In this techno-thriller, a group of college students discovers a portal to a virtual world created by a secretive technology company—and a plot to use this world for evil.
Josh Amandil is about to start his sophomore year at Virginia Tech studying computer science. He has just moved into a new apartment with his friend Larry and Larry’s girlfriend, Sylvia. The new arrangement upsets Josh’s childhood best friend, Kyle, a genius with social anxiety issues. A strange man representing Spyrius Technology, a cutting-edge tech company, interrupts the unpacking. He offers the trio $10,000 to take a different apartment. Suspicious, Josh refuses the offer, and sure enough, while investigating the place, the group discovers a strange projectorlike device hidden in a safe. It produces what at first appears to be just a rectangular purple hologram but is actually a portal into a whole new world, built line for line out of code by Spyrius as a top-secret project. While exploring this new world, dubbed Oz, Josh and his friends discover that the head of security for the project plans to sell the technology to the highest bidder and eliminate anyone who gets in his way—including idealistic Spyrius founder Sebastian Danbridge. Josh, Kyle, and company must warn Sebastian and stop the tech from being sold to potential terrorists before it’s too late. Debut author Connor has decades of experience in IT, and it shows in his tech-savvy, jargon-smattered writing. Those without a programming background might find some of the story confusing, as it occasionally delves a little too deep into technical logistics, but Josh’s otherwise straightforward narration and some action-packed set pieces help keep even the least tech-friendly readers engaged. Josh and Kyle’s friendship and the strain it is under as the two of them start to grow up and potentially apart will ring true for many a reader; their relationship gives the story heart.
A fun, fast-paced read that is just as much about friendship as it is about futuristic technology.