Strongly styled SF debut with big echoes of The Matrix Trilogy and the Philip K. Dick flicks Blade Runner and Minority Report.
Dr. Alden Cray (wry and smirking from his Bruce Willis implant?) is a security agent in Corporate Special Services (CSS), which headquarters itself in a 450-story building in the massive cityplex of Kuala Lumpur. He works for very intelligent Phao Yin, head of CSS, the security branch of the Collective. We meet Cray chasing the amazingly dynamic information-smuggler Zoe through Singapore’s suborbital transport center. When Zoe is killed, her flesh shrinks to the skin. Her bloodstream is full of flash, a cellular information drug found in the life force’s information centers and also alive and expanding as free-floating information, replicating and expanding until it has entered the very matrix of creation and perhaps is now taking over. The Collective thinks that flash can be a useful drug, properly handled. But was it created by Inru, the anti-technology terrorists out to sink the Collective by turning information against itself and against the evil rulers of commerce? Or did Heretic, a splinter group, create it? In his cloaked past before turning spook for CSS, Cray was Vortex, the planet’s top hammerjack, illegally breaking down code. Now called to Vienna’s rebuilt Oldtown by the Assembly, which is housed in floors fathomlessly deep under the Vienna Opera House, Cray meets humorless free agent Avalon, who was blinded and nearly died from a virus on the moon and now wears a superhuman black sensuit to see with (the Carrie-Anne Moss role). And now rival synthetically intelligent computers arise, Lyssa versus Inru’s bionucleic technology. As he and Avalon head for New York and he trolls the Axis for leads, Cray is invited by Heretic to subvert the Collective and join the Ascension. But then New York’s bionucleic Works lab is sabotaged and the Collective’s lonely Lyssa computer personally calls for Cray to help her search for The Other.
Really cleans up your neural-imaging system with radiant tensile energy.