Fighting has spread across the Middle East and Central Asia to the borders of China. In the US, refugees from climate-change disasters subsist in FEMA camps. Images of official executions circulate on the internet like al Qaeda videos. State agencies sponsor conspiracy theories as cover-ups. As the troops of the last superpower stand astride the last of the oil, China and Russia aren't the only states considering their options: certain nations od Old Europe are quietly preparing for the worst. James Travis is a middle-aged middle manager in a software company. He has a son in the army, a daughter in a peace-protest camp outside a USAF base and a compromising relationship with a foreign intelligence service. When his cover is blown hours before a nuclear explosion destroys the base, Travis, his son and his daughter are all in serious trouble. Roisin Travis knows that what exploded was no ordinary weapon - and not just because her brother had warned her that something strange and dangerous was on its way.
As his daughter discovers that a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing, James Travis flees north through an England torn between the US and Europe, and divided by its own dark suspicions. As the spooks and disinformation specialists focus their efforts on his capture, Travis knows that all it will take is one mistake and his only memorial will be another grainy video on The Execution Channel.
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(234mm x 153mm x mm)
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
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US Kirkus Review »
In the near future, the war against terror is far from over, and nobody's sure who's fighting whom.The near-future setting of MacLeod's latest (Learning the World, 2005, etc.) is grimly familiar: a constant drip of foreign terror atrocities mixed with the occasional shock of an attack on the West, with the permanent drumbeat of war in the background. Not long after antiwar activist Roisin Travis films a cargo plane at a U.S. airbase in Scotland unloading a strange-looking device, the entire base is annihilated in what looks to be a nuclear blast. As follow-up attacks flare up, the inconvenient witness Roisin (along with her father, who is spying for the French) makes a run for it from the "interrogation"-happy security services. Meanwhile, government agents wage a protracted campaign of online disinformation about the attacks, trying to obscure the actual reasons behind them - not that they know what those are. All the while, the titular Execution Channel is available 24 hours per day, showing everything from a captured GI being butchered in Waziristan to the stoning of a Nigerian adulteress. MacLeod nimbly melds a tech- and culture-savvy appreciation of what the blogosphere might look like in a few short years with some old-fashioned spycraft. It's a frighteningly familiar world, where electronically-distributed information is easily distorted. In the end, reality seems just so much code. A thrilling, well-crafted spy novel. (Kirkus Reviews)
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Author Biography - Ken MacLeod
Since graduating from Glasgow University in 1976, Ken MacLeod has worked as a computer analyst in Edinburgh. He now writes full time.