Cyber-spacey thriller about good-guy hackers vs. bad-guy hackers, the fate of the planet hanging on every click.
In India, Danielle Leaf, a young American on the loose—a phrase that up to now has more or less defined her character—is tasked with a minor mission by Kieran Kell, an old boyfriend. She’s to make contact with a certain Jayalitha and deliver a lost passport. Before that can happen, however, Danielle’s captured by thugs purporting to be cops who see in her a target of nefarious opportunity. A bag of cannabis is strategically planted, whereupon the thug leader intones, “You are in very great trouble, Danielle Leaf.” Shaking to match her surname, she needs little convincing. Enter Lancelot-like Laurent, ex of the French Foreign Legion (think Rambo in touch with his feminine side) to share her captivity and to help her experience an epiphany. It’s from him that she learns of Kishkinda, a multinational corporation callously spreading distress and disease as byproducts of an all-out drive for profit; and Justice International, an organization dedicated to the thwarting of Kishkinda and its ilk. Laurent plucks Danielle from her difficulties, and together they flee the country, wending their way to Paris where they consummate their love. And where, joined by Kieran—self-proclaimed and widely acknowledged as one of the world’s ten best hackers—they join like-minded friends in the fight “to make a better world.” But as their struggle intensifies—and as Kieran finds himself pitted against a technical mind quite as redoubtable as his—it becomes painfully evident that far too many things are not as advertised. Not Kishkinda, not Justice International, and, alas, not Laurent.
Evans (The Blood Price, 2005, etc.) is clearly at home among the exuberant, idiosyncratic Cyberniks, and—occasional dollops of melodrama aside—he makes their world fresh and entertaining.