|Acts of the Apostles|
|author||John F. Sundman|
|summary||Fast-paced, impossible-odds story with a grasp of modern technology.|
Rob noticed this guy at April's Geek Pride Festival in Boston. The guy in question was obviously trying to reach Rob and talk to him, but was having a hard time getting there. (CT:I think John and I suffer from the same problem: We're both pretty shy, and this was a really crowded place) When he did finally reach Rob, he gave him the book, asking him to read it -- or pass it on to me for reading.
That's very similar to the opening of the book, in which the book's protagonist has a computer disk dumped into his world, after enduring some interesting testing times. From there, the thriller develops ranging the world, encompassing favorites like nanotechnology gone bad, mind control, multinational corporate intrigue, computer chip design, seances, and running from the law.
The book is purportedly about Gulf War Syndrome and its causes, but that's only the starting point: The plot itself is believable, for a thriller. I've described it to friends as "What Tom Clancy would write if he were smart." The plot devices, the characters and topics are all very familiar to the geek audience, and it's quite refreshing to read a book that understands the mindset its audience will have.
There a few drawbacks to the book -- as the author's bio states, this is Sundman's first book, and that is readily apparent. While it's well written, there are sections of the book that feel stilted and artificial, and portions of the dialogue feel unnatural. But in light of it being a first novel, I think these are forgivable. Lastly, the story line suffers from some too-familar devices, including the overused theme of an evil multinational corporation as bogeyman.
I salute the publisher and author for their decision to put the first 13 chapters online. Acts of the Apostles comprises 7 "books" with 62 total chapters, so the online chapters give you a very good feeling for the book. I will also say that the writing and story get better as the plot unfolds, something worth keeping in mind while reading the initial section of the book. One of the more amusing parts of the book's Web site is the section regarding John's travels. I would imagine he's quite a guy.
Summary: Good book. It's easy to pick up after being away from for a while, but good enough that you'll want to read it straight through. Support small publishing and purchase this book from fatbrain. With summer coming up, and a bit more free time, this is a good book to keep around to read during kernel compiles.
You can also grab the book from Softpro.