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A chilling contemporary thriller from Robert Harris set in the competitive world of high finance
Robert Harris is the author of Fatherland, Enigma, Archangel, Pompeii, Imperium, The Ghost and Lustrum, all of which were international bestsellers. His work has been translated into thirty-seven languages. After graduating with a degree in English from Cambridge University, he worked as a reporter for the BBC's Panorama and Newsnight programmes, before becoming political editor of the Observer and subsequently a columnist on the Sunday Times and the Daily Telegraph. He is married to Gill Hornby and they live with their four children in a village near Hungerford.
In this smart but uneven thriller on technology run amok from bestseller Harris (The Ghost Writer), Dr. Alex Hoffmann, an American scientific refugee from the abandoned Texas supercollider who lands on his feet at CERN in Geneva, eventually goes on to found one of the world's most successful hedge funds. Hoffmann's secret VIXAL-4, an artificial intelligence project that forecasts financial market movements, appears to have a mind of its own, which is more than can be said for its creator. Unbeknownst even to his English avant-garde artist wife, Hoffmann has shown signs of serious mental problems in the past. Could a series of strange occurrences in the present be random, the work of a mole in Hoffman's company, or part of his unconscious pattern of self-destruction? Pure science enjoys an uneasy existence with large profit making at the expense of downward-market spirals. Despite some less than engaging characters and a story that sags a bit, this novel's philosophical underpinnings will keep most readers engrossed. 200,000 first printing; 5-city author tour. Agent: Michael Carlisle. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Dr. Alex Hoffman, one of the world's most brilliant mathematicians, has created an algorithmic program that permits his Geneva-based hedge fund company to make obscene profits. In the course of a single day, his empire comes under attack from an unseen source that bypasses the highly secure program and slowly drives Hoffman insane. He is brutally attacked in his own home, but the Swiss police officer investigating the crime begins having suspicions about the victim's claims. No matter what actions Hoffman takes, the assailant always is one step ahead. Harris has created a financial world far beyond what most readers will understand, but the tension and suspense are just as powerful as the often-confusing stock market jargon. VERDICT British reader Christian Rodska does a great job presenting the slow disintegration of Hoffman's seemingly untouchable life, and readers won't be disappointed in the breathtaking sequence of events that culminates in a startling climax. Highly recommended for all public libraries. ["Get ready to enjoy a brilliant integration of fascinating research, compelling themes, and vivid characterization," read the review of the New York Times best-selling Knopf hc, LJ 1/12; the Arrow: Random mass-market pb will publish in June 2012.-Ed.]-Joseph L. Carlson, Vandenberg Air Force Base Lib., Lompoc, CA (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
"A nail-biting listen - the financial world has never seemed so thrilling - beautifully read by Phillip Franks" -- Kati Nicholl * Daily Express * "There is a cool edge to Franks' voice as he tracks Alex's surging paranoia to a blockbuster climax" * Daily Telegraph *