An exhilarating thrill-ride through the underbelly of cyber espionage in the vein of David Ignatius’s The Director and the television series Leverage, CSI: Cyber, and Person of Interest, which follows five iconoclastic hackers who are coerced into serving the U.S. government.
An Anonymous-style rabble rouser, an Arab spring hactivist, a black-hat hacker, an old-school cipherpunk, and an online troll are each offered a choice: go to prison or help protect the United States, putting their brains and skills to work for the government for one year.
But being a white-hat doesn’t always mean you work for the good guys. The would-be cyberspies discover that behind the scenes lurks a sinister NSA program, an artificial intelligence code-named Typhon, that has origins and an evolution both dangerous and disturbing. And if it’s not brought down, will soon be uncontrollable.
Can the hackers escape their federal watchers and confront Typhon and its mysterious creator? And what does the government really want them to do? If they decide to turn the tables, will their own secrets be exposed—and their lives erased like lines of bad code?
Combining the scientific-based, propulsive narrative style of Michael Crichton with the eerie atmosphere and conspiracy themes of The X-Files and the imaginative, speculative edge of Neal Stephenson and William Gibson, Zer0es explores our deep-seated fears about government surveillance and hacking in an inventive fast-paced novel sure to earn Chuck Wendig the widespread acclaim he deserves.
Wendig (Blackbirds) piles on the thrills and chills in this fast-paced near-future novel about human frailty and inhuman ambition. Five American hackers grabbed by the Feds are given a choice: a jail sentence, or a job working on a secret NSA program run by the mysterious Typhon. The diverse hackers a morally indifferent thrill seeker, an activist hacking for the Arab Spring, a teen vigilante, a multitalented smart-ass who steals in order to escape the streets, and an aging conspiracy theorist are united only by their lack of trust in one another and the government. Their suspicions about the government's motives increase when their individual missions, breaking into the computers of different companies, start to feel connected. Now the hackers need to figure out Typhon's true identity and motivation, preferably before Typhon is done using them. While the major revelations are easy to see coming, Wendig wields the tools of suspense and tension with skill. His large cast of characters is entertaining, the moments of horror are sharp and chilling, and the story races to a breathless conclusion. This is a promising opening to a new series for SF thriller fans.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Headlong thrilling ride
I enjoyed this book quite a bit. Wendig has a way of zipping the narrative along that just keeps you reading. I particularly liked how some chapters were very short because they gave you a glimpse into what was happing "off camera," so to speak. Just the right amount of information so the next part of the "main action" made sense and then right back into it. I also really liked that the protagonist team all had good, internal motivations and each represented a different kind of "hacker." I didn't buy all of the capabilities of the antagonist in the story, but they hung together reasonably well and the pacing was so driving that you just kind of go with it and enjoy the ride.
The ending made no sense.
This book was fantastic all the way until the last three or so chapter which were confusing and rushed.
Starts out great turned out bad
The story started out very well and accurate to real world stuff then turned into weird terminator scifi. Very poor one.