BN.com Gift Guide

Empyre

( 1 )

Overview

“Raw kinetic energy and blistering pace . . . a thriller for the new millennium.”
–James Rollins, author of Map of Bones and The Judas Strain

“Empyre is edgy, entertaining, and frightening. We can only hope the scary technology Conviser proposes is the purest fiction!”
–Kevin J. Anderson, co-author of Hunters of Dune

For decades, Echelon forced peace on the world. Freedom was a sham: Echelon wielded total, if secret, control. In the end, two bioengineered Echelon agents, Ryan ...

See more details below
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (19) from $1.99   
  • New (5) from $8.46   
  • Used (14) from $1.99   
Empyre

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$11.99
BN.com price

Overview

“Raw kinetic energy and blistering pace . . . a thriller for the new millennium.”
–James Rollins, author of Map of Bones and The Judas Strain

“Empyre is edgy, entertaining, and frightening. We can only hope the scary technology Conviser proposes is the purest fiction!”
–Kevin J. Anderson, co-author of Hunters of Dune

For decades, Echelon forced peace on the world. Freedom was a sham: Echelon wielded total, if secret, control. In the end, two bioengineered Echelon agents, Ryan Laing and Sarah Peters, brought the conspiracy down.

But there is no happily ever after for the liberators, or for humanity. With Echelon’s fall, a power vacuum is opened–and all hell breaks loose.

Now an outsider in the world he created, Ryan retreats into the wastelands of Antarctica and a life of isolation. But when Sarah is blamed for a series of terrorist attacks, Ryan must return to a world he wanted to forget. Could Sarah be responsible for these atrocities, or is she a pawn in a much larger game?

The answer lies with EMPYRE, a shadow organization at the center of the chaos gripping the globe. Ryan’s only hope is to uncover EMPYRE’s devastating secrets. The battle will drive Ryan and Sarah to the dark corners of the earth, to a floating, guarded city where the ultimate evil–and the ultimate plot against humanity–await.

“Josh Conviser’s near future is fascinating to imagine–and terrifying, because we might just be heading for it.”
–John Scalzi, author of The Ghost Brigades

Praise for Josh Conviser’s Echelon

“Imaginative and intuitive . . . Conviser mines and mints a nonstop stream of visual images.”
–Chris Carter, creator of The X-Files

“Bond level action.”
–SFRevu

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Robert Ludlum meets William Gibson in this dystopian spy thriller, the sequel to 2006's Echelon. Five years after taking down the corrupt, world-controlling cabal known as Echelon, former intelligence agent Ryan Laing is faced with an even bigger task: stopping Alfred Krueger, a vengeance-obsessed bioterrorist who has turned Laing's ex-girlfriend, Sarah Peters, into an asymptomatic carrier of a deadly retrovirus that has killed thousands of innocents. Laing, a bioengineered marvel augmented with several eye-popping nanotech enhancements, is reluctantly drawn back into the clandestine world of operatives and assassins as he tracks down Krueger and tries to figure out whether Peters is a victim or a co-conspirator. Even worse, he finally has to confront the wreckage of his personal life. While the cyberpunk elements are somewhat formulaic and certain high-tech components a little far-fetched (antiproton guns, etc.), the Orwellian atmosphere, intricate plot lines and breakneck pacing make this cyberpunk/espionage hybrid a highly entertaining read. (Oct.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Kirkus Reviews
Previously, in Echelon (2006), agents Ryan Laing and Sarah Peters managed to destroy the ultra-secret surveillance, command and control network by which means the United States arranged world affairs to suit its own interests. Now, alas, ECHELON has mutated into EMPYRE, with terrorism as its primary tool. Ryan, still full of the nanomachines that render him nearly invulnerable, climbs mountains in Antarctica. Sarah, obsessed with adding cyborg enhancements to her body, has blundered into the web of mysterious arch-spymaster Phoenix and his fanatical, brainwashed assassin Zachary Taylor. Unbeknownst to Sarah, Phoenix has turned her into a Typhoid Mary-so when she comes before EMPYRE's committee, Phoenix throws the switch, and Sarah exudes a plague that decimates not only EMPYRE but the entire CIA. EMPYRE's chief, Andrew Dillon, barely survives and orders CIA loyalist Frank Savakis to grab Sarah and Ryan, who share a link through their implants. Dillon tortures Ryan, partly from revenge, partly because he thinks Ryan can help him locate Sarah, who's helplessly releasing new plagues at the command of Phoenix while being hunted by every law enforcement official on the planet. Ryan, however, escapes Dillon and seeks a way to assist Sarah via an old ally that helped them bring down ECHELON. Then, in chapter two-well, not quite, but it seems as though things move that fast-we learn that Phoenix secretly has been controlling EMPYRE all along, and his plans for world domination make EMPYRE look like a group of boy scouts. Hyperspeed high-tech froth, sometimes exciting but about as involving as watching Godzilla slug it out with King Kong.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780345485038
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 10/30/2007
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 6.15 (w) x 9.13 (h) x 0.65 (d)

Read an Excerpt

QUEEN MAUD LAND, ANTARCTICA

Chip, chip, thunk.

His axes biting into clean ice, Ryan Laing tried to recall the events that had led him here--clinging to a granite fang under Antarctica's cold sun. Surely there were better ways to start the day. So why was this the only place he felt comfortable? Climbing ice and rock in a barren land. Alone.

The past lapped over Ryan, his own mixing with that of Antarctica's extreme topography. Tension and release played out here in the slow thrust and ebb of granite and ice. And it played on a grand scale.

Chip, chip, thunk.

His axes cut into the vertical.

Antarctica was dreamed in myth long before its actual discovery. Aristotle and Ptolemy predicted a great unknown Southland as a counterweight to the landmasses of the North. To Ryan, that felt about right. To be here was to cling to the world's keel.

Queen Maud Land lay between the trailing tip of the Stancomb-Wills Glacier and the encroaching thrust of the Shinnan Glacier. Its twenty-five million square kilometers were claimed by Norway, but this was a place beyond claiming. There were no permanent residents here--no indigenous populations. Here, man was a tourist. That suited Ryan just fine.

Most of Queen Maud Land lay encrusted in thick ice. Thousands of kilometers of frozen desert. And then, like something out of a fairy tale, granite spires sprouted from the white and vaulted into the sky. Once these spires had stood bare but, with the climate change, there was now enough moisture and heat shift to generate ice sheets on their lower flanks. The ice rose like a wolf's gum, locking each massive tooth into the snow.

It was here that Ryan climbed: It was here that he tried to escape his past. And the world he had created.

Chip, chip, thunk.

Shards sparked down on him with each swing. He lost himself to the smooth beat of his axes crunching ice, finding purchase, taking his weight. Churning thoughts stilled with the slow burn of exertion. His arms ached with the strain, fingers curled tight around the handles, wrists chafed by the axes' leashes.

Heat suffused him, wiping away the last of his morning sludge. A glance through his legs at the gaping space below offered the familiar adrenaline rush that beat the shit out of any cup of coffee. Ice descended below him, then flattened into an unending white plane. Each exhalation puffed a soft cloud into the air, forcing life into the landscape. Everything else stood angled sharp and dead still.

An unyielding rage had driven Ryan to this farthest end of the earth. Every morning, he woke consumed by it. This morning, like the one before, and the one before that, he had pushed it away, refusing to acknowledge that rotten space within him. Instead he closed it off, boxed it down and let it settle into a sour, acid rumble deep in his gut.

It hadn't always been like this. For a time, there was hope. There was a future. There was a woman. Sarah Peters had filled that black space within him.

Chip, chip, thunk.

Like the ice shearing under each swing of his axes, Sarah had helped him discard the shell that a lifetime within Echelon had generated.

Two pillars had supported Ryan Laing's existence: Echelon, and the woman who helped him destroy it. They had done it for the right reasons. But that didn't matter anymore.

Even now, years later, Ryan found it hard to fathom the scope of his decision. The hubris of it. He had altered the course of history. He had destroyed the quiet conspiracy that ordered the world. Chaos followed hard and fast. With it came regret.

Ryan tried to forget the world he had ended--the century of peace that Echelon had generated. But the longing wouldn't release him. He craved the security of that time with an addict's frantic need.

For a century, all information had flowed through Echelon's spigot. Through subtle manipulation of that data yield, Echelon had quieted those ideas that were deemed too dangerous or unsettling, thus maintaining a peaceful, if numb, status quo. Echelon was the benevolent and unseen dictator, smoothing out the fits and starts of humanity's progress. Echelon made life easy.

And Ryan had been a believer. He'd been the goddamned poster child. As an operative within its clandestine ranks, he had thought Echelon infallible. His faith had been pure. For the cause he had done things, questionable things; there was blood on his hands that would never wash away. But always there had been the pure faith that he did right. That Christopher Turing, Echelon's director and the closest thing Laing had to a father, would never lead him astray.

Losing that faith had cracked Ryan clean through. He had been dragged, kicking and screaming, to recognize Echelon's fatal flaw--that, sooner or later, absolute power corrupts absolutely.

A conspiracy had risen within Echelon. Sniffing it out, and knowing the ramifications of such an organization's turning from the greater good, he had no choice. Ryan couldn't allow Echelon to fall into the wrong hands. So he dragged it all down. In the process, he had been forced to kill Christopher Turing and, with him, a century of peace.

The incursion had nearly killed him. Maybe it should have. Crashing the Echelon system had also crashed the technology that kept Ryan alive. What had begun as nanotechnology in the twentieth century found its zenith in Ryan Laing. Within him, another intelligence had been implanted. A collective, artificial intelligence that healed him, jacked his perception and strength and linked him to the world's data flow. Ryan had a drone army coursing through his body. Or was it their body? At this point, the line between man and machine had blurred.

When Echelon fell, the code that ran Laing's drones crumbled with it. Their collective consciousness fractured to a billion microscopic intruders chewing through him. Ryan should have let them complete their meal.

But Sarah had pleaded with him to fight. And he had loved her enough to try. Ryan had offered the dictionary of his own being for the drones to adopt. Symbioses evaporated. No longer did he need to interface with them. He became the swarm and they him. Man and machine were one.

Just one more reason to live beyond the hand of man. He couldn't rightfully call himself human anymore.

Chip, chip, THUNK.

Lost in the past, Ryan's concentration faltered. He missed hard ice, the axe sinking into flake. It exploded into shards, one of which lanced Ryan's cheek. The pain threw him off balance. Laing scrambled, the talons of his crampons losing purchase. At the same moment, the ice gripping his left axe exploded under the added weight. Ryan fell.

Adrenaline flooded him. Time petrified. His world ratcheted down to a single flailing swing with his right axe. It slammed into the hard ice, scraped down its surface, then bit, jolting Ryan to a stop. The axe's eagle beak had caught on a slight imperfection. He hung, his continued existence pinioned on that ripple in the ice sheet.

Every muscle in his body demanded action, but he fought off the gulping need to scramble for purchase. Deep breaths forced patience. The slightest jerk would kick his axe off the knob. In an excruciatingly slow dance, Ryan moved his left axe up to match the right. He rested the axe's point on another imperfection. He softly kicked his crampons into the ice, reassured by the resounding thunk of their purchase. He stood up and swung his axes into the ice.

Chip, chip, thunk.

Safe--or safer--Ryan's vision opened out, released from the fall's ratcheting perspective. Blood ran down his cheek, pooling in the hollow of his collarbone. The flow didn't last long. Within his blood, gray drones swarmed. Ryan sensed their coordinated tug. The gash on his cheek knitted down to a sliver of cold pink flesh.

Then, nothing.

Not even a blemish. With drone augmentation, his body healed so quickly that he found it difficult to keep his past in solid state. He had no scars to ground his experiences.

Christopher Turing had once grounded him. But he was dead. Then, it was Sarah who had linked him to his past, and offered him a future. He'd fucked that up too, or maybe she had. It didn't matter. With her gone, it all faded to a dull wash. Past, present, and future meshed into a blur that left him numb. So he climbed, trying each day to lose himself in the vertical.

He shook away the last of his high and looked up to the pitch ahead. Ice for another twenty meters, then smooth granite. Larger than the walls of Yosemite, this fang and its brothers offered a new mecca for the world's climbers. Three colors dominated: white snow and ice, blue sky, and black granite. The simplified palette settled Ryan.

Maybe that's why he had come to this end of the earth, because it was so different from Tasmania's saturated green. Ryan wished he could wipe his memories of that place and the time he had spent there with Sarah.

After Echelon fell, she had found them an isolated prefab deep within Tasmania's rain forest. Suspended over gnarled Huon pines, the house floated on a sea of green. A single stanchion rising from the forest floor was all that connected the structure to the ground. When the wind blew, the house swayed to the tempo of the ancient trees below.

"You need time to recalibrate," she had said, her words cold and analytical even as her hand, brushing his forearm, offered warm heat.

Chip, chip, THUNK.

Ice. Rock. The shock of blue sky. Laing slammed his axe home with more force than necessary, the hard act only amping the recall of her skin on his. Even Antarctica couldn't wipe the memory of her.

He had tried to recover. Really. For her. For a future that should have been bright. Echelon was gone. Humanity had its freedom. He had Sarah. He was a hero, right? He deserved a happily ever after.

She had shielded him from the truth for as long as she could. Looking back, he thanked her for that time--that moment of hope. But it didn't last. Even as she pleaded with him to stay present, his curiosity boiled.

"Ryan, please." Standing on the prefab's balcony, watching night consume the forest below, she had begged him. "Leave it be. You've done enough. You've seen enough."

He remembered the way her hair floated on the gentle breeze. The soft smell of her rising over the forest's rich funk.

"Sarah, it's fine. I'm fine," he had said with unaccustomed optimism.

Sarah looked at him as if mourning something not quite lost. Ryan didn't see it at the time--the regret in that look.

Above him, stars had pierced the dusk. In the space between, Ryan felt the flow's tug. He eased his mind into a neutral state--the place between man and machine. Sarah's pleading fell away.

Drone input blossomed. The rain forest faded to background. The flow rezzed in from its cardinal points, wrapping him in virtual. It ran over him, a cascade of data. He plunged in.

Data jacks and node points rose before him, a virtual representation of the flickering weave of connections that linked humanity together. He sank deep.

And here his hope faded. In a blink, his future went gray. He saw what he had wrought.

He had expected a time of panic and fear as Echelon's invisible hand released its grip. Freedom after so many years of tyranny was not easy to digest. Russia's confused rush to capitalism in the twentieth had showed the world what a difficult pill freedom could be.

Ryan had expected chaos. What he saw, writ large, was his fuckup. A mistake that changed everything.

His incursion had succeeded in destroying Echelon, but failed to erase it completely. Ryan had killed the beast, but left its corpse for the world to see. Echelon's existence had come to light. Every man, woman, child, corporation, and country saw that they had been played.

Rage gripped the world. Fear. Distrust. Suddenly, nothing of the last century could be relied on. Within the flow, Ryan watched the disintegration of the European Union, old grudges rising from Echelon's ashes. Nations, conglomerates, and demagogues rose and fell in tumultuous succession. No control, no shape, just a brutal hunt for equilibrium. The strong held fast. The weak bent under the onslaught.

Standing on that balcony in Tasmania, Ryan had shivered in spite of the heat. A creak in the flooring as Sarah shifted to him. She touched his arm, soft, like the wind's rush. So full of regret.

The air smelled different with her presence. She charged the atmosphere. Her breasts, soft and demanding, ground into the small of his back. She wrapped her arms around him.

"It will be okay," she whispered in his ear.

Ryan closed his eyes, refusing the comfort of her presence. She tugged at him but he didn't budge. Couldn't. So she melted into him, pouring honey soft over his rigid frame.

"Please. You need sleep, Ryan."

"What have I done?" The words echoed through him, unrelenting.

"Only what was necessary," she replied.

He stepped away from her.

She forced him to turn, hard eyes locking his. He sensed her determination to connect. But he couldn't. Not now. Not with guilt draping over him like a cloak.

"Don't do it," she said. "Not after all we've been through." The cool analysis in Sarah's voice lowered to fragile fear. "Don't push me away."

Ryan did not move.

Abandoning words, she pulled him close, her lips finding his. Drones swarmed into her, active in her while she remained physically connected to Ryan. Through them, Ryan and Sarah shared each other's sensations. Her need forced his. Ryan felt Sarah's longing as if it were his own. She needed to know him--demanded complete connection. He buckled under that will. Their kiss became an exploration. He submitted, his emotions, fears and desire spilling into her. She pushed further. Too much. Too close.

--Please.

He thought the word and it rose in her mind through their drone link. She relented, grudgingly, breaking their kiss.

--I will share this with you, Ryan.

Ryan shook his head.

"I will," she said aloud.

He watched her for a long moment. The dark curve of her eyebrow, the tight-lipped determination. Sarah's skin glowed in the starlight. He reached for her, then stopped himself. She took his hand before he could pull back, drawing it to her cheek. The softness of her skin felt distant--barely registered through the wind tunnel he had become.

She pushed closer, backing him up against the balcony's railing. Sensations mingled. The cold metal digging into his back. The slick heat of her mouth. She pulled away from their kiss and buried her head in his chest.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 1 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(1)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing 1 – 5 of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Superb science fiction conspiracy thriller.

    Five years has past since CIA agents Ryan Laing and Sarah Peters destroyed the global manipulating ECHELON. Ryan and Sarah moved on separately with both leaving the agency after the ECHELON affair he climbs mountains on all seven continents and she seeks to be more his equal with nanotechnological enhancements.---------- However, neither is aware that ECHELON survived their destruction of it by metamorphosing into EMPYRE. Newville Phoenix turns Sarah into a plague carrier, who devastates the much of the staff of EMPYRE and the CIA. As she continues her path of destruction, EMPYRE Chief Dillon sends CIA agent Frank Savakis after her. Frank captures Ryan and tortures him in order to force him to reveal the whereabouts of Sarah, who he shares a link with. Ryan escapes, but hunts Sarah who he fears turned into a murderous traitor that he must kill before she spreads her plague elsewhere.-------------- If there are flaws in the story line (like some of the technology seems a too convenient stretch), no one will care while reading it except for nitpicking critics like moi. The story line makes DC¿s Flash look like the Turtle as the action never decelerates for a nanosecond. However, as with the previous tale ECHELON it is the Big Brother tone of the plot that lingers with readers long after finishing this faster than the speed of light science fiction conspiracy thriller.---------------- Harriet Klausner

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 11, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing 1 – 5 of 2 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)