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Unholy Domain Hardcover – April 1, 2008
From Publishers Weekly
Set in the year 2022, Ronco's techno-thriller continues the premise established in his first book, PeaceMaker. In 2012, the PeaceMaker virus, supposedly designed by madman software expert Ray Brown, shut down the Internet, resulting in worldwide devastation. Since this cataclysm, the government has curtailed new technology. Those who would see the government limitations overturned are known as Technos; opposing them is a group of dangerous religious extremists, the Church of Natural Humans. Several events have brought these two warring factions head-to-head: the creators of illegal technology, the Domain, has decided to take over the government, and Ray Brown's son, David, has undertaken an investigation in an attempt to clear his father's name. The basic idea is interesting, but there's something more than a little of the adolescent about the entire enterprise, from the constant sexual references regarding every female character ("She wore skin-tight jeans, which showed off her tight, round butt as she walked past") to such lines as: "She enjoyed a drag of her cigarette, which felt robust and full." This is the second volume in a proposed trilogy.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
In 2012 a computer virus called PeaceMaker rips through the Internet, plunging the world into an economic depression. The already nasty division between technophiles and technophobes turns violent, and a decade later, the two factions are at war. On one side, the radical Church of Natural Humans is dedicated to destroying technology that threatens to replace human beings; on the other, the Domain sees technology as the world’s salvation (and its own path to world domination). Stuck in the middle is university-student David Brown, son of the man accused of unleashing PeaceMaker on the world. The novel wants to be a gripping, near-future technothriller about young David’s crusade to prove his father’s innocence, but it only partially succeeds. The premise is thought-provoking, but the execution is a little sloppy; for example, a Church watcher, at one point, wears a gas mask to avoid being spotted by a Domain probe able to detect human respiration. But wouldn’t cutting-edge technovillains design their probes to search for temperature variation, movement, and other signs that someone’s lurking around? Such gaffes aside, this is a solid futuristic thriller. --David Pitt
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It's 2012 -
A year of great scientific progress
Except of course for the virus
Which cripples computers
ALL the computers
Killing more than a million people
Who couldn't get food,
It's 2022 -
A year of economic depression
Some believe that the answer
Lies in Artificial Intelligence
And spectacles that are
to give you the news
on the go
A year of the Church of Natural Humans
Who believe that technology
Is the tool of Lucifer
And are prepared
Who dares to support
As they have no right
To play GOD
In between, there's David Brown, son of the man who has been vilified for creating the virus, but after receiving a delayed transmission e-mail from his late father, David now thinks otherwise.
David has a unique talent when it comes to AI, and once he sets his mind to proving his father's innocence, he stirs up the vipers on both sides, and the result is an action-packed, page-turning read.
The dialogue doesn't always flow smoothly and the female characters are sometimes (ahem) overly developed, but these are minor hiccups in an otherwise well crafted story that may yet prove to be prophetic.
Amanda Richards, June 7, 2008
For instance, the Luddites among us might very well join a church for `natural' humans only. In "Unholy Domain," the church supports a secret terrorist force called the "Army of God." (Isn't `Army of God' an oxymoron? It should be). This technophobic cult is led by a man who might remind readers of polygamous jailbird, Warren Jeffs. The First Minister has his pick of the Church of Natural Humans' nubile females, and he also enjoys nailing his Techno opponents to crosses.
This future-thriller reminds me of "The da Vinci Code" in its breakneck pace, and the numerous violent confrontations between its college-student hero and the baddies who destroyed his father (and a million other innocent victims). Be careful to keep close track of the characters, because there are three different groups of villains, not counting the Federal Government. The religious cultists are easy identify, because they are always fondling their amulets. However, there are two groups of Technos--the scientists and engineers who actually create new technology, and the mafia `families' that distribute products such as robots on the blackmarket. They are a bit harder to keep separate, especially since their leaders are both females.
In fact, I'd like to compliment this author on his strong female characters, even though two of them are ninja-type goons. My only complaint is that the women are first and foremost described by the size of their mammaries. One of them is even nicknamed DoubleD, after her cup size. They're not bimbos. The author merely retains a 1950's descriptive vocabulary insofar as the female sex is concerned.
Review copy supplied by author
Most recent customer reviews
This techno-thriller starts a few years after the events in `Peacemaker' but works well as a stand alone novel.Read more