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When a designer of computer games dies, he leaves behind a program that unravels the Internet's interconnected world. It corrupts, kills, and runs independent of human control. It's up to Detective Peter Sebeck to wrest the world from the malevolent virtual enemy before its ultimate purpose is realized: to destroy civilization...
Chapter 1:// Execution
Matthew A. Sobol, PhD, cofounder and chief technology officer of CyberStorm Entertainment (HSTMNasdaq), died today at age 34 after a prolonged battle with brain cancer. A pioneer in the $40 billion computer game industry, Sobol was the architect of CyberStorm’s bestselling online games Over the Rhine and The Gate. CyberStorm CEO Kenneth Kevault described Sobol as "a tireless innovator and a rare intellect."
What the hell just happened? That was all Joseph Pavlos kept thinking as he clenched a gloved hand against his throat. It didn't stop the blood from pulsing between his fingers. Already a shockingly wide pool had formed in the dirt next to his face. He was on the ground somehow. Although he couldn't see the gash, the pain told him the wound was deep. He rolled onto his back and stared up at a stretch of spotless blue sky.
His usually methodical mind sped frantically through the possibilitieslike someone groping for an exit in a smoke-filled building. He had to do something. Anything. But what? The phrase What the hell just happened? kept echoing in his head uselessly, while blood kept spurting between his fingers. Adrenaline surged through his system, his heart beat faster. He tried to call out. No good. Blood squirted several inches into the air and sprinkled his face. Carotid artery . . .
He was pressing on his neck so hard he was almost strangling himself. And he’d been feeling so good just moments before this. He remembered that much at least. His last debts repaid. At long last.
He was getting calmer now. Which was strange. He kept trying to remember what he’d been doing. What brought him here to this place. It seemed so unimportant now. His hand began to relax its hold. He could see plainly that there was no emergency. Because there was no logical scenario in which he would emerge from this alive. And after all, it was his unequaled talent for logic that had brought Pavlos so far in life. Had brought him halfway around the world. This was it. He’d already done everything he would ever do. His peripheral vision began to constrict, and he felt like an observer. He was calm now.
And it was in that cold, detached state that he realized: Matthew Sobol had died. That’s what the news said. And then it all made sense to him. Sobol’s game finally made sense. It was beautiful really.
Clever man . . .
Excerpt from DAEMON by Daniel Suarez © 2008.
Published by Dutton, a member of Penguin Group (
All Rights Reserved.“Suarez’s riveting debut would be a perfect gift for a favorite computer geek or anyone who appreciates thrills, chills and cyber suspense.…A final twist that runs counter to expectations will leave readers anxiously awaiting the promised sequel.”
“Greatest. Techno-thriller. Period. Suarez presents a fascinating account of autonomous, logic- based terrorism, incorporating current and anticipated technologies to create a credible and quite clever story. Experts have long feared the Internet doomsday scenario; the Daemon is arguably more terrifying.”
—William O’Brien, Director of Cybersecurity and Communications Policy, The White House
“Daemon is the real deal—a scary look at what can go wrong as we depend increasingly on computer networks.”
— Craig Newmark, Founder Craigslist
“[Daniel Suarez] is the best author of tech fiction since Bruce Sterling and Neal Stephenson. Buy everything he writes.”
— John Robb, futurist & Author of Brave New War
“Daemon is better than early Tom Clancy...The tech is invoked with inside knowledge, the writing is better, and deeper issues are explored with greater imagination.”
— Stewart Brand, Founder Whole Earth Catalog & co-founder the Long Now Foundation
“An exciting book that will force you to think about where we are heading as a 'wired' society. It will keep you guessing. You will not want to put it down, and you will not want it to end. It doesn't get much better than that.”
— Steven Winningham, Former CIO, Gap Inc; EVP, Virgin Entertainment Group
“Daemon is to novels what The Matrix was to movies. It will be how other novels that rely on technology will be judged.”
— Rick Klau, VP FeedBurner
“A thought-provoking novel that presents real technologies in a new and terrible light. It's a hard book to put down.”
— Tom Leonard, Lead AI architect Half-Life 2 (Valve Software)
“Someday, we may be defending our systems against automated threats that aren't just dumb viruses—and the ideas in Daemon will move from the fiction to the nonfiction section.”
— Jim Rapoza, eWeek (Ziff Davis)
“A first-class story that raced, twisting, to a conclusion that left me dying to read Mr. Zeraus's next offering. This book will change the way you look at our society.”
— Wurzel Parsons-Keir Co- founder, Continuous Computing
“Good storytelling can be one of the best ways to wrap your head around the implications of the technological changes we are immersed in. But that depends on finding storytellers who combine talent for story with a willingness and ability to understand the pertinent technologies. Zeraus qualifies. Daemon is highly recommended.”
— Jim McGee, Ph.D - Harvard Business School, Director, Huron Consulting Group
“Daemon pulls you in and doesn't let go. You might think you know where the story is going, but believe me: you don't. This book will surprise you countless times, and it will stay with you long after you finish it..”
— Frank Gallego, Lead 3D Visual Effects Artist, Digital Domain
“Thought-provoking and scary — even more so if you know information technology. I recommend Daemon highly.”
— Beata Kernan, Chicago Computer Society
“Suarez has accomplished a feat I've not seen to date in a novel written by a technologist: he creates characters I care about. The technology is first rate, plausible, and timed in the very near future.”
— Wes Peters, BSD News
“Daemon is the technology story of our time. [Daniel Suarez is] a fantastic storyteller with an eye for technical detail that goes unmatched. Think Michael Crichton but with even more research under the hood.”
— Eric J. Olson, Buzzfeed
“Suarez's view of gaming and technology is what every gamer hopes for. Daemon is a great read that takes you on a wild and crazy techno ride. You won't be able to put this book down!”
—Chuck Fullerton, Founder and CEO, C W. Fullerton Institute of Analysis
“The imagination Mr. Zeraus shows in assessing the current technological landscape is impressive. As I made my way through each chapter, I began to realize this was no typical hacking story. Daemon is worthy of your short list.”
— Donald C. Donzal, Editor in Chief, The Ethical Hacker Network
“I’ve got to say that I LOVED Daemon... I can’t wait for the sequel.”
— C.C. Chapman, VP New Marketing, Crayon
Behind the Book by Daniel Suarez
I wrote Daemon between 2002 and 2004 in response to my growing concerns over the fragility of the modern world. As an IT professional, I felt those concerns were well founded. The previous decade of rapid technological development and federal deregulation had taken efficiency to a whole new level. Corporations had merged into globe-spanning giants across numerous industries, achieving economies of scale, but also centralizing the psychical and digital infrastructure of our civilization. At the same time, cheap processing power and promiscuous connectivity had created vast interdependencies that no single human could understand. Post-merger downsizings had further complicated things by peppering the corporate genome with half-finished projects that still lingered in data centers. Swarms of simple software bots had been set loose into the vast monoculture where our data lives. The same data that rules our lives.
How to popularize these complex issues? Entertainment seemed the best route, and the result was Daemon. In it I've gone to great lengths to faithfully depict technologies that are actually reshaping human societynot in some distant future, but here and now. And to reach a broad audience, I wrote it as a mainstream commercial thriller, so you don't need technical knowledge to understand it. You'll discover what you need to know the same way my characters do.
When I self-published Daemon in 2006, it probably seemed pessimistic, given the prevailing boom economy. But key technology experts responded to its ideas, and began to pass Daemon on to others. One reader, a computer scientist, told me "the story at first seemed ridiculous, but when I sat down to examine it, I realized I couldn't point to any single thing that was impossible." Thankfully, folks outside technical circles began reading it, toostudents, gamers, artists, and homemakerseventually bringing it to the attention of the media.
I have grassroots support to thank for this new hard cover edition. It's a great example of how quickly networks can grow, and what wonders they're capable of.
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