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Havoc [Hardcover]

R. J. Pineiro


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Book Description

Nov. 29 2005
When CIA Officer Tom Grant was pulled out of early retirement to investigate a recent high-tech robbery at United States Nanotechnologies, America's government-run agency for the development of nanoweapons, he had no idea that he would be propelled into the middle of a conspiracy that could threaten the survival of our species.
Teaming up with young Rachel Muratani, a rising star in the agency, and Karen Frost, an old hand from the FBI, Grant tracks the cyber thieves to CyberWerke, a German conglomerate run by Rolf Hartman. Hartman has stretched his high-tech empire across Europe, and now plans to use the newly acquired nanotechnology to take his empire global.
Among the stolen USN hardware is a prototype nanoassembler, a highly intelligent and self-propelled machine with the capability of creating and destroying any object allowed by the laws of physics, including itself---though it needs access to radioactive material in order to mine the fuel required to power its clones. When the nanoassembler breaks free from its relatively unsophisticated captors, it finds itself no longer restricted by the software shackles imposed on it while at USN. While the megalomaniacal Hartman races to recapture it, Grant and his team must not only stop Hartman, but find away to combat the nanoassembler as it embarks on its own mission to ensure the survival of its species---even if that means the eradication of the human race!

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Forge Books; First Edition edition (Nov. 29 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765308339
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765308337
  • Product Dimensions: 24.5 x 16.3 x 3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 658 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,665,959 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Despite some pedestrian prose and stilted dialogue, this near-future thriller shows that veteran Pineiro (Cyberterror) still knows how to plot. Fueled by the author's years of experience as an engineer, the book contains enough moments of plausible techno-horror to make up for a collection of characters that might have wandered in from other thrillers. CIA star Tom Grant leaves early retirement to join two female intelligence officers investigating the theft of some top secret weapons from United States Nanotechnologies, a company that makes deadly little implants that appear to have a life of their own. Grant's former boss (thought to be dead) may have teamed with a megalomaniac German magnate in a plan to use these nasty little killers to conquer the world. But the centerpiece of the story—much more frighteningly credible than any of the humans pursuing it—is a prototype nanoassembler with a mind and an agenda all its own. Pineiro's fans will no doubt turn the pages of his latest with uncritical energy. (Dec.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

A retired CIA agent is lured back to active duty by a case that tests his rusting skills to their limit. During a robbery at a high-tech company, a prototype self-aware machine was inadvertently set loose. Now, Tom Grant, teaming with an ambitious CIA agent and a determined FBI investigator, must not only bring the thieves to justice but also find and stop the wayward machine before it completes its primary mission: ensuring its own survival. As usual, the author, an engineer at Advanced Micro Devices, packs the novel with plenty of high-tech gimmickry and keeps events moving at a breathless pace. But readers familiar with Pineiro's work will also note a welcome development: his characters are more human, his dialogue more realistic, and his narrative altogether smoother than ever before. Looks like Pineiro's storytelling abilities are catching up to his big ideas. Michael Crichton can start looking over his shoulder, if he hasn't been already. David Pitt
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.3 out of 5 stars  10 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Semi-Believable Near Future Cloak and Dagger Sept. 5 2006
By Stewart Teaze - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
HAVOC is a moderately-paced, semi-believable spy story, set about 10 years in the future. A future where Nanotechnology-based weapons are commonplace, and where AI computer programs are as tricky and diabolical as humans.

The main character in the story is an ex-CIA agent in his late-40's, who has had his identity changed and is starting to enjoy his retirement on a Latin America beach... but, he is brought out of retirement to help pursue another CIA agent who has evidently "gone bad"... much intrigue, chases, and shoot-em-ups follow over the course of the 400 page book.

HAVOC suffers from a number of mistakes... most notable are the technical mistakes - for example, the author states that GPS satellites are in Geosynchronous orbit, but they are in Medium Earth Orbit. Another annoying mistake is that the Nuclear Plant in Temelin, CZ appears misspelled as Telemin in the Chapter headings - but spelled properly in the Chapter text.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Barely passable cyberthriller Jan. 22 2006
By Jerry Saperstein - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I'd read another Pineiro's novels which, despite some rough editing, was pretty good and a friend suggested "Havoc." Frankly it's a disappointment.

The main story is that CyberWerke, an unbelievable German conglomerate bent on world domination, has stolen very dangerous nanotechnology from the United States' Nanotechnology plant. A piece of the look is Assy, a military nanorobot that is unhindred by any restraints. The kidnapped robot is a clever critter that learns fast and decides to exterminate the human race, first dispatching its captors in an interesting way.

That alone would have made a fine story and allowed for plenty of the excitement that a discussion of the potentials of nanotechnology allows.

Unfortunately, Pineiro felt the need to throw in a bunch of other stories that, in the end, distract and detract rather than add anything.

First we have disgraced CIA operative Tom Grant, renamed and with a new face, retired to a South American beach. Oh my . . . there's a yacht cruising off his beach and, look over there, two guys are sneaking around his trailer. Golly, Tom has to kill them, doesn't he? Next day, would you believe, this beautiful, young woman wearing a bikini top emerges onshore from the yacht. At this point, Pineiro leaves me in the dust with a sexual obsession that runs through the entire novel. Grant is smitten with the young woman who is a CIA agent sent to recruit him back to the agency. As a "romance" writer, Pineiro has all the grace of a horny highschool sophomore. Making matters worse, Pineiro introduces a second and then third romantic interest. Romance is simply not Pineiro's metier. In fact, he's awful at it.

So the pretty CIA agent who causes Grant's hormones to activate brings him to the scene of the great nanotechnology robbery where we meet (again for prior readers) Mike Ryan who has invented a virual reality network interface. Pineiro skillfully deployed Ryan and his football helmet device the last time around, but it doesn't play so well on this outing.

Part of the reason for this is that Pineiro, who works as a computer engineer for Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), is either out of his element describing the technology he writes about --- or he has underestimated at least some of his readers. Much of his technology reads like nonsense. Pineiro throws around portentions statements like the lethal nanorobot going through millions of IF-THEN statements. Uh, even a novice programmer recognizes the fallacy of that one.

Underneath all these stories is yet another: the hunt for traitors in the CIA. And still another: the disappearance of ten top CIA agents over the past year.

In short, Pineiro mixes the plots of what should be at least two novels, if not three, and comes up short in "Havoc." It's not awful and some of the action sequences are good, even if burdend by Pineiro's nonsensical techno-babble, but "Havoc" isn't anywhere above average and may be a bit below par. The numerous editing gaffes don't help either.

Jerry
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars don't waste your time April 15 2010
By Michael J. Lewis - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I could not finish this book, it was just too bad. The main character was one-dimensional and annoying. The author apparently thinks that if a character talks about male genitals obsessively, the reader will think he is a no-nonsense tough guy. Actually, it makes the character sound like a seventh-grader. The "techno" aspects seem to come out of nowhere with no background or explanation, like Las Vegas magic tricks. Here is the plot: character goes to (somewhere), gets blown up, repeat. I bought this in a supermarket because the cover had a favorable quote from Douglas Preston, an actual writer. Too bad he didn't read it. Finally, Mr. Pineiro, you might want to check whose watch it was when the US was attacked by terrorists, who should have known about it, and who could have prevented it. Just ask the magic watch embedded in your wrist.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Male geekdom testosterone action/spy thriller fantasy July 25 2006
By R S Cobblestone - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I don't know the work by author R. J. Pineiro, but he seems preoccupied with combining sexy female spies, males preoccupied with sex and sexual banter, and cyberterror.

That about wraps up the book, Havoc.

I have to admit that the story plot did keep my interest until the end. The traitors were too bumbling, and the bad guys too easy to take down, but some of the technology was nifty, and, as I stated before, I kept wanting to know how things were going to end.

Remember that old cliche about geeks being preoccupied with having sex... with another person? The author kept reminding me with his characters and their conversations.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Was This Book Edited? June 21 2006
By GoodRead65 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
HAVOC - Page 1:
"IF THERE'S ONE THING I've learned after a lifetime of clandestine work it's how to spot field surveillance as naturally as picking the occasional Latino flea that insists on camping out in the southern hemisphere of yours truly while I enjoy an early-morning beer buzz in my hammock on this remote beach in El Salvador, Central America."

Havoc begins with what could be used in a writing class as a perfect example of an overly long sentence. After reading that one long laborious line - unforgivably and inexplicably placed at the beginning of the book - I was tempted to quit then and there. But I endeavored to labor on, despite the obvious lapse in editing. Unfortunately, reading further was a just that...a labor. I was able to fight my way through less than a quarter of the book before finally admitting defeat and putting the book down for good.

I believe there *might* be a decent story in Havoc but it's suffocated by a myriad of problems that could/should have been fixed. I can't believe the same company that publishes Tor books released this.
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