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Fasten your seat belts–the white-knuckle thrills at Utopia, the world’s most fantastic theme park, escalate to nightmare proportions in this intricately imagined techno-thriller by New York Times bestselling author Lincoln Child.

Rising out of the stony canyons of Nevada, Utopia is a world on the cutting edge of technology. A theme park attracting 65,000 visitors each day, its dazzling array of robots and futuristic holograms make it a ...

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Fasten your seat belts–the white-knuckle thrills at Utopia, the world’s most fantastic theme park, escalate to nightmare proportions in this intricately imagined techno-thriller by New York Times bestselling author Lincoln Child.

Rising out of the stony canyons of Nevada, Utopia is a world on the cutting edge of technology. A theme park attracting 65,000 visitors each day, its dazzling array of robots and futuristic holograms make it a worldwide sensation. But ominous mishaps are beginning to disrupt the once flawless technology. A friendly robot goes haywire, causing panic, and a popular roller coaster malfunctions, nearly killing a teenaged rider. Dr. Andrew Warne, the brilliant computer engineer who designed much of the park’s robotics, is summoned from the East Coast to get things back on track.

On the day Warne arrives, however, Utopia is caught in the grip of something far more sinister. A group of ruthless criminals has infiltrated the park’s computerized infrastructure, giving them complete access to all of Utopia’s attractions and systems. Their communication begins with a simple and dire warning: If their demands are met, none of the 65,000 people in the park that day will ever know they were there; if not, chaos will descend, and every man, woman, and child will become a target. As one of the brains behind Utopia, Warne finds himself thrust into a role he never imagined–trying to save the lives of thousands of innocent people. And as the minutes tick away, Warne’s struggle to outsmart his opponents grows ever more urgent, for his only daughter is among the unsuspecting crowds in the park.

Lincoln Child evokes the technological wonders of Utopia with such skill and precision it is hard to believe the park exists only in the pages of this extraordinary book. Like Jurassic Park, Utopia sweeps readers into a make-believe world of riveting suspense, technology, and adventure.

UTOPIA — Where technology dazzles–and then turns deadly!

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Child’s latest is a beautifully crafted scare-fest….Here’s hoping for a sequel.”
-PEOPLE (1/13/03)

“A sensational piece of popular entertainment. If you are looking for intelligent fun, it doesn’t get much better than this.”
-The Washington Post 12/16/02)

"The blend of technological jargon and suspense results in a real thrill-a-minute read."

"The novel's namesake—a cutting-edge, futuristic theme park—is a tour-de-force of the imagination, one of the most extraordinary settings for a thriller I've ever read."
-Douglas Preston, New York Times bestselling co-author of Relic and Rip Tide.

"In this ultra-entertaining new novel, Lincoln Child weaves fascinatingly plausible technologies and a frighteningly believable tale. It’s Brave New World meets Jurassic Park.”
-Dan Brown, bestselling author of Digital Fortress

Publishers Weekly
A fantastic near-future amusement park is the setting for this techno-thriller by Child (coauthor with Douglas Preston of the Preston/Child bestsellers) in his first solo outing. Utopia, a Nevada amusement park extraordinaire, features several elaborate holographic theme worlds (like Camelot and Gaslight, which meticulously recreates Victorian England), all run by an ultrasophisticated computer system and serviced by robots. When a series of fluke accidents culminates in the near death of a boy on a Gaslight roller coaster, the Utopia brain trust calls in the original computer engineer, Dr. Andrew Warne. Warne arrives with his bristly 14-year-old daughter, Georgia, and sets to work solving the Gaslight problem, though he can't believe that the system is willfully malfunctioning, as the evidence seems to indicate. To complicate matters, Utopia's manager, Sarah Boatwright, is Warne's ex-girlfriend, and an obvious mutual attraction exists between Warne and Utopia systems controller Teresa Bonifacio. Just as Warne gets to work, violent attacks erupt all over the park, masterminded by an impassive psychopath known as John Doe and carried out by his cadre of henchmen, including a computer genius and a crack marksman. For three hours, Doe holds the park hostage, and Warne, Boatwright and Bonifacio race against the clock to foil his plans. Child creates a convincingly self-contained world, populated by amusing creations like a cyber-dog called Wingnut and clever descriptions of futuristic amusement park rides. Sluggish prose and an overload of technical detail slow the pace, but Child proves he is capable of fireworks (literally) at the rousing conclusion. (Dec.)
The most technologically advanced amusement park in the world is Utopia. Located in an isolated corner of the barren Nevada desert, it consists of four separate theme worlds: Camelot, where guests encounter life in the Middle Ages; The Boardwalk, which is a flashback to the United States of the early 1900s; Gaslight, where visitors encounter the world of Victorian England; and Callisto, where the setting is the future in space. Each world is accurate, yet safe, thanks to Andrew Warne's amazing computer wizardry. Andrew returns to Utopia accompanied by his teenage daughter, Georgia, to work on a fifth world, but the real reason for his presence is that computers have been malfunctioning, rides have failed, and a fatality has even occurred. When Andrew attempts to diagnose and fix the system, he finds the problems are being caused by a group of high-tech criminals determined to hold the park hostage for the lives of every single person enjoying Utopia. Teens will be interested by the inside story of how huge amusement parks are run, they will be carried along by Child's roller-coaster writing, and they will especially enjoy the character of successful computer nerd Andrew. Give this book to teens who enjoyed other tales of theme parks gone hugely wrong, such as Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton (Knopf, 1990/VOYA June 1991), or to those who may have discovered Westworld, Crichton's 1973 film about an amusement park where the computers take over. Teens are guaranteed to finish the book, wishing that the amusement park Utopia actually existed. VOYA Codes: 4Q 4P S A/YA (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Broad general YA appeal; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12; Adultand Young Adult). 2002, Doubleday, 385p,
— Joanna Morrison
Library Journal
Child departs from Douglas Preston, his coconspirator on books like Relic, to craft this creepy tale of trouble at a techno theme park. Criminals take over the computer system and threaten bloody havoc if their demands aren't met. Can computer genius Dr. Andrew Warne save the day?
School Library Journal
Adult/High School-Utopia, the largest, most technologically advanced theme park in the world, draws in revenue to match its size. When problems begin to show up with the Metanet, the system controlling the robotics in the park, no one suspects anything but a computing error. When Dr. Andrew Warne, designer of the Metanet and the robotics, comes to fix the trouble, bringing his teenage daughter with him, the two are immediately caught up in terrorist plots to frighten both staff and visitors. Child takes the story chronologically through one day's events, increasing the tension as time ticks by. Minutes are noted, emphasizing the amount of action occurring in a small segment of time, and events that may be happening simultaneously in another part of the park are also pointed out. In this not-too-remote future, the technology ranges from realistic, full-sized holograms to advanced communications systems. Dr. Warne carries most of the character development, but Angus Poole almost steals the lead. He is visiting the park when he becomes involved in rescuing others after a terrorist event. His background in both military and security training provides him with the ability to perform the physical action required. Together, Warne and Poole make an unbeatable team, but admirable secondary characters, including a robot, add to this fast-paced adventure.-Pam Johnson, Fairfax County Public Library, VA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A book that was much better when it had dinosaurs in it. This time around, the deadly park in question is the eponymous Utopia, a sort of mixture of Westworld and Disneyland rising out of the desert outside of Las Vegas. Conceived by Child (coauthor, with Douglas Preston: Thunderhead, 1999, etc.), built by Eric Nightingale, a Walt Disney-like children's entertainment impresario, the park is a technological wonder set into the desert canyons that includes four different themed worlds: Gaslight (old London), Callisto (space age future), Camelot (medieval times) and Boardwalk (a Coney Island simulacra). Not to mention the casinos that, together with the $75 entry fee, the gift shops and restaurants, take in a total of about $100 million a week. So no reader should be surprised that just as Dr. Andrew Warne, the computer genius who designed much of Utopia's hyperautomated mesh of computers and robots, arrives in Utopia, a band of criminals is putting their big heist into play. They've got inside people, a deadly sniper on the outside, a brilliant hacker, and a psychopathic leader named John Doe. Having thoroughly hacked Utopia's systems, Doe's people are able to kill at whim among Utopia's 65,000 visitors, especially by causing the park's rides to suddenly malfunction, if park personnel don't give in to their demands. It's up to a fast-thinking Warne, a plucky tech sidekick named Terri, and a right-place-at-the-right-time guest by the name of Poole who's on Warne's side and just happens to have a background in security. Child's descriptions of the park in all its holographic glory is so lovingly and precisely detailed that you hate to have to deal with the mostly clueless people who dashabout this deadly paradise just as they've been doing since the invention of the disaster novel. There are worse ways to kill a few hours than with Utopia, but, oh, what it could have done with a batch of hungry velociraptors.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780345455208
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 12/2/2003
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: First Ballantine Mass Market Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 464
  • Sales rank: 245,748
  • Product dimensions: 4.16 (w) x 6.87 (h) x 0.98 (d)

Meet the Author

Lincoln Child

LINCOLN CHILD is the coauthor, with Douglas Preston, of Relic, Riptide, The Cabinet of Curiosities, and other bestsellers. He lives with his wife and daughter in Morristown, New Jersey.


Born in Westport, CT, in 1958, Lincoln Child grew up with a consuming interest in writing. (On his website, he acknowledges several short stories from his youth and two "exquisitely embarrassing" novels penned in high school -- and currently kept under lock and key!) He graduated from Carleton College in Minnesota with a degree in English. In 1979, he moved to New York to pursue a career in publishing and was hired by St. Martin's Press as an editorial assistant. By 1984, he had worked his way up to full editor.

It was around this time that Child met Douglas Preston, a writer employed by the American Museum of Natural History. Author and editor bonded while working together on the nonfiction book Dinosaurs in the Attic; and when the project ended, Preston treated Child to a private midnight tour of the AMNH. The excursion proved fateful: Exploring the deserted corridors and darkened nooks and crannies of the museum, Child turned to Preston and said, "This would make the perfect setting for a thriller!" Although the book would not see print until 1995, the idea for Relic was born that night, cementing a friendship and launching a unique cross-country writing partnership.

Child left St. Martin's in 1987 to went to work for MetLife as a systems analyst. Shortly after the publication of Relic, he resigned his position to become a full-time writer. Subsequent collaborations with Preston have produced an intriguing string of interconnected novels that are less a series than what the authors call a "pangea." The books are self-contained, but the stories take place in the same universe and they share events and characters -- including many introduced in Relic. Readers obviously enjoy this cross-pollination, since the Preston-Child thrillers turn up regularly on the bestseller charts.

In 2002, Child released his first solo novel, Utopia, the story of a futuristic amusement park held hostage by a group of techno-terrorists. Other solo works have followed, blending cutting-edge science and high-octane thrills. Preston, too, has produced fiction and nonfiction on his own, and the two men continue their successful collaborations. It's an arrangement that suits both writers to a tee.

Good To Know

While at St. Martin's, Lincoln Child assembled several collections of ghost and horror stories. He also founded the company's mass-market horror division.

On his website, Child lists the following among his interests: pre-1950s literature and poetry; post-1950s popular fiction; playing the piano, various MIDI instruments, and the 5-string banjo; English and American history; motorcycles; architecture; classical music, early jazz, blues, and R&B; exotic parrots; esoteric programming languages; mountain hiking; bow ties; Italian suits; fedoras; archaeology; and multiplayer deathmatching.

In our interview Child shared some fun and fascinating personal anecdotes.

"I try to write about things, places, events, and phenomena I know about personally. That helps make the novels more genuine. My grandmother, Nora Kubie, who was herself a published novelist, always gave me that advice. And it's probably the best I've received, or for that matter given. I even try to make use of my personal eccentricities and quirks. I hate subways, for example, and in such works as Reliquary I tried to instill -- or at least convey -- that groundless but persistent fear."

"My first job out of college was as an editorial assistant in a New York publishing house. Being an editorial assistant is the purgatory would-be editors must endure before they can ascend the ladder and begin acquiring books on their own. I spent a year filing paperwork, writing copy, and typing rejection letters."

"For me, writing never gets easier. It's always hard work. It doesn't matter how many words you wrote the day before, or how many novels you've completed in the last decade: every day you start fresh again with that same blank page, or that same blank screen. As long as the work, and the finished product, remains fresh and important to a writer -- and the day it stops being important to me is the day I'll lay down my pen -- said writer can never allow himself to coast, or go soft, or recycle old material, or take the easy way out."

"I like exotic parrots, motorcycles, wine from Pauillac, playing the piano and the banjo, the poetry of John Keats, the music of Fats Waller, collecting old books and new guitars, computer FPS and RPG games, and preparing dishes like caneton a l'Orange and desserts like soufflé au chocolat."

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Read an Excerpt

7:30 AM

From its jumping-off place at Charleston Boulevard, above the Las Vegas strip, Rancho Drive makes a casual bend to the left and heads straight for Reno. It arrows northwest with absolute precision, ignoring all natural or artificial temptations to curve, as if in a hurry to leave neon and green felt far behind. Country clubs, shopping centers, and finally even the sad-looking ersatz adobe suburbs fall away. The Mojave Desert, tucked beneath the asphalt and concrete sprawl, reasserts itself. Spidery tendrils of sand trace their way across what the signs start calling Route 95. Joshua trees, hirsute and sprawling, dot the greasewood desert. Cacti stand like standard-bearers to the emptiness. After the frantic, crowded glitter, the gradual transition to vast empty spaces seems otherworldly. Except for the highway, the hand of man appears not to have touched this place.

Andrew Warne tilted his rearview mirror sharply upward and to the right, sighing with relief as the dazzling brightness receded. "How could I possibly have come to Vegas without bringing dark glasses?" he said. "The sun shines 366 days a year in this place."

The girl in the seat beside him smirked, adjusted her headphones. "That's my dad. The absent-minded professor."

"Ex-professor, you mean."

The road ahead was a burning line of white. The surrounding desert seemed bleached by the glare, yucca and creosote bush reduced to pale specters. Idly, Warne laid the palm of his hand against the window, then snatched it away. Seven-thirty AM, and already it had to be a hundred degrees outside. Even the rental car seemed to have adapted to the desert conditions: its climate control was stuck on the maximum AC setting.

As they approached Indian Springs, a low plateau rose to the east: Nellis Air Force Base. Gas stations began to appear every few miles, out of place in the empty void, sparkling clean, so new they looked to Warne as if they'd just been unwrapped. He glanced at a printed sheet that lay clipped to a folder between their seats. Not far now. And there it was: a freeway exit sign, bright green, newly minted. Utopia. One mile.

The girl also noticed the sign. "Are we there yet?" she asked.

"Very funny, princess."

"You know I hate it when you call me princess. I'm fourteen. That's a name for a little kid."

"You act like a little kid sometimes."

The girl frowned at this, turned up the volume on her music player. The resultant thumping was clear even over the air conditioner.

"Careful, Georgia, you'll give yourself tinnitus. What's that you're listening to, anyway?"


"Well, that's an improvement, at least. Last month it was gothic rock. The month before, it was—what was it?"


"Euro-house. Can't you settle on a style you like?"

Georgia shrugged. "I'm too intelligent for that."

The difference was evident the moment they reached the bottom of the exit ramp. The road surface changed: instead of the cracked gray concrete of U. S. Highway 95, lined like a reptile's skin by countless repairs, it became a pale, smooth red, with more lanes than the freeway they'd just left. Sculpted lights sloped gracefully over the macadam. For the first time in twenty miles, Warne could see cars on the road ahead. He followed them as the highway began a smooth, even climb from the alkali flats. The signs here were white, with blue letters, and they all seemed to say the same thing: Guest Parking Ahead.

The parking lot, almost empty at this early hour, was mind-numbingly large. Following the arrows, Warne drove past a cluster of oversized recreational vehicles, dwarfed like insects by the expanse of blacktop. He'd snorted in disbelief when someone told him seventy thousand people visited the park each day; now, he was inclined to believe it. In the seat beside him, Georgia was looking around. Despite the practiced air of teenage ennui, she could not completely conceal her eagerness.

Another mile and a half brought them to the front of the lot and a long, low structure with the word 'Embarkation' displayed along its roof in Art Deco letters. There were more cars here, people in shorts and sandals milling about. As he eased up to a tollgate, a parking attendant approached, indicating Warne to lower his window. The man wore a white polo shirt, the stylized logo of a small bird sewn on the left breast.

Warne reached into the folder, pulled out a laminated card. The attendant studied it, then plucked a digital stylus from his belt and examined its screen. After a moment, he handed the passcard back to Warne, motioning him through.

He parked beside a line of yellow trams, then dropped the passcard into his shirt pocket. "Here we are," he said. And then, looking out at the Embarkation building, he paused momentarily, thinking.

"You're not going to try to get back together with Sarah again, are you?"

Startled by the question, Warne looked over. Georgia returned his gaze.

It was remarkable, really, the way she could read his mind sometimes. Maybe it was the amount of time they spent together, the degree they had come to rely on each other in recent years. But whatever the case, it could be very annoying. Especially when she chose only to speculate on his more sensitive thoughts.

The girl lowered her headphones. "Dad, don't do it. She's a real ball-buster."

"Watch your mouth, Georgia." He pulled a small white envelope from the folder. "You know, I don't think there's a woman on earth that would pass muster with you. You want me to stay a widower the rest of my life?"

He said this with a little more force than he'd intended. Georgia's only response was to roll her eyes and replace the headphones on her head.

Andrew Warne loved Georgia intensely, almost painfully. Yet he'd never anticipated how difficult it would be to navigate the world, to raise a daughter, all by himself. Sometimes he wondered if he was making a royal mess of the job. It was at times like this that he missed Charlotte most acutely. She would have known what to do. She always knew just what to do.

He looked at Georgia another moment. Then he sighed, took hold of the door again, and yanked it open.

Instantly, furnace-like air boiled in. Warne slammed the door, waited for Georgia to hoist her backpack onto her shoulders and follow, then hopped over the shimmering tarmac to the Transportation Center.

Inside, it was pleasantly chilly. The Center was spotless and functional, framed in blond wood and brushed metal. Glass-fronted ticket windows stretched in an endless line to the left and right, deserted save for one directly ahead. Another display of the laminated card and they were past and headed down a brightly-lit corridor. In an hour or so, he knew, this space would be jammed with harried parents, squirming kids, chattering tour guides. Now, there was nothing but rows of metal crowd rails and the click of his heels on the pristine floor.

A monorail was already waiting at the loading zone, low-slung and silver, its doors open. Oversized windows curved up both sides, meeting at the transport mechanism that clung to the overhead rail. Warne had never ridden on a suspended monorail before, and he did not relish the prospect. He could see a scattering of riders inside, mostly men and women in business suits. An operator directed them to the frontmost car. It was, as usual, spotless, its sole occupants a heavyset man in the front and a short, bespectacled man in the rear. Though the monorail had not yet left the Center, the heavyset man was looking around busily, his pasty, heavy-browed face a mask of excitement and anticipation.

Warne let Georgia take the window seat, then slid in beside her. Almost before they were seated, a low chime sounded and the doors came noiselessly together. There was a brief lurch, followed by silky acceleration. Welcome to the Utopia monorail, a female voice said from everywhere and nowhere. It was not the usual voice Warne had heard on public address systems: instead, it was rich, sophisticated, with a trace of a British accent. Travel time to the Nexus will be approximately eight minutes and thirty seconds. For your safety and comfort, we ask that you remain in your seats for the duration of the ride.

Suddenly, brilliant light bathed the compartment as the Center fell away behind them. Ahead and above, dual monorail tracks curved gently through the center of a narrow sandstone canyon. Warne glanced down quickly, then almost snatched his feet away in surprise. What he had supposed to be a solid floor was actually a series of glass panels. Below his feet was now an unobstructed drop of perhaps a hundred feet to the rocky canyon floor. He took a deep breath and looked away.

"Cool," Georgia said.

The canyon we are traveling through is geologically very old, the voice went smoothly on. Along its rim, you can see the juniper, sagebrush, and scrub pinon characteristic of the high desert . . .

"Can you believe this?" said a voice in his ear. Turning, Warne saw that—in flagrant defiance of the remain-seated edict—the heavyset man had walked back through the car to take a seat across from them. He wore a painfully orange floral shirt, had bright black eyes, and a smile that seemed too big for his face. Like Warne, he had a small envelope in his hand. "Pepper, Norman Pepper. My God, what a view. And in the first car, too. We'll have a great view of the Nexus. Never been here before, but I've heard it's outstanding. Outstanding. Imagine, buying a whole mountain, or mesa, or whatever you call it, for a theme park! Is this your daughter? Pretty girl you've got there."

"Say thank you, Georgia," Warne said.

"Thank you, Georgia," came a most unconvincing reply.

... On the canyon wall to the right of the train, you can see a series of pictographs. These red-and-white anthropomorphs are the work of the prehistoric inhabitants of this region, the period now known as Basketmaker II, which flourished almost three thousand years ago . . .

"So what's your specialty?" Pepper asked.

"I'm sorry?"

The man shrugged his squat shoulders. "Well, you obviously don't work at the park, 'cause y'all are riding the monorail in. And the park hasn't opened yet, so you're not a visitor. That means you've got to be a consultant or a specialist. Right? So is everybody on the train, I'll bet."

"I'm an—I'm in robotics," Warne replied.


"Artificial intelligence."

"Artificial intelligence," came the echo. "Uh huh." He took a breath, opened his mouth for another question.

"What about you?" Warne interjected quickly.

At this the man smiled even more broadly. He put his finger to one side of his nose and winked conspiratorially. "Dendrobium giganteum."

Warne looked at him blankly.

"Cattleya dowiana. You know." The man seemed shocked.

Warne spread his hands. "Sorry."

"Orchids." The man sniffed. "Thought you might have guessed when you heard my name. I'm the exotic botanist who did all the work at the New York Exposition last year, maybe you read about it? Anyway, they want some special hybrids for the atheneum they're building in Atlantis. And they're having some problems with the night-bloomers in Gaslight. Don't like the humidity or something." He spread his hands expansively, knocking both his and Warne's envelopes to the ground. "All expenses paid, first class ticket, nice fat consultancy fee—and it'll look great on my resume, too."

Warne nodded as the man retrieved the fallen envelopes, passed his back. That he could believe. Utopia was supposedly so fanatical about the accuracy of its themed Worlds that scholars were occasionally seen wandering around, slack-jawed, taking notes. Georgia was gazing around at the canyon, paying no attention to Pepper.

...The twenty square miles owned here by Utopia is rich in natural resources and beauty, including two springs and a catchment basin . . .

Pepper glanced over his shoulder. "How about you?"

Warne had almost forgotten the slightly-built man with glasses sitting behind them. The man blinked back, as if considering the question. "Smythe," he said. "Pyro."

"Pyrotechnics? You mean, like fireworks?"

The man smoothed his fingers over the tiny toothbrush moustache that grew in the shadow of his nose. "I design the special shows, like the recent six-month celebration. Troubleshooting, too. Some of the late-show indoor chrysanthemums are launching too high, breaking panes of glass in the dome."

"Can't have that," Pepper said.

"And in the Griffin Tower show, guests are complaining the maroons at the end are too loud." The man fell silent abruptly, shrugged, turned his head to look out the window.

Warne shifted his own gaze to the passing russet-colored cliffs, then back to the interior of the monorail. Something had been bothering him, and he suddenly realized what it was. He turned to Pepper. "Where are all the characters, the action figures, Oberon, Morpheus, Pendragon? I haven't seen so much as a decal."

"Oh, they're around, all right—in the shops and some of the children's attractions. But you won't see any guys in rodent suits walking around. Nightingale was very particular about that, they say. Very concerned about the purity of the experience. That's why all this—" he waved a pudgy hand—"the Transportation Center, the monorail, even the Nexus—is so understated. No commercialization. Makes the actual Worlds that much more real. Or so I've heard." He turned to the quiet man behind them. "Right?"

Smythe nodded.

Pepper leaned a bit closer to Warne. "Never thought too much of Nightingale's stuff myself. Those Blackstone Chronicles animated movies, based on his old magic act? Too dark. But my kids are crazy for it. And they watch his cartoons every week, like clockwork. They almost killed me when they heard I was coming here, and they couldn't tag along." Pepper chuckled, rubbing his hands together. Warne had read books where people rubbed their hands in anticipation, but he wasn't sure he'd ever actually seen anybody do it.

"My daughter would have killed me if I didn't bring her," he replied. "Ouch!" he yelped as Georgia kicked him beneath the seat.

There was a brief silence. Warne rubbed his calf.

"So, you think it's true they've got a nuclear reactor buried underneath the park?" Pepper asked.


"That's the rumor. I mean, just imagine the electrical overhead. The place is its own municipality, for heaven's sake. Think of the juice it must take to keep the whole place going, air conditioning, rides, computers. I asked one of the hosts back in the Center, and she said they used hydro-electric power. Hydro-electric! In the middle of the desert! I...hey, look—there it is!"

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Customer Reviews

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( 65 )
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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 29, 2012

    Disneyland on LSD

    What an engaging idea...to have such evil spring from a loving creation? Yes it is formulaic, but a formula for spine tingling fun reading.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 26, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Good Rainy Day Thrills

    This is a pretty quick read but I found that at times it moved too slowly for me. It seemed that the author was trying to impress the reader with unnecessary details and prose. This is a thriller and, in my opinion, ought to have focused more on the action and tension among the characters than on the reiteration of the past and relationships among them. The ideas and the story had the potential to be much more exciting than they played out in this story, and certain explanations became so wordy I had a hard time imagining what the author was describing. Overall I did enjoy this book because of the futuristic technologies described in the parks, but it is not one that will remain in my collection.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 21, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Decent thriller, if a little familiar

    I've been a fan of both Lincoln Child and Douglas Preston for years. I've thoroughly enjoyed the Special Agent Pendergast series, in which they collaborate, as well as their individual works. I also love theme parks. So this book seemed to be a perfect match, and for the most part it was. There was a serious Deja Vu vibe happening while reading this, and I guess that is my biggest issue with the book, it just seems all too familiar.

    Then it hit me, this book is basically Westworld meets Rollercoaster meets Die Hard. You have the killer robots from the movie "Westworld". You have the terrorist(s) holding a Theme Park hostage, just like the movie "Rollercoaster", and you have the everyman, trying to beat the team of well armed bad guys, just like "Die Hard".

    The action is well paced, and keeps the book moving well enough. The plot is basic, and the resolution easily predictable. All in all a fun read, but certainly nothing you're going to spend hours ruminating over.

    So what's my final assessment? Well I'd say this is just an okay book. Nothing horrible, but nothing spectacular either. I would recommend other's read some of Mr. Child's other books, and come back to this one.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 12, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Awesome. One of my favorites

    This book is a must read!!! The plot is fabulous and pulls you in right from the beginning. It has an unlikely hero and a cast of great characters. The twists and turns of the plot keep you guessing and just when you think you know where it is going, think again. It explains the way a computerized theme park works but doesn't get too technical. You can easily put yourself in the park and it makes you wish you could visit. If you love Michael Crichton, this author book and it's author are for you. I will read it again for sure. Loved the ride.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 18, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    this was a great read

    i thought this book was an amazing piece of work to help me escape the daily monontony. it was imaginative and fun. I couldn't put it down. i found myself wishing i was at the park waiting in line for a ride! i think Lincoln Child is an excellent author and have read several of his books.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 24, 2012



    1 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 6, 2012



    1 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 3, 2014

    Re: NOOO

    Please disregard the 5 star ratIng I haven't read the book, but I check customers reviews to get a better idea of what other readers have thought of it. What did you mean. The use of language, or was it foul language? If it is foul language, it may be just part of the character development. If the narrative was foul, then it's bad use of the english language. If you are going to write a review, please be clear in that regard.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 2, 2014

    Mat Rock~A poem by MoonLight

    A whisper, <br> Your voice moves on, <br> Into the night. <p> A tight throat, <br> A scream, <br> Crying that seems, <br> It will never end. <p> You may have been depressed, <br> Refusing help as it went, <br> But did you, <br> Did you, <br> Have to take your life, <br> Hanging by a tree? <p> Did you have to go missing, <br> Two days before they found you? <p> Did you have to leave, <br> Friends, <br> Family. <p> We mourn for you now, <br> More importantly than ever, <p> For now it has been, <br> Almost three months since you died, <br> Where they found you, <br> Hanging from a tree, <br> That Thursday morning. <p> I miss you Mat, <br> I hope one day, <br> I will get to join you. <p> [This poem is dedicated to one of my great friends, Mathew Rockefeller, who took his life July 10, 2014. I miss him a lot, and decided to write a poem. Hope you liked it.] <p> ~**~MoonLight~**~

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 30, 2013

    Really enjoyed this book....Highly recommend...

    I enjoy Preston and Child books....this is the first I read by Child alone.....and I will be reading more .....It was a thrill ride...and if you enjoy amusement parks you would love this one....read it you won't be sorry

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 12, 2013


    My friend accidentally bought this book

    0 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2013


    I have read this book over and over again so many times since it first came out in paperback that I have lost count. And yet my book is still in good shape. A quality book in more ways than one. They just don't make them like this any more! I HIGHLY RECOMMEND!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2013

    Great book


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  • Posted December 28, 2012

    Highly Recommended

    This is an excellent story with constant twists and turns. It will keep your attention, no matter what you might think your favorite genre might be.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 6, 2012


    Walks to camp

    0 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 7, 2012

    Like a roller coaster

    Good suspense down to the last page.

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  • Posted December 27, 2010

    Great fun read!

    The techy in me loved this book. As always, I was engulfed by Mr. Child's story.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 20, 2009

    Lincoln Child's UTOPIA was one exciting roller-coaster read.

    I loved this book. The writing was top notch and the suspense was nail-biting. I really enjoyed how everything happened in less than a day...sort of like the tv show 24.

    Utopia itself sounds like a great amusement park, if only it weren't a fantasy!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 14, 2006

    Jurassic Park without dinosaurs

    Jurassic Park fans look out! There are a great deal of similarities between Utopia and Crichton¿s Jurassic Park. (No dinosaurs though). Utopia is a new modern amusement park with every innovation and thrill ride imaginable. I wish it existed I would love to visit. Things go wrong for a variety of reasons but to me the great strength of the novel is attention to detail and the knowledgeable descriptions of the behind the scenes working of a huge amusement park. Lincoln Child really did his homework on this one.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 27, 2005

    Best Book I've Ever Read

    I picked up Utopia on vacation last May, and I loved it from the opening pages. I've read many, many books in my twenty-two years of life, but Utopia ranks as my favorite, and one I will definitely enjoy for years to come. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants a good, interesting read!

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