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Extinction: A Thriller Hardcover – February 12, 2013

3.5 out of 5 stars 39 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Jim Pearce is a former military officer who has developed the technology to build amazing prostheses for veterans returning from war. His daughter Layla works with a hacker organization that reveals government secrets—and she is instrumental in uncovering dangerous classified information about China. The Chinese will do anything to stop Layla before the information is leaked; they've developed an artificial intelligence network called Supreme Harmony that can spy on any government or corporation. But the real danger begins when Supreme Harmony becomes self-aware. Narrator Todd McLaren reads with a slightly gruff tone that gives Pearce a degree of strength. He also adeptly creates voices with suitable tones and accents for the book's other male characters. McLaren doesn't portray the female characters quite as well, using a breathy, slight falsetto that isn't convincing. Still listeners will find much entertainment value of the audio edition of this suspenseful technological thriller. A Thomas Dunne hardcover. (Feb) --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

From Booklist

Alpert’s Final Theory (2008) and The Omega Theory (2011), technothrillers based on real science, starred science historian David Swift. His new book introduces a new hero, Jim Pierce, but otherwise it’s more of the same—and that’s good news for fans. Pierce, a former soldier who wears a cutting-edge prosthetic arm he designed himself, is skeptical when he’s approached by a government agent asking questions about Pierce’s estranged daughter, Layla, who’s involved with a website that publishes classified military documents. After a close brush with death, during which it becomes clear that his visitor is actually a foreign agent, Pierce is plunged into a race to find his daughter. But, unknown to him (and to most of humanity, although that could soon change), the artificial intelligence at the core of a powerful antiterrorism program has come alive, and it will do anything to stop Layla from divulging the secrets she possesses. Among the writers jostling for position at the top of the technothriller ladder since the passing of Michael Crichton, Alpert is edging closer and closer to the lead. An exciting and highly imaginative story. --David Pitt
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books; 1St Edition edition (February 12, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1250021340
  • ISBN-13: 978-1250021342
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.5 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,422,964 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By TChris TOP 500 REVIEWER on February 13, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
Extinction reads like a cross between The Six Million Dollar Man, a mediocre spy novel, and a cheesy "computers try to take over the world" science fiction novel. It is a fast-paced, unchallenging time-killer that doesn't stand out from other formula fiction.

Jim Pierce builds prosthetic devices. His estranged daughter Layla is a computer hacker. China's Ministry of State Security is displeased that Layla hacked the Chinese government's network with the help of a former Chinese agent named Dragon Fire. Dragon Fire (whose ability to travel unimpeded to the US on short notice goes unexplained) shows up in New York long enough to give Layla a flash drive with information about the evil Dr. Zhang, who has networked the brains of twenty-nine lobotomized dissidents. The network, hidden in a remote compound, is named Supreme Harmony. It is designed to analyze surveillance videos in real time. In a surprise to Dr. Zhang but not to readers of trashy thrillers, Supreme Harmony has an "I am alive" moment and develops a collective consciousness of its own, not unlike the Borg. And like all Computers Gone Bad, it decides it needs to destroy humanity to preserve itself.

Pierce lost his wife, son, and arm during an attack by "al Qaeda martyrs" in Nairobi, one of many overused plot devices upon which Mark Alpert relies. Now Pierce has a bunch of prosthetic arms. He can detach one and snap on a replacement in seconds. One incorporates a machine gun. Yes, a machine gun arm. That, at least, is good for a laugh, as is a
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By Steve on April 11, 2014
Format: Paperback
I am sorry; I love Michael Crichton-esque books, I love techno-thrillers, I love the Singularity notion - I should have loved this. BUT, it's a great illustration of what happens when you get an author who knows his science inside out, but has a Hollywood Complex.

Extinction has a great premise and it should have worked beautifully; unfortunately it is ruined, for me, by this juvenile series of situations where the story protagonists CONSTANTLY cheat death at the last vital second; I mean, ALL the time, it just gets silly. It has very believably written technology, but is so let down by the YA tone and lack of believability (not the technology, the storyline), I couldn't finish it - I finally stopped when Pierce and Chan escape a major tidal wave that destroys cities by, wait for it, driving ahead of it in a 3-wheeled car UP a 50 metre flight of steps to get above the water line... Oh dear god, and it's FULL of crap like this. And of course, there's the compulsory, unnecessary, love interest. Give me a break.

Very disappointing.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Mark Alpert looks at the opposite of the ideas the late Martin Caidin created in Cyborg which became The Six Million Dollar Man And also at the modern view of artificial limbs. In the near future Jim Pierce builds replacement limbs for soldiers, limbs that are a bit better than the ones that came natural. He uses computer chips hooked to the brain to motivate them. Then his hacker, and estranged daughter, Layla, gets information from China. Chinese are willing to attack Jim in their attempt to find her. It seems that the Chinese have been experimenting with computer chips that turn human beings into modules of a computer and that computer plus hookups has become self-aware and wants the Extinction of humanity (hard from Thomas Donne books which I got from the library). After incorporating its maker and learning the techniques to create other modules, it starts growing turning leaders People’s republic into its modules. Soon Layla and her father are on the run, using every trick they can to not only survive, but also to stop this monster. This is an edge-of-the seat thriller, impossible to put down. Review printed in the Philadelphia Weekly Press
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Format: Hardcover
I just finished Extinction and found it to be a waste of time.. The science was good and Mr. Alpert had a great premise in the creation of the character "Supreme Harmony", but then he just waste it with cliche after cliche in the character of the defense contractor/former ranger/genius prosthetic creator father and his genius hacker/societal dropout/wanted felon daughter. The father seems to be able to kick more butt than Arnold did in the original "Commando" movie and his daugher has more narrow escapes from death and implants than Jamie Lee Curtis had in all her horror movies combined. This is just garbage. Mr. Alpert, you created a believable threatening presences in the character of Supreme Harmony, and then you have it defeated by two cliches. It was a waste of time reading your book.
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Format: Paperback
There are a lot of good scientific ideas in this book, hence the 3 stars. Unfortunately the plot has gaps. Some descriptions also rubbed me the wrong way, like the "input side of usb cable"...what? There was also a lot of unnecessary cursing.

I listened to the audiobook. The reader was good with male voices, but atrocious when it came to female voices. He sounded like a choking grandpa. Not appealing.
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