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ECHELON by Josh Conviser

ECHELON

By Josh Conviser

Pub Date: July 18th, 2006
ISBN: 0-345-48502-5
Publisher: Del Rey/Ballantine

Near-future struggle for control of the world—a honeypot for the hi-tech conspiracy-theory crowd.

Developed after WWII by the NSA, the vast, ubiquitous surveillance system known as Echelon now controls the world by preventing wars, diverting scientific development and channeling the spread of technology. Once-dead agent Ryan Laing, resurrected by means of “drones” (nanomachines) injected into his body, now shares a secret means of communication with his controller, Sarah Peters. After an attempt to assassinate Sarah narrowly fails—thwarted by Christopher Turing, Echelon’s chief—Ryan uncovers evidence of a huge plot against the Echelon organization, apparently fronted by—Turing himself! Security chief Jason Sachs, meanwhile, tries to enlist Ryan and grabs Turing—who retaliates by initiating a lockout of Echelon’s core codes, preventing Echelon’s surveillance and control systems from functioning. As Sachs tries to torture the codes out of Turing, and the uncontrolled world slips back into chaos and violence, Ryan, trusting Sachs not at all, joins with Sarah to find out who’s really doing what to whom, and learn where Echelon’s highly advanced, too-perfect-seeming control codes originated.

Packing a punch—though marred by avague backdrop, disorganized structure, explanations that break up action sequences, strained prose—Conviser’s debut makes deft use of technological issues and developments. A sequel is promised.