Unholy Domain

Unholy Domain

by Dan Ronco
4.5 7

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Unholy Domain 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Megalith More than 1 year ago
In Dan Ronco's futuristic techno-thriller Unholy Domain, high technology squares off against religion in a battle for the human race. In 2022, ten years after a crippling computer virus called "PeaceMaker" caused massive devastation, technology has been outlawed. On the black market, however, technology is in demand, and artificial intelligence has allowed the development of human-looking robots. Those who trade in illegal technology, the "Domain", include those who develop artificial intelligence, and those who distribute it on the black market. The Church of Natural Humans believes technology is evil, and that all who support artificial intelligence deserve death. As a way of furthering its agenda, the church supports a clandestine terrorist group called "The Army of God." They are led by the First Minister, who treats women with contempt and enemies with brutality. The religion and technology factions are locked in deadly conflict, with humankind stuck in the middle. David Brown is the son of Ray Brown, the man who was blamed for setting off the PeaceMaker virus, and he has grown up hating his father. When he receives a years-delayed e-mail from Ray, proclaiming his innocence, David begins a search for the truth. An interesting wrinkle is David's ability to communicate with artificial intelligence, which helps fuel his search. Unfortunately, there are many who will kill to keep David from learning the truth. Unholy Domain moves along at a lightning pace, and engages the reader with action and thrills aplenty. The premise of religion versus technology is thought-provoking, as are the quotes with which Ronco begins each chapter. The concept of holy war and the moral and ethical questions the book evokes remind the reader of issues in society today. The negatives in my mind were that the book reads almost like a movie script. That is both good and bad. The good, of course, is that the pacing keeps you turning the pages. The bad is that story lines and characters lack depth. I would have enjoyed more character development, and a deeper exploration of the theological basis of the Church of Natural Humans, for example. Overall, Unholy Domain is a solid addition to the thriller genre. It can be read and enjoyed as a stand-alone novel, but readers might want to first read PeaceMaker, the first book in the series.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Unholy Domain is written with much intelligence and finesse. Dan Ronco presents a world where technology is out of control. In 2012, a computer virus called the Peacemaker was released, and over a million humans died. The economy spiraled down into a depression. People question whether technology is good or evil. There are two factions, Technos (scientists) verses Church of Natural Humans (theologians), fighting to control the world. Both sides have their own agenda. One man stands alone in the quest for truth and to clear his father¿s name. Dan Ronco¿s Unholy Domain is a realistic thriller. Ronco does go overboard in describing the females, and he comes across as a bit sexist. The plot is imaginative and pulls the reader into the story. I could not put this one down. The characters are brilliant, the pace is non-stop action, and the premise is chilling. This is a must read for fans of science fiction.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Daring, innovative, and predictive of ethical quandaries yet to arrive, Unholy Domain is a novel to be reckoned with. Author Dan Ronco utilizes his vast understanding of engineering and technology to give us a vision of the future well within the realm of possibility. This could be one of those rare occasions when we as a people could learn the lessons for mistakes we have yet to make. The drama that defines these lessons is not bad either. Unholy Domain sets the stage for a future where the internet has been integrated into nearly every business, streetlight and punch clock. A collection of scientists have gathered to create an organization known as the Domain. Their purpose is to allow Artificial intelligence to reach the point where it can assume human traits and be used to enhance physical beings. This bold approach produces a counterculture movement driven by a militant religious sect known as the Army of God. A subversive war rages between these factions worsening the already diminished strength of the world economy. Inevitably, David Brown finds himself in the center of it all. It is one thing to be the man who almost destroyed society but it is quite another to be his son. David grew up under the dark shadow of his father¿s horrific misdeeds. His father, Raymond, had a brilliant mind for computers that somehow got out of control when he launched a virus that delivered chaos amongst the masses. Young David has the same gifts as his father and was always a little skeptical of the official story of his Dad¿s guilt and subsequent death. After receiving a time lapse e-mail insistent upon his innocence David sets off on a journey back into the blackened hallways of his father¿s past. Here we are given a world where techology rules not only the economic stability but also the sustainability of humanity. It is in this vortex where ethical walls are breached. Should so much power ever be controlled by the specific knowledge of so few? How can a society be maintained if it is constantly split between those who can afford the ultimate software and those who cannot? I found myself captivated by the fast-paced action and multiple storylines. As the dueling ideologies espouse their vision, I was struck by the persuasivness of their arguments. Often I wasn't sure who to root for. Each side contains well rounded characters driven by both personal ambition and organizational responsibility. A tug of will between any two produces an explosion of emotional conflict and each of these battles edges their convictions closer to the apex of the government's power center. The author presses forth with curvy heroines and breakneck urgency until a rather abrupt ending stops the reader and forces them into waiting for the next book. While the ending could be considered a cruel teaser, it¿s still very easy to fall into fandom over this type of writing.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a very entertaining yet very thought-provoking novel. Many times during the course of history technological advances have made those in power feel threatened. Galileo and Copernicus were commanded to renounce their discoveries and modern scientists are challenged as they work with genetics and theories relating to the creation of the universes simply because their facts and experiments do not adhere to the church¿s religious doctrine. Dan Ronco has challenged us to look ahead and imagine the conflict between scientists and theologians in our future. ¿Unholy Domain¿ details a power struggle between the religious leaders who denounce the use of robotics as unnatural and the scientist, who through their technological knowledge, want to be in complete control. With clear, concise details and strong characterization of each participant in the novel, Dan Ronco has given us a plausible if not probable look into our future.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In 2012, the PeaceMaker virus destroyed the Internet causing pandemic catastrophes as so much of the world was tied to cyber space with millions dead as a consequence. Over the next decade since this debacle destroyed the global economy, the government has banned the development of new technology outside of what the Feds create. The Technos strongly object to the taboo while the Church of Natural Humans want all technology outlawed.----------------- The Domain has developed new illegal technology with the intention of a coup d¿etat to take control of the government the Church wants to expand its hold on the government. These two groups are ready to take their cold war hot. At the same time David Brown, the son of software guru Ray Brown, the person universally blamed for unleashing PeaceMaker, wants to prove his dad is innocent of these charges. He does not care one iota about the power struggle.-------------- The second PeaceMaker tale (see THE PEACEMAKER) is an exciting follow-up warning to the premise that the destruction of the Internet will lead to many direct deaths and a global collapse exponentially worse than that of the Great Depression. The story line is fast-paced, filled with plenty of action as David (apropos first name) is a human sharing space with two five hundred pound battling gorillas. Although the rampart sexism seems unnecessarily comical and ergo out of place UNHOLY DOMAIN is an entertaining futuristic cautionary thriller.---------------- Harriet Klausner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
PaigeLucken More than 1 year ago
'Unholy Domain' can be best described as a science fiction techno-thriller combined with speculative fiction. This is the second book in a trilogy, set between 'Peacemaker' and '2031: The Singularity Pogrom'. I have to date not read the other two in the series, but did not find this a hindrance while reading this book. References are made to 'Peacemaker', yet they are fairly self-explanatory. Set in a highly believable Gibson-style dystopian future where humanity is fighting itself over the use of technology: this novel brings into focus long held fears of what would happen to humanity if technology went too far. Or if we lost our access to technology and reverted back to a time before we were so reliant on it. There are classic Marxist similes in this novel and it is easy to see the disparity between rich and poor, religious and capitalist etc. This novel creates a future that is not so different from human history and some nations at present and utilises themes that are likely to follow humanity for many more centuries. The world is a very different place from our own, society and its infrastructure are falling into disrepair. Humanity is split and there are two battling factions (the Domain and the Church of Natural Humans) who are not too perturbed over the body count they create. Religion and science are pitted against each other both fighting for control of the people. The American government is weak and the public are confused and afraid. Ten years previously the PeaceMaker virus crippled the internet, left thousands of people dead and the world in its greatest depression. In response to this governments put a hold on technological advancement and left the people with crumbling services and cities. Technology is only available to those who can afford black market prices and everyone else only has access to technology from prior to the PeaceMaker attack, which is speedily becoming irreparable. David Brown is the son of the man accused of creating the PeaceMaker virus and has spent his life haunted by his father's crime and victimised for believing in technology. He is swept into the war between science and religion upon the receipt of a time delayed email from his dead father. In an attempt to find out more about his father he contacts the few people left alive who knew him and quickly gets the top spot on the both factions' hit lists. It is up to David to find out who caused the PeaceMaker virus, avenge his father's murder and clear his name. In doing so David discovers that he has a gift that could change the path of human evolution and bring us all closer to technology. This is a gripping tale that reminds us of our dependency on technology and reaffirms fears of what would happen if terrorists were able to affect the internet and consequently financial markets and our own personal electronic data. A highly recommended read.