Spook Country
  • Spook Country
  • Spook Country

Spook Country

3.6 63
by William Gibson

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Tito is in his early twenties. Born in Cuba, he speaks fluent Russian, lives in one room in a NoLita warehouse, and does delicate jobs involving information transfer.

Hollis Henry is an investigative journalist, on assignment from a magazine called Node. Node doesn't exist yet, which is fine; she's used to that. But it seems to be actively blocking the kind of

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Tito is in his early twenties. Born in Cuba, he speaks fluent Russian, lives in one room in a NoLita warehouse, and does delicate jobs involving information transfer.

Hollis Henry is an investigative journalist, on assignment from a magazine called Node. Node doesn't exist yet, which is fine; she's used to that. But it seems to be actively blocking the kind of buzz that magazines normally cultivate before they start up. Really actively blocking it. It's odd, even a little scary, if Hollis lets herself think about it much. Which she doesn't; she can't afford to.

Milgrim is a junkie. A high-end junkie, hooked on prescription antianxiety drugs. Milgrim figures he wouldn't survive twenty-four hours if Brown, the mystery man who saved him from a misunderstanding with his dealer, ever stopped supplying those little bubble packs. What exactly Brown is up to Milgrim can't say, but it seems to be military in nature. At least, Milgrim's very nuanced Russian would seem to be a big part of it, as would breaking into locked rooms.

Bobby Chombo is a "producer," and an enigma. In his day job, Bobby is a troubleshooter for manufacturers of military navigation equipment. He refuses to sleep in the same place twice. He meets no one. Hollis Henry has been told to find him.

Pattern Recognition was a bestseller on every list of every major newspaper in the country, reaching #4 on the New York Times list. It was also a BookSense top ten pick, a WordStock bestseller, a best book of the year for Publishers Weekly, the Los Angeles Times, Newsday, and the Economist, and a Washington Post "rave."

Spook Country is the perfect follow-up to Pattern Recognition, which was called by The Washington Post (among many glowing reviews), "One of the first authentic and vital novels of the twenty-first century."

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Editorial Reviews

Bill Sheehan
Despite a full complement of thieves, pushers and pirates, Spook Country is less a conventional thriller than a devastatingly precise reflection of the American zeitgeist, and it bears comparison to the best work of Don DeLillo. Although he is a very different sort of writer, Gibson, like DeLillo, writes fiction that is powerfully attuned to the currents of dread, dismay and baffled fury that permeate our culture. Spook Country—which is a beautifully multi-leveled title—takes an unflinching look at that culture. With a clear eye and a minimum of editorial comment, Gibson shows us a country that has drifted dangerously from its governing principles, evoking a kind of ironic nostalgia for a time when, as one character puts it, "grown-ups still ran things." In Spook Country, Gibson takes another large step forward and reaffirms his position as one of the most astute and entertaining commentators on our astonishing, chaotic present.
—The Washington Post
Washington Post Book World
A devastatingly precise reflection of the American zeitgeist.
Los Angeles Times
A delicious surge of pleasure-center prose.
Like Pynchon and DeLillo, Gibson excels at pinpointing the hidden forces that shape our world.
San Francisco Chronicle
Both cool and scary.
Chicago Tribune
Gibson's work is all edge and chill and incipient panic...His worlds are so striking, so plausible, that you're just happy to be along for the ride.
USA Today
A fitful, fast-forward spy tale.
Entertainment Weekly
The author himself is enthusiastically working his way back from the future.
Vancouver Sun
[His] complex and riveting new novel, Spook Country, is both entertaining and visionary, solidifying his position as the twenty-first century's primary literary soothsayer.
Columbus Dispatch
Never anything less than fascinating.
Men's Health
Gibson takes aim at the BlackBerry era with the excellent Spook Country.
Publishers Weekly

Robertson Dean's deep, soothing tones anchor this post-9/11 thriller, a follow-up to Pattern Recognition. Told from three third-person perspectives, the story concerns a journalist backed by a mysterious Belgian industrialist, a young Cuban-Chinese go-to guy from a secretive clan of criminals, and a junkie fluent in Russian, who get caught up in a search for a mysterious shipping container. Gibson reinvents the concept he made famous in his landmark SF novel, Neuromancer-i.e., cyberspace-creating a more nuanced and up-to-date relationship between the virtual and the real. For Gibson, the nature of the quest object is almost beside the point; it merely serves as a spark for a series of cleverly orchestrated confrontations and interesting meditations about the world and where it's headed. In a novel that's light on dialogue and heavy on narration and interior monologue, Dean doesn't need to create distinct, accented voices. He provides reflective calm for Gibson's musings, and clarity to detailed, complex action scenes. Although there are a few strange mispronunciations, this is, on the whole, a smooth, intelligent recording of an intriguing and gripping book. Simultaneous release with the Putnam hardcover (Reviews, June 18). (Sept.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Library Journal

Gibson, author of the award-winning archetypal cyberpunk novel Neuromancer, has returned with a book that demonstrates yet again his ability to select from the trends of tomorrow's artifacts that will grab us today. In Spook Country, characters collide-seemingly at random-and interact in a multilayered fashion that has become Gibson's signature style. Hollis Henry, a former singer with a defunct indie rock band, has been hired by Node, a shadowy British version of Wiredmagazine, to write an article on locative art, an artistic innovation that uses virtual reality environments placed via GPS-tagging into the real world. She crosses paths with a Cuban Chinese Santerìa-worshipping martial artist, various hackers, conceptual artists, and several spooks whose loyalties are complex and sometimes nebulous. This slow unfolding of motive and plot may annoy those who dislike being lost for several minutes as it titillates others. Robertson Dean brings a sonorous, classically disciplined bass-baritone voice to the reading; his ability to read the narrative passages with precise diction and careful pacing is contrasted by his use of accents and inflection when conveying conversations. Recommended for public and academic libraries with medium to large collections of speculative fiction.
—David Faucheux

Kirkus Reviews
The SF innovator follows up his mainstream success (Pattern Recognition, 2003) with another novel set in the near-present, as three separate groups chase after a mysterious freight container. Hollis Henry, erstwhile singer for a disbanded rock group, the Curfew, is now a freelance journalist with a baffling assignment from Node, a startup magazine that is remarkably averse to publicity. She's researching "locative" art in Los Angeles, though her employer seems mostly to be interested in the GPS expertise of a guy who facilitates this high-tech virtual- reality genre. Tito belongs to a family of Chinese-Cuban immigrants involved in criminal enterprises in New York, aided by knowledge of Russian gained from a grandfather who worked with Soviet emissaries (and the CIA) in Havana. Milgrim is a drug addict who had the misfortune to be plucked from the streets by Brown, a creepy government operative who keeps him prisoner to take advantage of Milgrim's linguistic skills, needed to decode text messages in a Russian-based artificial language sent among Tito's family members. Gibson excels as usual in creating an off-kilter atmosphere of vague menace: Hollis's wealthy employer and the old man to whom Tito is passing iPods initially seem as sinister as Brown. And the narrative features the author's characteristically shrewd observations about everything from global piracy to conspiracy junkies to cultish rock fans. But the characters are vivid two-dimensional sketches rather than human beings, and the plot turns out to be a wish-fulfillment fantasy about getting back at the idiots and corporate crooks currently raking in the boodle in Iraq. There are some lovely metaphors and sharp insights aseveryone converges on a Canadian port where Tito and his cohorts will do something to the container before Brown and his cohorts can get hold of it. But when the mists of mystification clear, what's revealed isn't very interesting. Readable and mildly engaging, but not the kind of cutting-edge work we expect from Gibson.

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Product Details

Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.26(w) x 9.25(h) x 1.33(d)
Age Range:
13 Years

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