Fault Line

( 56 )


In Silicon Valley, the eccentric inventor of a new encryption application is murdered in an apparent drug deal.

In Istanbul, a cynical undercover operator receives a frantic call from his estranged brother, a patent lawyer who believes he is the next victim.

And on the sun-drenched slopes of Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley's nerve center of money and technology, old family hurts sting anew as two brothers who ...

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In Silicon Valley, the eccentric inventor of a new encryption application is murdered in an apparent drug deal.

In Istanbul, a cynical undercover operator receives a frantic call from his estranged brother, a patent lawyer who believes he is the next victim.

And on the sun-drenched slopes of Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley's nerve center of money and technology, old family hurts sting anew as two brothers who share nothing but blood and bitterness wage a desperate battle against a faceless enemy.

Alex Treven has sacrificed everything to achieve his sole ambition: making partner in his high-tech law firm. But then the inventor of a technology Alex is banking on is murdered…and the patent examiner who reviewed it dies…and Alex himself narrowly escapes an attack in his own home. Off balance, out of ideas, and running out of time, he knows the one person who can help him is the last person he'd ever ask: his brother.

Ben Treven is a Military Liaison Element, an elite undercover soldier paid to "find, fix, and finish" high-value targets in America's Global War on Terror. Disenchanted with what he sees as America's culture of denial and decadence, Ben lives his detached life in the shadows because the black ops world is all he really knows—and because other than Alex, who he hasn't spoken to since their mother died, his family is long gone.

But blood is thicker than water, and when he receives Alex's frantic call, Ben hurries to San Francisco to help him. Only then does Alex reveal that there's another player who knows of the technology: Sarah Hosseini, a young Iranian American lawyer who Alex has long secretly desired…and who Ben immediately distrusts. As these three radically different people struggle to identify the forces attempting to silence them, Ben and Alex are forced to examine the events that drove them apart—even as Sarah's presence, and her own secret wants, deepens the fault line between them.

Fault Line centers on a conspiracy that has spun out of the shadows and into the streets of America, a conspiracy that can be stopped only by three people—three people with different worldviews, different grievances, different motives. To survive the forces arrayed against them, they'll first have to survive each other.

"The first blogosphere thriller…Eisler's novel, which turns entirely on a super-secret assassinations program, is looking less like fiction and more like the work of someone who has a firm grip on what's really happening." —Scott Horton, Harper's Magazine

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

Death by hit men isn't what Silicon Valley attorney Alex Treven had in mind when he agreed to sponsor a young inventor's piece of network-security software. But when the inventor and the patent office handler die in quick succession, Alex has enough survival sense to call his estranged big brother, Ben, a special-ops agent. Ben reluctantly comes to Alex's aid and finds himself entangled in something more sinister than a lucrative new invention would suggest. Beautiful, tech-savvy law associate Sarah Hosseini inadvertently gets caught up in the deadly situation and adds a touch of romance to this cyberthriller. The brothers have suffered greatly since tragedy destroyed their suburban family when they were teens; now they must overcome long-simmering resentments and band together, using their talents to outwit their unknown hunters. Intricate plotting and tech details make this thriller zip by. Eisler, who has training in covert operations and is well known for his John Rain series (e.g., Requiem for an Assassin), presents a winning first stand-alone work. Recommended for all popular collections. [See Prepub Alert, LJ10/1/08.]
—Teresa L. Jacobsen

From the Publisher
“Thriller fans already know that Barry Eisler is one of the brightest stars out there. But now, with Fault Line–a breathlessly exciting, lightning-paced, and moving tale of suspense–I predict a whole lot more readers are going to discover how terrific he is.”
–Joseph Finder, author of Power Play

“An exciting, believable, and well-written thriller . . . Put Fault Line at the top of your reading list. I'm a new Barry Eisler fan!”—Ridley Pearson, author of Killer View

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781480552890
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio
  • Publication date: 2/28/2014
  • Format: CD

Meet the Author

Barry Eisler
Barry Eisler spent three years in a covert position with the CIA’s Directorate of Operations, then worked as a technology lawyer and startup executive in Silicon Valley and Japan, earning his black belt at the Kodokan International Judo Center along the way. Eisler’s bestselling thrillers have won the Barry Award and the Gumshoe Award for Best Thriller of the Year, have been included in numerous “Best of” lists, and have been translated into nearly twenty languages. The first book in Eisler’s John Rain series, Rain Fall, has been made into a movie starring Gary Oldman that will be released by Sony Pictures Japan in April 2009. Eisler lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and Tokyo.
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Looking Up

The last thing Richard Hilzoy thought before the bullet entered his brain was, Things are really looking up.

He was on his way to the Silicon Valley offices of his lawyer, Alex Treven, who had arranged a meeting with Kleiner Perkins, the Midases of venture capital who could increase a company’s value a hundredfold just by offering to invest. And now Kleiner was considering writing a check to him, Richard Hilzoy, genius, inventor of Obsidian, the world’s most advanced encryption algorithm, destined to render all other network security software obsolete. Alex had already applied for the patent, and if things worked out with the VCs, Hilzoy would be able to rent office space, buy equipment, hire staff—everything he needed to finish commercializing the product and bring it online. In a few years he would take the company public, and his shares would be worth a fortune. Or he’d stay private, and become to security software what Dolby was to sound, raking in billions in licensing revenues. Or Google would buy him—they were into everything these days. The main thing was, he was going to be rich.

And he deserved it. Working for chump change in an Oracle research laboratory, drinking Red Bull after Red Bull late at night and shivering in the deserted company parking lot for tobacco breaks, enduring the taunts and laughter he knew went on behind his back. Last year his wife had divorced him, and boy was the bitch ever going to be sorry now. If she’d had any brains she’d have waited until he was rolling in money and then tried to shake him down. But she’d never believed in him, and neither had anyone else. Except Alex.

He walked down the cracked exterior steps of his San Jose apartment building, squinting against the brilliant morning sun. He could hear the roar of rush hour traffic on Interstate 280 half a block away—the whoosh, whoosh of individual cars, trucks grinding gears as they pulled on from the entrance ramp at South Tenth Street, the occasional angry honk—and for once, having to live like this, right on top of the freeway, didn’t bother him. Even the cheap bicycles and rusting barbecues and stained plastic garbage containers crammed together against the side of the adjacent building didn’t bother him, nor did the reek the autumn breeze carried from the overflowing parking lot Dumpster.

Because Alex was going to get him out of this sewer hole. Oracle was a client of Alex’s firm, and Hilzoy was Alex’s contact on patents there. Hilzoy hadn’t been overly impressed initially. He’d taken one look at Alex’s blond hair and green eyes and figured him for just another pretty boy—rich parents, the right schools, the usual. But he’d recognized soon enough that Alex knew his shit. Turned out he wasn’t just a lawyer, but had degrees from Stanford, too—undergraduate in electrical engineering, same as Hilzoy, and a Ph.D. in computer science. He knew at least as much programming as Hilzoy, maybe more. So when Hilzoy had finally worked up the nerve to pull him aside and ask about patenting Obsidian, Alex had gotten it right away. Not only had he deferred his fees, he’d introduced Hilzoy to a group of angel investors who had put in enough money for Hilzoy to quit his day job and buy the equipment he needed. And now he was poised to take money from the biggest swinging dicks of all. All in the space of a single year. Unbelievable.

Of course, there were aspects of Obsidian that the VCs might not like if they knew about them. They might even have found them scary. But they wouldn’t know, because there was no reason to tell them. Obsidian could protect networks, and there wasn’t a Fortune 500 company out there that wouldn’t pay out the wazoo for that. That’s what VCs understood. The rest . . . well, that would all just be his little secret, a kind of insurance policy to fall back on if Obsidian’s intended uses weren’t enough to command the proper sums.

He looked at his watch. He was nervous about the meeting. But there was time enough for a cigarette; that would calm him down. He stopped at the bottom of the stairs and fired one up. He took a deep drag, then put the pack and the lighter back in his pocket. There was a white van parked next to his car, an ’88 Buick Regency he’d bought after selling his Audi during the divorce. humane pest control, the van said. He’d noticed it here, what, three times in the last week? Four? He’d seen a rat once, under the Dumpster. And there were roaches. Somebody must have made a stink with building management, and now the idiots were trying to show they were doing something about it. Whatever. Pretty soon that would all be someone else’s problem.

There were some scares along the way, existing inventions Alex was concerned might prevent them from getting a patent. And something about a possible secrecy order from the government, which could slow things down. But so far Alex had always found a way around the problems. The patent hadn’t been issued yet, but the application itself was bankable.

Hilzoy had been worried at first about describing the source code in the patent application because anyone who got hold of it would know the recipe for Obsidian, but Alex had assured him the Patent and Trademark Office maintained all applications in strict confidence for eighteen months, at which point they’d have a good idea about whether a patent would be forthcoming. And once the patent was issued, it wouldn’t matter whether people knew the recipe or not—they couldn’t use it without paying him the big bucks. And if they tried to, Alex would sue them into the ground. That’s right, people, you want to play, you got to pay.

He paused in front of the Buick and got out his keys. What a piece of crap. It had over a hundred thousand miles on it and every one of them showed. It was the kind of car you could piss all over and no one would even notice. A Mercedes, he thought, not for the first time. Or maybe a BMW. Black, a convertible. He’d have it detailed four times a year so it would always look new.

The pest control guy got out of the van. He was wearing a baseball cap, coveralls, and gloves. He nodded to Hilzoy through a pair of shades and moved past him. Hilzoy nodded back, glad he didn’t have to kill rats for a living.

He took a drag on the cigarette, then tossed it away, enjoying the feeling of wasting it. He blew the smoke up at the sky and unlocked the car door. Yeah, baby, he thought. Oh yeah. Things are really looking up.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 56 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 56 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 4, 2009

    Not Eisler's Best

    Having read and loved all Barry Eisler's John Rain books, I was very eager to read his newest yarn. It pains me to say that this book is not nearly as exciting as his previous novels. As several scenes start off with promise and intrigue, none seem to truly deliver. The characters here seem more remote and not very interactive. Alex's potential love interest, for example, like his relationship with his brother is barely developed at all which makes it hard to understand or invest in these characters. They don't stir enough passion to generate much of a rooting interest. This book is less technical with fewer tricks and gadgets, but the biggest downfall seems to be the loss of the paranoia that surrounds John Rain. I understand that Alex and Ben are not Rain, but there are obvious parallels, and Rain's assassin is just a far more interesting character who always seems to be at serious risk of discovery or great harm. In short, if you are new to Barry Eisler, start with his John Rain series and you are in for a real treat.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 2, 2009

    Stick to the John Rain adventures

    Love Barry Eisler as a writer, but this one was way off the mark. Even though I liked the characters, I had a hard time getting into the story. The premise was good, but the story was tedious...except those times when we had a confrontation and a satisfactory solution to it.
    I find that there is more thought in the Rain Novels.....maybe if we combined the action of Rain with these new characters, we would be looking at something better.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 30, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Not John Rain

    If you are looking for another John Rain thriller, this isn't it. "Fault Line" is Barry Eisler's first stand alone novel. This is the story about two estranged brothers, Alex (an attorney in Silicon Valley) and Ben (a government assassin). When those involved in a project that Alex is working on are killed, he calls his brother for help. Their personality's clash (Alex is by the book, and Ben, the rogue) and they also have some unfinished business due to the death or their sister when they were kids. There is certainly a lot of bloodshed, violence and some sex in this book, but it isn't one of Mr. Eisler's best. Although I was drawn to the characters and the story, it was somewhat predictable. The climax was a little of a shock but still then the ending wasn't much of a surprise. I enjoyed the book, but look forward to another John Rain adventure.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 16, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Good author -- bad book

    I like Eisler's work and have enjoyed his other novels.
    Not this one. It was plastic, predictable and poor. The plot line, even the ending, are entirely predictable after the first couple of chapters. The 'bad guys' are obvious and the lust angle just droll. The back story is just trite and the tension between the brothers just never feels real.
    If you're waiting for a flight and desperate for a book to read on the plane, this one might be a choice ... but otherwise steer clear.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 1, 2012

    Much More Interesting than the John Rain Stuff!

    Finally Eisler tells a story with believable characters drawn from real life and also creates plot that allows them to interact. I see Eisler maturing as a writer of political thrillers. I still think he could be less didactic in his presentation of political issues. I just read Michael Segedy's Evil's Root and it made me think of Eisler. Eisler could learn from Segedy on presenting political commentary. Segedy's novel is much more integrated and non-preachy. Overall this work is a giant step in the right direction for Eisler. I hope to read more novels where he uses the same characters, or same type of characters.

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  • Posted April 11, 2011

    Fault Line

    What's going on here? Hardcover for $5.38 and Nook for $7.99. This is ridiculous, why would anyone buy this excellent writers books for a Nook at this price difference?

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  • Posted November 14, 2010

    Highly recommend

    This is the first time I have read a book that was not a mystery, and I can tell you I was not dissapointed,the author captures your attention from the beginning and you have a hard time putting the book down. A must read for everyone,no matter your reading taste are.

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  • Posted April 24, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    A must-read for spy fanatics

    As it is my first time reading Barry Eisler, I wasn't sure what to expect. I often have trouble reading books written by ex-military or ex-agents as they tend to get a little too heavy with technical jargon for me ~this is certainly not the case here! He does an exceptional job of keeping things realistic yet accessible. Though I must say that I saw where he was going with the plot, I really enjoyed how he got there.

    Eisler convincingly writes from the viewpoints of the three main characters in this novel, a literary style that can be disengaging if not done well. Each of the characters has their own conflicting politics and belief system and Eisler has made each sympathetic to the reader: the profiled, the profiler, and the self-proclaimed family martyr. In the end, Sarah, Ben, and Alex have their core ideals challenged, and find those to which they formerly clung seem far from solid.

    This is a fascinating read of espionage and modern political morals. A must-read for the spy fanatics.


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  • Posted April 10, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    an action-packed cyberthriller

    The inventor of Obsidian encryption security software Richard Hilzoy is euphoric that he is on his way to the top of Silicon Valley as he heads over to see his attorney Alex Treven. That is his last thought as someone fires a bullet into his brain. Alex had arranged financing and worked with the Patent Office as he understood what Richard created. When Alex learns Richard and the Patent Office analyst were murdered, he did not need his PH.D in computer science to conclude he is near the top if not next on a methodical hit list related to knowledge of Obsidian.

    Alex needs help so he calls his estranged brother Ben, an undercover field agent. He quickly rushes to San Francisco where Alex explains the other knowledgeable person is Iranian-American law associate Sarah Hosseini. As the siblings continue their bickering started when tragedy struck their family as teens, but now with Sarah in the middle, they are in danger from unknown adversaries who want Obsidian under their control.

    Over the top of Nob Hill and Stanford, Fault Line is an action-packed cyberthriller that grips the reader with the opening it and never slows down as the battling brothers better band together if they are to survive. Both are attracted to Sarah, but Ben distrusts her as he believes she is the enemy leak. Although It Never Rains in California, the siblings know it pours.

    Harriet Klausner

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  • Posted August 23, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Barry Eisler still has it.

    I am a huge fan of Barry Eisler's work. John Rain is one of favorite characters and I was looking forward to Eisler's writing beyond the Rain Universe. He does not disappoint with Fault Line. I found the opening chapters to be a little slow but the story picks up tremendously throughout. The main character may be viewed as an non-Asian John Rain, but he still isn't nearly as cool. My only problem with the book is it has a huge buildip to a very anti-climatic ending. Oh well, it is still a good read for fans of the Eisler world.

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  • Posted August 2, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    After an excellent start, second part of the book was a disappointment

    Alex Treven thinks that his dream is about to come true. He's worked his way up in his law practice and now he has an opportunity that may make him a full partner.
    He's met Richard Hilzoy, who has an invention, The Obsedian Toolbar which could revolutionize encryptology everywhere.
    Alex goes to his superior, David Osborne, and asks if the partnership will back Hilzoy. David agrees and asks Alex to work with a young Iranian lawyer in the firm, Sarah Hosseini.
    Just before Hilzoy is to sign contract papers he's killed. Then the patent examiner dies unexpectedly and Alex barely escapes when someone breaks into his home.
    He asks his brother Ben for help. Ben works for the military and eliminates people who might cause problems for the United States.
    Ben comes home and goes to Alex office where they find that the Obsedian info has been stolen. Ben thinks Alex and Sarah might be in danger and asks them to go into a secure place and work on the info that Hilzoy left in a hidden place. He wants them to reconstruct the missing information.

    The first part of the book was excellent. However, Alex comes across an an effete character, unable to control what is happening. Sarah is presented as a major character but we learn little about her past.
    Ben is just too convenient. Toward the end of the book, Alex does something totally out of his character.

    Eisler has written the excellent John Rain novels. The first, "Rain Fall" has been made into a film with Gary Oldman with a 2009 release.

    Eisler's fans may overcome the plot difficiencies because of their enjoyment of the author, however, I can only give a mild recommendation.

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  • Posted July 25, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Love that Barry!

    I just love the action and fast-paced quality of his books. This is his newest but not his best. In my opinion the John Rain series is outstanding. I don't know why his movie, which was released in Japan, has not been released here. It would make a great movie and I would definitely go. I think he could actually have a TV Series with those books. I loved Fault Line even though it wasn't my fave.

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  • Posted May 29, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Jam-Packed with Action!

    Fault Line was the first, but definitely won't be the last, novel I read by Barry Eisler. I was glad to find out that one of his other works (Rain Fall) was made into a movie. Hopefully this one will too. It has a lot of action, suspense and drama.

    Without giving the whole story away, it takes place in San Jose, CA, otherwise known as Silicon Valley, and it's about a guy (computer nerd) who invents a software program. The only problem is that there are some dangerous people willing to go to any lengths, and killing is no exception, in order to make sure this program does not reach the market.

    What I liked most was how the characters, from early on, got built up. This allowed me to conjure up an image in my mind of what each character is like. The language was very descriptive and was almost as though I had a movie running through my head. I can honestly say that this is one of the few books that I have been able to finish reading in a couple of days. It's one of those books that you want to finish in one sitting.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 11, 2009

    Not John Rain but still excellent.

    I am a big fan of Barry Eisler and the John Rain series. If you approach FAULT LINE expecting the same thing, you may be disappointed. This is still an excellent book; it is just different. Because it is not written in the first person, it is a little more difficult to get into the heads of the characters.
    Eisler still is very strong in character development and the two brothers, Alex and Ben, have very real problems that must be resolved.
    As in other Eisler books, the plot is very up to date and revolves around technological developments that are very real.
    Give it a try!!!

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  • Posted May 9, 2009

    Another great McGarvey adventure

    Kept me involved and entertained.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 4, 2009

    Eisler's latest book.

    Eisler created a new main character, and I was disappointed...with character, and plot. He should have stayed with a winner in the Rain series! I rushed to purchase it, before it had even reached your store. I called to be sure you had it, and dashed in to get my copy. Sorry to say, I won't rush in for the next release!

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  • Posted May 2, 2009

    Better Than Expected

    I was hoping for a new John Rain book, so when I found out this was not part of that series, I almost skipped it. Boy, am I glad I didn't. It has similarities without being a ripoff, which is what I was afraid it would be. A little predictable at times, I thought, but all in all, a great read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 2, 2009

    A fast read that's thrilling and fun

    A fast, enjoyable read that's thrilling and fun. Good characters and situations presented originally.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 4, 2009

    Fault Line-- good for first-time readers of Mr. Eisler's novels

    I am a fan of Mr. Eisler's Rain novels. There were too many parallels between John Rain and Ben to really grab my attention. I kept asking, "What would John Rain do in Ben's situation?".

    For first-time readers of Mr. Eisler's work, I recommend Fault Line.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 12, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Finding Fault

    All it took to get me to buy this book was Barry Eisler's name on the cover. I have enjoyed his stories about John Rain, rumored to be in retirement now. Let's hope Eisler brings him back, because his attempt at something different doesn't have the same gusto going for it. Sure, there's a super hero and some good spy stuff going on, but the superhero has some baggage with his family, and the back and forth as he and his brother work out their differences just gets tiresome. Eisler adds some rather flat romance with a brainy lawyer, and I just didn't like it. All too predictable, and that's something I never predicted I would say about this book.

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