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Two centuries after the Boston Tea Party, harbour dumping is still a favourite local sport, only this time it's major corporations piping toxic wastes into the water. Environmentalist and professional pain in the ass Sangaman Taylor is Boston's modern-day Paul Revere, spreading the word from a 40-horsepower Zodiac raft. Embarrassing powerful corporations in highly telegenic ways is the perfect method of making enemies, and Taylor has a collection that would do any rabble-rouser proud. After his latest exploit, he's wanted by the FBI, possibly by the Mafia, and definitely by a group of Satanist angel-dust heads who think he's looking for a PCP factory, not PCB contamination. Pretty soon dodging bullets is the least of Taylor's problems - because somewhere out there are an unhinged genetic engineer and a lab-concocted bacterium that could destroy all ocean life and that's just for appetizers. Frightening, funny, fast and furious, "Zodiac" is thrilling speculative fiction torn straight from today's headlines.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780099415527
ISBN-10: 0099415526
Format: Paperback
(198mm x 129mm x 18mm)
Pages: 304
Imprint: Arrow Books Ltd
Publisher: Cornerstone
Publish Date: 24-May-2001
Country of Publication: United Kingdom


US Kirkus Review » Although Stephenson credits the hard-boiled detective novels of James Crumley as the spiritual spark plug for this antic thriller, these adventures of an ultrahip sleuth who tracks ecological crooks owe more to the comic iconoclasm of Richard Farina and William Kotzwinkle - and the immature campus high jinks of Stephenson's own The Big U (1984) - than to Crumley's knowing, semitragic ironies. Narrator Sangamon Taylor, "the granola James Bond," is the resident gumshoe of GEE, a Greenspeace clone based in Boston and dedicated to nonviolent sabotage of polluting companies. A self-styled "professional asshole," late-20s Taylor dresses like a slob, struts his self-righteousness like a badge, and lists nitrous oxide as his drug of choice. Fortunately, he also spins a funny, cocky, engaging rap as he tells of his battle with the villainous Basco company - a battle catalyzed by his find that lobsters in Boston Harbor are packed with PCBs, legacy of an illegal 1956 dumping by Basco. A nighttime boat duel with Basco's goons - Sangamon on his trusty Zodiac raft, the heavies on a smuggler's Cigarette speedster - and a daytime showdown in Basco's boardroom plunges Sangamon into hot water as Basco frames him as a terrorist bomber, sending him on the run. Hiding out in Maine, Sangamon joins forces with a real, world-class terrorist; after they make national news by foiling an assassination attempt on Basco's owner by a polluted Basco employee, they return to Boston to tackle the Big Problem: in trying to cover up its PCB dumping, Basco has loosed a gene-spliced organism that threatens to convert all the salt in the sea to organic chlorine. A violent confrontation in Boston Harbor (on an island of garbage inhabited by fans of a satanic heavy-metal band), a tense brush with a lethal Navy SEAL, and a "mediagenic" assault on a Basco ship loaded with pollutants end this manic tale. Stephenson's high-octane narration, drenched in environmental lore, grabs from start to finish despite its cloying smugness; a likely hit in college/cult circles, this book - with film rights already sold - may entice a wider readership as well. (Kirkus Reviews)

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Author Biography - Neal Stephenson

Neal Stephenson is the author of The Baroque Trilogy (Quicksilver, The Confusion, and The System Of The World). His other books include Cryptonomicon, Snow Crash, The Diamond Age, and Zodiac, as well as Cobweb and Interface, written in collaboration with Frederick George. Winner of the 2003 Arthur C. Clarke Award for Quicksilver, Stephenson was short listed for the same award in 2005 for The System Of The World. He lives in Seattle.

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