The Digital Plague Mass Market Paperback – Dec 1 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
This intense sequel to 2007's The Electric Church is a strong techno-thriller, but it doesn't quite match its predecessor in originality. Avery Cates is a killer-for-hire who sold his services to the shadowy System of Federated Nations and destroyed the Electric Church's plans to turn people into cyborg Monks. Now mysterious assailants have infected Cates with a plague of nanobots that kills anyone he encounters and then reanimates the corpses. His condition draws the attention of the System authorities, who wonder why Cates himself has not fallen victim to the disease; they keep him alive in an effort to identify a cure. Amid sometimes flat scenes of gunfighting, betrayal and nanotech zombie uprisings, Cates's noirish narrative voice stands out as the book's real strength. Somers's compelling writing separates this from similar works and offers hope that future volumes will come closer to the quality of the original. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
Top Customer Reviews
Beyond that (hey, if you're into zombies, you'd be cool with this), I did like the writing alright - it was a little repetitive and predictable (if I hadn't read a hundred times about Glee's "flat eyes" I might have been surprised to see her return zombie-style), but definitely readable. It is a second novel of a series (I think), so I did feel a little like I jumped into the middle of something, where other authors may have given a little more background. I did like all the action in the book, which reminded me a little (a very little) of Lee Child's Reacher series.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
I enjoyed this series enough to purchase it on my Kindle on my way to New York so I could read something on a business trip.
The worlds of Avery Cate are a desolate distopia future where the system has been over run with corrupt cops and an old friend's return. Avery is just a working stiff of a criminal. And it shows through all these series that Avery is very much a normal Joe. The amount of damage Avery takes in each book is both humorous and refreshing after seeing so many heroes go through unscathed.
I recommend this series and book to anyone who likes Shadow run, Cyberpunk or Escape from New York style stories.
Many cities have become black ash ridden, with pitch black goo running in place instead of river water. New York is one of the last cities that are in semi "normal" shape with the rich population in the north, and the poorer people living below the rich area.
New York is where the story starts out with the protagonist Avery Cate's, a crime legend where he lives, with over 30 cops being killed by him, along with many other crime members. His luck takes a turn for the worse and he is captured by people in masks with their voices suppressed by mechanical devices and they have captured him for a reason, which is explained later in the story.
This book has a ton of violence, cussing, and detailed gory scenes. It's a great book for dystopian lovers and it has many great twists. It has a good amount of pages, and it kept me wanting to read more after the book ended. The story has many diverse, interesting characters that you can tell change through-out the story.
Overall, it's a must buy if you like dystopia's, violence, and great story telling. It does remind me of the book The Plague, but it's different enough to keep you interested if you have already read that book. It is worth every penny.
~ Written: 2009
* Great story
* Lots of violence
* Many twists
* A page turner
* A slow start at first, but picks up
Putting together the clues from this and the prior novel, it seems that some cities, including Paris and Newark, have been entirely abandoned, while others - such as New York City - which is the stomping ground of Avery Cates, the anti-hero of "The Digital Plague" and "The Electric Church - appears to have become radically divided between 10% haves - who have all kinds of wonderful technologies - and the 90% have-nots - who can't find a job and are part of a grisly underground economy where life is nasty, brutal and short, and where Cates at age 36 is long past his expiration date. In such a brutal world, order is tenuously maintained by the System Police, aka "System Pigs," who brutal when they are not corrupt.
In the prior novel, we saw Cates claw his way to the top of the garbage heap and become something of a player in affairs when he was commissioned to take out the mastermind of the "Electric Monks" - cyborged religious fanatics who just may refashion the world in their image. As a result of his prior mission, Cates achieves a few years on the top of the heap prior to the opening of this novel. Unfortunately for him, his mission against the Electric Monks left a few loose ends.
As a result of one of those loose ends, Cates becomes infected with a "digital plague" - an artificially created nano-technological virus - that threatens to put paid to the human race. Although Cates is "patient zero," he and anyone standing within 50 feet of him are immune - thus far - to the effects of the nano-virus. This give Cates the opportunity and incentive to investigate, while hampering him with a series of ad hoc partners who do not want to lose sight of him.
The story resolves itself satisfactorily and logically. Cates seems to mature during the story, becoming more concerned with the fate of other people and humanity itself during the storyline than we thought was part of his character in "The Electric Church, although he retains the stock "screw you world" attitude that is typical of this and the "urban fantasy" genres, which tends to make for unsympathetic lead characters.
It seems that Somers is working on a deeper themes and a more intricate puzzle than appeared to be the case in the opening book. Clues are introduced in "The Digital Plague" that the world is in worse shape than we imagined. On the one hand, electronic entities - "droids" - are doing the work that humans once did, thereby reducing humans to a choice between joing the police to oppress the unemployed or becoming part of the unemployed, but, on the other hand, it is beginning to look like some of the really key players may look at bodies as a convenience.
Because I thought that Somers' imagined future became denser, thicker and more interesting, and that he is hinting at puzzles he will explore in future instalments, I am giving this five stars, albeit I would back it off by a half star if given that opportunity.
On his knees with a gun to his head, Avery Cates thought this would be his execution. Instead, he is injected with nanotech, which is infecting everyone who crosses his path - unless they stay within a certain distance.
Who did it, why, and how to stop the deaths are far from easy to answer - and it's even more difficult to cope when the dead don't stay dead. From New Jersey to Paris to New York, one thing's for certain: the Electric Monks are sticking close. Avery's battle with them is far from over. And, hopefully, so is this series.
It took me a while to realise that this is set more than five years (estimate) since THE ELECTRIC CHURCH ended, and it may mean something that the appendix was easier to follow than the actual story. Still, at least the author has interesting concepts and characters that I haven't really come across before. Reading the first two books in this series on the trot, it's kind of annoying that I now have to wait for THE ETERNAL PRISON's circa-July 2009 release. The good news is there's a teaser of it at the back of THE DIGITAL PLAGUE, and it sounds a treat.
This series may be hard on the brain, but if you pay attention and keep focused, it has its rewards.
While I thought that The Digital Plague was a decent read, it wasn't as good as The Electric Church. I thought that The Electric Church was a great read, so feeling that The Digital Plague was a bit of a letdown may not be entirely fair to it. Nevertheless, I felt that some of the newer characters didn't mesh as well as those from The Electric Church, and that the exposition in this book was longer and handled a bit less artfully.
It's a good book that has the misfortune of carrying on a story from a great book. The Digital Plague is still definitely worth it, but comparisons with the first installment are inevitable.
There is good news, however: I'm coming back around to write this reivew after reading and reviewing the third book in this series, The Eternal Prison. The pacing and characters pick up considerably in the next book, bringing the story back to form.