A spunky computer hacker throws herself against a conspiracy of governments and a ruthless Russian oil billionairess, all of whom want to swat her like a fly.
It’s the not-nearly-distant-enough future. The Great Powers have gotten together to push a peace plan that will control the world’s energy resources at the price of everyone’s civil liberty. Not that there is much liberty left. Technology has made it possible for governments to keep minutely close watch on anyone and everyone in the interest of security in a world plagued by terrorism. Kat Polinski, the orphaned and wayward daughter of an idealistic diplomat father and his faithless wife, has gotten sucked into a role as a computer hacker for what she hopes is the good side. But it’s difficult to tell which side anyone is on when she breaks into the Kazakh embassy to find that an assassin has executed everyone in the building and may still be there, looking for the same bit of computer memory Kat was supposed to find. Kat shoots her way out, but the Kazakh caper is only the beginning of a mad chase that takes her to England, where her older sister Suzy just fell to a silenced bullet at a concert in the fens. Kat discovers that Suzy had been working incognito with the outnumbered libertarians seeking to put a stop to the international peace and energy pact. Before she died, Suzy uncovered evidence that the pact is a sham. The supposed energy shortage is a fake. Kat’s nemesis in the search for truth is Yulya Grachev, ruthless and sadistic heiress to Russian oil billions and a woman with mysterious connections to Kat and her family. Kat’s only totally trustworthy allies in dangerous England are a rough-edged brother and a sister who worked with Suzy and are ready to die to stop the treaty.
Hawksley’s latest (Ceremony of Innocence, 1999, etc.) is frenetic and dark, but a fair amount of fun.