If Robert Ludlum ever wrote a book for young adults, it would probably be a lot like Whyman's action-packed techno-thriller. Carl Hobbes, a 17-year-old British hacker, has penetrated the ultimate network: he's hacked into Fort Knox. Although he hasn't done it for profit ("I did it because I could.... It was the security measures I wanted to beat"), his ingenuity isn't exactly appreciated. The U.S. government essentially kidnaps him, and, along with some of the most infamous mercenaries and terrorists in the worlds, transports him to a U.S. detainment camp in the Arctic Circle known as the Guantánamo Bay of the North" for questioning. Soon after arrival, Hobbes and other enemies of the state are subjected to brutal interrogations-but when one of the detainees successfully stages a violent uprising, Hobbes must decide which side he is on. Powered by a fast-paced narrative, the exploration of numerous timely themes-criminality on the digital frontier, the war on terrorism, the ethics of torture and prolonged detainment versus human rights-gives this eminently readable adventure a degree of depth. Ages 12-up. (Dec.)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
AGERANGE: Ages 12 up.
Imagine a British teenage computer hacker who manages to get into Fort Knox! And he does not want any of the gold--he has done it for the thrill of doing it. Unfortunately, he is not alone. Everything has been done online so he does not know any of the people he is dealing with except by their computer identities. Big mistake, as any fan of mysteries knows. Suddenly Carl is on a plane; his fellow passengers all seem to be criminals, and the man sitting next to him is some kind of government agent--his "control." It is a long flight and the plane does not seem to be in perfect condition, but finally they reach their destination. It is so cold, they are warned that they would not survive outside for more than half an hour, so there is no point in trying to escape. Carl would just like to survive inside. Now the plot gets a little strange. As soon as Carl enters the interview room, the head guard beats him up and slams him into a cage. The criminals inside the prison, he realizes, are not the only ones he has to worry about. Then there is the girl in the cage across from him. A girl? In the prison called ICECORE? Who is she really? It will be days before he learns that she is Chimera, the screen name of Beth Nelson, who actually got some of the gold! As if the story was not unbelievable before, we get even more unrealistic, to the point where I am unable to suppress disbelief. Now it is all violence--more revelations about the criminals inside, more beatings, some shooting, some death. Finally Carl and Beth are outside, freezing but more or less safe, deciding what to do with the rest of their lives. Basically, an unsatisfactory end--do we really care? Probablynot. Reviewer: Judy Silverman
On a dare, Carl Hobbes, an accomplished computer hacker, bypasses the security at Fort Knox. When arrested, he is given a choice by the FBI. He can stand trial and risk the near certainty of a lifetime in prison, or he can make a full confession and show the FBI how he broke in. After he makes his confession, he is sent to a secret government prison in the Arctic for debriefing. Upon arriving, he begins to realize the depth of the plot of which he was an unwitting part. Subject to casual brutality and at the center of a rapidly unfolding conspiracy, he must stay alive and convince a skeptical bureaucracy of his innocence. This novel is hampered by an excess of exposition. The break-in at Fort Knox, which would be an engaging first section, is instead told in flashback. The reader is not trusted to put the pieces of the ultimate conspiracy together and is instead told by Carl. Once the exposition is dealt with, however, the novel picks up considerably. In several well-written and exciting set pieces, Carl breaks out of his Arctic prison, defeats the conspiracy, and escapes into a possible sequel. Patrons looking for a thriller will find the novel satisfying, provided that they are able to look past the exposition-heavy narrative.
Gr 8 Up
When Carl Hobbes, 17, hacks into the computers that keep the doors to Fort Knox closed, he is tracked down by U.S. authorities and sent to a maximum-security location in the middle of a frozen landscape with other, far scarier criminals (terrorists, murderers, mercenaries) than himself. After all, his crime was simply opening some doors-what happened after that was out of his control. He tells the truth about his hacking to the commander at the Icecore compound, but everything there turns out to be extreme, from the freezing temperatures to brutality, and even what happens when Carl thinks he's finally leaving his personal hell on earth. Readers are repeatedly led to believe that they know what will happen next, but Whyman has the subtle knack of taking them in a completely unexpected but convincing direction. Superbly written and perfectly paced, the book expertly reveals the teen's despair and anger as things start to spiral out of control. Readers are continually left wondering, "How will Carl get himself out of this one?" The subtitle implies that this teen will be back in further adventures.
Dylan ThomarieCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Another action thriller from Britain follows a young computer hacker who falls prey to the American rendition scheme and must escape from a top-security prison camp located in a frozen Arctic wasteland. Seventeen-year-old Carl Hobbes breaks into Fort Knox in virtual fashion, operating from his home computer. Although Carl pledges to tell the Americans how he did it, he's essentially kidnapped from England and flown to a remote prison along with bona-fide terrorists. Characterizations tend toward the extreme, if shallow, side, but add some nice color to the narrative. However, the good cop/bad cop personalities of the Americans are nothing compared to the actual terrorist who takes over the camp. Even in this males-only outpost, Whyman manages to include the obligatory hot babe. In the same entertainment-only vein of the Alex Rider series, but with a bit more depth and maturity. Great for action fans. (Fiction. YA)