Breakpoint [NOOK Book]

Overview

IT BEGINS A DECADE AFTER 9/11...

Ten bombs explode over five states obliterating the Global Village-an intricate network of technology that binds the world's economies, governments, computers, communications satellites, and defenses. As agent Susan Connor, NYPD detective Jimmy Foley, and an expert hacker race against time, the strands holding civilization together begin to fray.
...
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Breakpoint

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Overview

IT BEGINS A DECADE AFTER 9/11...

Ten bombs explode over five states obliterating the Global Village-an intricate network of technology that binds the world's economies, governments, computers, communications satellites, and defenses. As agent Susan Connor, NYPD detective Jimmy Foley, and an expert hacker race against time, the strands holding civilization together begin to fray.
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Yes, that Richard A. Clarke: the former counterterrorism chief who wrote Against All Enemies: Inside America's War on Terror. His second novel, Breakpoint, is even better than The Scorpion's Gate, his debut fiction effort. Set in 2012, this futuristic technothriller pits a clandestine trio of U.S. government investigators against an elusive crew of cyberspace terrorists. As in his previous novel, Clarke peppers the action with realistic modules of cutting-edge expertise. An escapist read with real-world relevance.
William Stevenson
The skeptical reader will be seduced by the action. Clarke whizzes from aerial laser-gun dogfights between China and Taiwan to the Bahamas, where Susan tries to rescue the extra-chromosome children of wealthy clients at a baby clinic with a secret agenda. Drawing upon stacks of current scientific research, all carefully sourced, Clarke dangles the carrot of speculation about the enemy's identity until the very end. In a final author's note, he reviews current technologies that could be used for good or for ill. As he sees it, "sometimes you can tell more truth through fiction," which may lead the reader to the uneasy conclusion that the real enemy is us.
— The Washington Post
Vanity Fair
Yikes! Richard A. Clarke's nail-biter suspense novel (Putnam) irrefutably proves that there is nothing like being America's pre-eminent counterterrorism expert to goose up your book with real terror.
Publishers Weekly
Veteran counterterrorism official Clarke, author of Against All Enemies: Inside America's War on Terror and the novel The Scorpion's Gate, proves once again that authenticity, insider information and top-secret access artfully applied trumps fancy writing with this cutting-edge, nail-biter techno-thriller set in 2012. Clarke's intriguing plot centers on the development of Living Software, a massive computer program designed to travel throughout the Internet correcting computer errors and creating software without any help or oversight from human beings. Volunteers would be connected to this program in a project aimed at reverse engineering the human brain. Added to this fascinating mix is the Transhumanist movement, whose labs grow designer children with extra chromosomes. Mysterious entities who would deny this progress are blowing up government Internet connections, killing scientists and destroying the labs participating in this research. Savvy readers will ignore the evidence that points to the obvious suspect, but still be surprised at the identity of the perpetrator when all is revealed. (Jan.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Publishers Weekly

In a techno-thriller as timely as today's exploding Internet, counterterrorism expert Clarke and veteran actor Dean team up for an exciting and truly frightening audio experience. There are no artful metaphors or other writer's flourishes in this story—just a major download of insider info, which obviously comes from the author's impressive sources. Set in 2012, Breakpointtells about a computer program called Living Software, designed to surge across the Internet, invent new software and clean up past mistakes on its own, without any human help. There's also a group called the Transhumanist Movement, where children with extraordinary new chromosomes are being grown. But somebody (the Russians? A business rival of the Movement's sponsor?) is blowing up Internet connections, destroying labs and killing scientists in an apparent attempt to derail the project. Dean guides listeners calmly and logically through this murky tangle, finally reaching an ending that will surprise and enlighten as well as scare their socks off. Simultaneous release with the Putnam hardcover (Reviews, Oct. 9). (Jan.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Library Journal
Controversial former national security advisor Clarke has written an intriguing but flawed second novel (after The Scorpion's Gate) with a very timely premise that focuses on the vulnerability of the global computer networks on which we all depend for our information, our security, and, in many cases, our livelihoods. When attacks on our computer systems threaten the security of the United States, massive efforts are launched to find the enemy. Is it a foreign power? Terrorists? Or people opposed to the perceived godlessness of computer technology? Sadly, an exciting plot idea descends into a morass of computer tech-speak and mumbo-jumbo that bogs down the story and results in a confusing and overly complex tale. Moreover, the major characters are poorly developed. The result is a thriller that isn't very thrilling. For larger collections. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 9/1/06.]-Robert Conroy, Warren, MI Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Former presidential adviser and terrorist specialist Clarke (The Scorpion's Gate, 2005, etc.) offers a lights-and-sirens futuristic techno-fantasy. Massive simultaneous beachhead and underwater explosions on Sunday, March 8, years in the future, cripple American telecommunications systems (including satellites), effectively reducing the overseas armed forces' ability to carry potential wartime missions. The Pentagon and Homeland Security take up the alarm, dispatching two seemingly mismatched professionals to get to the bottom of this obvious terrorist strike. Jimmy Foley, an NYPD detective newly arrived in Washington, on loan to the Intelligence Analysis Center, and Susan Connor, head of IAC's Special Projects unit, are assigned to investigate what the government believes is China's retaliation for America's support of Taiwan's independence. The duo's mission is to find out who organized the bombings of key technological systems and what they plan to strike next. The novel's intricate narrative introduces a dizzying array of programs designed to trace international telecommunications, culminating in the supposedly flawless uber-program Living Software, which would put all hackers out of business. Foley and Connor infiltrate pods of Harvard academics and Silicon Valley computer evangelists, entering a brave new world of genomics and reverse-engineering of the brain that "runs a risk of blurring what it means to be human," Susan observes. All of this points to a creepy movement called Transhumanism, which advocates the improvement of humanity through genetic engineering. (It's a real movement that holds regular meetings, states the Author's Note.) Clarke has certainly done his homework,tossing off asides on the organic evolution of technological trends from robotics and nanotechnology. Some may be confounded by this international cyber-maze, which reads more like a textbook than a novel.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781101206478
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 1/16/2007
  • Sold by: Penguin Group
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 176,929
  • File size: 520 KB

Meet the Author

Richard A. Clarke began his federal service in 1973 in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. In the Reagan administration, he was the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence. In the first Bush administration, he was first the Assistant Secretary of State for Politico-Military Affairs and then a member of the National Security Council staff. He served for eight years as a special assistant to President Clinton and National Coordinator for Security and Counterterrorism for both Presidents Clinton and George W. Bush. From 2001 to 2003, Clarke was the Special Adviser to the President for Cyberspace Security and chairman of the President's Critical Infrastructure Protection Board. He is now chairman of Good Harbor Consulting.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3
( 11 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 12 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 28, 2007

    A jargon-y mess

    The plot is weak. The writing is uninteresting and garbled. The characters are superficial and dull. The events are improbably linked. The language is filled with military and computer jargon and initials meaningless to those of us not 'inside' the government. The 'future' has made some unlikely leaps in five yeears and the 'issues' he attempts to raise are muddy and muddled. I finished reading the damn thing because I paid for a hardcover but it never got clearer or better. I have no idea what the magazine and newspaper editors and reviewers saw, but this is a must-miss.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 29, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Broken Point

    With the greatest respect for the author personal knowledge and skill, I have to say that this book is barely readable. The writing is so bad and the plot so scattered that I would rather listen to Al Gore speak for ten hours. The book is about the loss of technology to bad guys, but, in this case, even a supercomputer could not make this book likeable. Try harder, Richard. Plots can be woven.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 21, 2009

    What a staggering scenario!

    I can always count on Richard A. Clarke to write a compelling book. Breakpoint was no exception; it kept me eagerly turning pages. At first thought, the plot points seemed too "far out", but the more I read, the more I realized that, hey, some of this could actually happen. People with this much computer savvy do exist. People with this much hatred for mankind do exist. All we can do is hope the former are smarter than the latter.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2009

    awful

    The topic for the novel was interesting, but it was written like a bad made for tv movie. The author's notes at the end of the novel was the only positive for this reader.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 26, 2008

    Oh hum

    Too much detail loses the reader this book would only be interesting to those in the 'spybiz.' Most of us who like spy thrillers would prefer a single plot Clarke takes the reader through gopher holes faster than a prairie dog in West Texas.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 14, 2008

    Inside the spook community

    Mr. Clarke is the best. He was inside the spook community so he knows what he was talking about. Great book. If you like Clancy, you will like Clarke more because he had this hands-on experience. Excellent writer.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 12, 2007

    Fast-paced and disturbing

    Breakpoint is another warning about the high voltage danger to our communication networks illustrated in my novel PeaceMaker. Both novels, set in 2012, warn of the vulnerabilities of our computer-linked societies. Disrupt these networks and society crumbles. The equation is simple: Technology + Terrorism = Destruction. The strength of Breakpoint is Richard Clarke¿s insider knowledge of the federal government¿s alphabet agencies. As a high-level pro in the Clinton and both Bush administrations, he understands how things work (or don¿t, as the case may be). Clarke also has a generally good handle on advanced technologies, although the idea of Living Software --- an intelligent operating system that can construct defect-free code to solve any problem --- is unrealistic. If you are looking for well-rounded characters that strike a chord, Breakpoint is not for you. But if you¿re interested in an exciting techno-thriller with a dramatic portrayal of our high-tech society¿s increasing vulnerability to terrorism, strap this one on.

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    Posted May 17, 2009

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    Posted March 12, 2012

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    Posted December 17, 2010

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    Posted March 15, 2009

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    Posted July 14, 2009

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