Set in a near future that is garish, superficial, and obsessively self-absorbed, Jon Armstrong's stellar debut novel is as thematically compelling as dystopian classics like Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick, and, most notably, Anthony Burgess's A Clockwork Orange.
In a society controlled in large part by an elite group of corporations and characterized by its wild extremes -- economic, political, sexual, etc. -- young Michael Rivers is a demigod. The heir apparent to high-tech security juggernaut RiverGroup, the 19-year-old has it all: He's handsome, fashionable, and literally worshipped by millions of people who monitor his every movement through the media. And his future looks even brighter -- his girlfriend, Nora, the daughter of the head of a competing conglomerate, is his ideal partner. They share the same understated tastes in music, clothing, and philosophy, and even have a private language based on slogans from advertisements in their favorite fashion magazine. But days before the couple is set to announce their engagement -- and the historic merger of their families' corporations -- an assassin almost succeeds in killing Rivers. When he recovers from the attack, he finds his engagement off and RiverGroup almost bankrupt. Disregarding threats from his egomaniacal father, Rivers begins a perilous quest to reconnect with his true love -- only to come face-to-face with the horrible reality of his existence….
Equal parts ill-fated love story à la Romeo and Juliet, poignant coming-of-age tale, and disturbingly provocative glimpse into humanity's future, Armstrong's debut is simply unforgettable -- nothing short of a science fiction masterwork. A Clockwork Orange for the 21st century. Paul Goat Allen