Return to the future of Archform: Beauty. In the twenty-fourth century, Earth is vastly changed. Ecological and biological catastrophe have raged across the planet, but for the survivors, it is a world of plenty. Even the poorest live in abundance, and the upper class -- the ascendant -- command technological marvels.
Ten years ago, Jonat deVrai was a rising star in the Marines. But he shocked his superiors by walking away from the Corps after witnessing atrocity and hypocrisy during the Reclamation of Guyana. Starting his life over, he established himself as the world's expert on the effectiveness of "prod"-- product placement, the only advertising which viewers will allow through the sophisticated filters they all use against unwanted intrusions on their electronic link networks. Prod, reinforced with sublims and the "res" -- resonant frequencies, a form of sonic branding -- is the wave of the future.
Jonat now advises multinational corporations on their prod campaigns, his busy life only occasionally disturbed by vivid flashbacks to his military years. Then his comfortable world is upset when the Centre for Societal Research approaches him to study the effects of res and prod on political campaigns.
After a res-heavy political rally for Laborite Republican Senatorial candidate Juan Carlismo, armed thugs jump deVrai in a parking garage. A day later, a sniper ambushes him. What looked like a safe, lucrative contract has suddenly turned dangerous. The stakes raise further when deVrai foils a remote-controlled cydroid assassination attempt on a Popular Democrat candidate. Cydroids built from deVrai's stolen DNA are turning up dead throughout NorAm.
Suspicion and conspiracy race around Jonat. Who wants him dead? Candidate Juan Carlismo's use of prod is skirting the limits of legality. The Centre has its own obscure agenda and may want deVrai as a martyr. The terrorist group PAMD is targeting ascendents in deVrai's family. And one of his clients is known for holding legendary grudges - could he have gone over the edge?
With his life on the line, deVrai must sort flash from fact before it's too late.
Flash is a blend of all-out thriller and thoughtful social, political, and technological exploration that that gets into your mind in a way even res and prod could never match.
"A marvelous thriller that plausibly extrapolates from current possibilities in IT, AI, media, and crime, it also constitutes the way for newcomers to get acquainted with Modesitt--at his best."--Booklist
Other Series by L.E. Modesitt, Jr.
The Saga of Recluce
The Imager Portfolio
The Corean Chronicles
The Spellsong Cycle
The Ghost Books
The Ecolitan Matter
The Forever Hero
The Green Progression
Hammer of Darkness
The Parafaith War
The Octagonal Raven
The Ethos Effect
The Eternity Artifact
The Elysium Commission
Empress of Eternity
The One-Eyed Man
At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.
Down the mean streets of a future Denver a man must go, in this Chandleresque tale of corporate and political scheming and murder. Fantasy bestseller Modesitt (the Spellsong Cycle) returns to his SF setting of a federated post-U.S. North America ("the Commonocracy") run by large companies ("multilaterals") as much as by governments. Jonat deVrai, ex-Marine colonel, tries to navigate among the corporate clients who seek his product placement ad analyses. When the Centre for Societal Research asks for a similar report on a political campaign, deVrai becomes part of an elaborate plot to further corporate controls over the indentured Martian colonies. Having quit the Marines to stop being used as company muscle, deVrai turns the tables on the executives who try to exploit him, with the help of a law-enforcement AI, Central Four, and "her" humanoid clone bodies, known as cydroids. DeVrai's campaign, as befits a noir hero, has personal costs, leaving him to care for his orphaned niece and nephew. It also comes with benefits, as Central Four's principal cydroid, Paula Athene, grows to self-awareness, independence and romantic attraction. Modesitt strives for emotional rather than intellectual satisfaction. His future has much eye-pleasing chrome, but it lacks infrastructure, making the book seem more contemporary techno-thriller than SF (parents queuing up in hydrogen-powered cars to pick up their kids after school).