J. r. ,. L. E. Modesitt

Book 2.0 of Archform: Beauty

Language: English

Publisher: TOR

Published: Sep 1, 2004

Words: 149274
Pages: 592


Modesitt returns to the twenty-fourth century future of *Archform: Beauty*, for a new story. Ten years ago, Jonat deVrai was a rising star in the Marines. But he shocked his superiors by walking away from the Corps after witnessing atrocity and hypocrisy. Starting his life over, he established himself as the world's expert on the effectiveness of "prod"-- product placement, the only advertising which viewers will allow through the sophisticated filters they all use against unwanted intrusions on their electronic link networks. Prod, reinforced with sublims and the "res"-- resonant frequencies, a form of sonic branding -- is the wave of the future. Then Jonat's comfortable world is upset when the Centre for Societal Research approaches him to study the effects of res and prod on political campaigns. After a res-heavy political rally for Laborite Republican Senatorial candidate Juan Carlismo, armed thugs jump deVrai in a parking garage. A day later, a sniper ambushes him. What looked like a safe, lucrative contract has suddenly turned dangerous. With his life on the line, deVrai must sort flash from fact before it's too late. Flash *is a riveting blend of all-out thriller and thoughtful social, political, and technological exploration as only Modesitt could write it. From Publishers Weekly Down the mean streets of a future Denver a man must go, in this Chandleresque tale of corporate and political scheming and murder. Fantasy bestseller Modesitt (the Spellsong Cycle) returns to his SF setting of a federated post-U.S. North America ("the Commonocracy") run by large companies ("multilaterals") as much as by governments. Jonat deVrai, ex-Marine colonel, tries to navigate among the corporate clients who seek his product placement ad analyses. When the Centre for Societal Research asks for a similar report on a political campaign, deVrai becomes part of an elaborate plot to further corporate controls over the indentured Martian colonies. Having quit the Marines to stop being used as company muscle, deVrai turns the tables on the executives who try to exploit him, with the help of a law-enforcement AI, Central Four, and "her" humanoid clone bodies, known as cydroids. DeVrai's campaign, as befits a noir hero, has personal costs, leaving him to care for his orphaned niece and nephew. It also comes with benefits, as Central Four's principal cydroid, Paula Athene, grows to self-awareness, independence and romantic attraction. Modesitt strives for emotional rather than intellectual satisfaction. His future has much eye-pleasing chrome, but it lacks infrastructure, making the book seem more contemporary techno-thriller than SF (parents queuing up in hydrogen-powered cars to pick up their kids after school). Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. From Booklist Former marine Jonat deVrai has established a new career as a product placement consultant. Product placement is the predominant means of advertising in the twenty-fourth century, and it requires getting past the filters on individuals' personal network links. Hired to study the effects of prod on political campaigns, he suddenly discovers he has put his life on the line. In a world in which simulation is a high art form, deVrai must sort out facts and factions before he is killed. The process leads to nonstop action, which, however, never sidelines good world-building and characterization. Indeed, *Flash* shows Modesitt deviating quite notably from his propensity for producing books of high intelligence that frequently drag. A marvelous thriller that plausibly extrapolates from current possibilities in IT, AI, media, and crime, it also constitutes *the *way for newcomers to get acquainted with Modesitt--at his best. *Frieda Murray* Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved