In this thriller set loosely in contemporary Bolivia, cyberpunks become virtual terrorists as they try and incent revolution against a democratically-elected former dictator.
Set against the backdrop of the globalization crisis, Edmundo Paz Soldáns latest novel is a modern chapter in the age-old fight between oppressed and oppressor.
The town of Río Fugitivo is on the verge of a social revolutionnot a revolution of strikes and street riots but a war waged electronically, where computer viruses are the weapons and hackers the revolutionaries.
In this war of information, the lives of a variety of characters become entangled: Kandinsky, the mythic leader of a group of hackers fighting the government and transnational companies; Albert, the founder of Black Chamber, a state security firm charged with deciphering the secret codes used in the information war; and Miguel Sáenz, Black Chambers most famous codebreaker, who begins to suspect that his work is not as innocent as he once supposed. All converge to create an edgy, fast-paced story about personal responsibility and complicity in a world defined by the ever-increasing gulfs between the global and the local, government and society, the virtual and the real.
As soon as you turn your back on the uncertain sunrise and enter your office
building, you cease to be Miguel Sáenz, the civil servant discernible behind
the wrinkled gray suit, round, wire-rimmed glasses, and fearful gaze, and
become Turing, decipherer of secrets, relentless pursuer of encoded
messages, the pride of the Black Chamber.
You insert your electronic ID card into a slot. You are prompted for your password and type ruth1. The metal door opens and the world you unknowingly dreamed of as a child awaits you. Slowly, with measured steps, you enter a vaulted glass enclosure. Two policemen greet you formally. They see the color of your card green, meaning Beyond Top Secret without looking at it. It was all so much easier during Alberts time, when there were only two colors, yellow (Secret) and green. Then that smug Ramírez-Graham arrived (you had once called him Mr. Ramírez and he ...
The first few chapters are a little slow because the novel is told from the perspective of seven different characters in three different persons - first, third, and the slightly awkward second - which takes a bit of getting to grips with, but once the groundwork is laid the plot moves at a fair clip, offering many reasons to keep reading,
not least of which is the opportunity to experience a different side of Bolivia from what most of us imagine - suffice to say, it ain't all ponchos and alpaca!
(Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).
Full Review (510 words).
The Republic of Bolivia, is a mountainous landlocked country that boasts the highest capital city in the world at 4km above sea level. It is bordered by Brazil, Peru, Chile, Argentina and Paraguay. It's population of about 9 million people enjoy three official languages - Spanish, Quechua and Aymara. It's per capita ...
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Blood at the Root
"A gripping, timely, and important examination of American racism."
- PW Starred Review
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