Artificial Intelligence is the technology behind things like search algorithms, virtual assistants such as Siri, and self-driving cars. However, scientists are working towards Artificial General Intelligence, which will allow the creation of systems that are more intelligent than human beings. Elon Musk, Bill Gates, and the late Stephen Hawking warn of the dangers of this technology, such as autonomous weapons, social grading (for example, China’s social credit system), and more systems that invade your privacy. Perhaps the greatest danger is when the machines get so intelligent that they take over. See, an AGI’s solution to problems such as climate change, food shortage, and poverty might mean the annihilation of the whole world.
The One Singularity, by RD Palmer, is a futuristic thriller whose antagonist is an Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) called The One. The protagonist is a scientist who hoped the AGI would be the last human invention. However, soon after he creates the first AGI in human history, he discovers its solution to problems in the world is not what he expected. Now he has to kill his creation to prevent it from wiping away the world’s population.
The book is written with vivid imagery, alluring diction, and excellent pacing. It provides a relatively clear view of what the world would become if we are not careful to regulate artificial intelligence and related technologies.
In the book, Palmer portrays how scientists are eager to make the world a better place through technology, how the military will always try to use such technology to their advantage, how there will always be a group who see the dangers of advanced technology, and how somehow religious sects like the Amish are on the right side by shunning technology.
What I liked most about the book is the unpredictability. I was consistently surprised with the twists and turns in the plot. RD Palmer doesn’t follow the familiar plot of other futuristic thrillers. There are lots of things you will not see coming, such as most human beings embracing the AGI, albeit without knowing its agenda.
I also liked how each chapter starts with a quote from a famous philosopher such as Galileo Galilei, Plato, Napoleon Bonaparte, and Aristotle.
The One Singularity is a riveting novel that has a cliff hanger of an ending that begs you to read the follow up novel. It leaves you wondering what happens to the characters. However, The One Singularity is by far the best futuristic thriller I have read this year, and one whose predictions I hope do not come true.
Pages: 387 | ASIN: B08DK8YJPX
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Newton’s Cradle follows Terence who is forced to steal secrets from his boss and finds technology that can change the world. What was the inspiration for the setup to this thrilling novel?
I’ve always been a bit of a science geek, and these are certainly interesting times to live in, having profound consequences for society. Just think of how the Internet and cell phones, in such a short time span, have changed the way we learn and communicate. Now, what if humanity gained access to free, clean and unlimited energy? No need for expensive and polluting oil, coal, or nuclear fission. How’s that for a game-changer? Or a central premise for a novel?
Terence is an interesting and well-developed character. What were some driving ideals behind his character development?
This might sound pretentious. But I wanted the novel to be a discussion of life itself, as much as a plain thriller story. You know, the trials and tribulations we all face in life while chasing out our destinies. Terence is a vehicle for exploring these issues. I wanted him to be likable, but with character flaws, having consequences for himself as well as people close to him. And then follow his journey into self-actualization.
I enjoyed the mystery at the heart of this story. Did you plan the plot before writing or did it develop organically while writing?
First of all, I’m glad you liked it. As for the question: definitely the latter. I had a vague idea, of course, of corporate struggle, self-interested personalities, and betrayal. But the idea of Cold Fusion as a central theme entered later into the writing. Other plot devices, likewise. Central characters were there at an early stage, sub-plots and minor characters showed up later. It’s a bit like a jig-saw, missing bits and pieces somehow appear and fall into place.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I’m currently working on a screenplay. Gangsters and heists at the heart of it. Including a discussion of life itself. We’ll see how it goes.
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Layers of Deception is a thrilling crime novel that delves into cyber-security, the dark web and criminal gangs in the Far East. What served as your inspiration while writing this novel?
Basically I wanted to write the type of book (and movie) that I enjoy myself. As for where the actual story came from, I started writing about situations I experienced over the years and the plot emerged as I built it out. I found that when I’m in the zone and typing away the story just unfolded quite naturally.
I wanted a main character that readers would really empathise with, so while he’s a very successful businessman on one level, I think there’s also a real vulnerability to him, mentally at least. I think it’s this side of him that makes him stand out and draws the reader into his life and problems.
I began writing during my recovery from a serious fall into a storm drain whilst on business in Singapore. Stuck in hospital I found it cathartic to write. It helped with my recovery, both mentally and physically. That was the start. Once back to work, and traveling internationally, I would write everywhere: on planes, trains, staying at hotels, at any given opportunity.
What is your professional experience and how has that helped you write this novel?
I worked for over 25 years in the technology sector – mainly internet security and international fraud detection. I wanted to bring my experiences of business deals and Internet security in the heart of banking systems, where you’d never expect everything to go very wrong very quickly, combining this as a thriller where modern-day mafia and the dark net combine to corrupt the heart of the international banking system.
I think it would really appeal to people who understand the techie stuff, but my aim was to make it perfectly accessible for non technical people too.
Whilst my time in the IT industry, international travel and experiences, equipped me with many stories over the years, my subsequent work as a therapist has enabled me to study all aspects of human behavior. I specialize in treating people with issues around anxiety, phobias and trauma. We are all fallible human beings. One of the main things that therapy gives me is empathy – helping me to understand and get into the mind of the characters in my writing
Kuala Lumpur is a detailed and fascinating backdrop to your story. Why did you choose this location for the setting to you novel?
The thriller draws on my many years experience of doing business in Kuala Lumpur as an IT business entrepreneur in the computer security sector trying to land contracts in Kuala Lumpur.
Despite its challenges, Kuala Lumpur is easily my favorite city in Asia. The city is always on the move, spurred by high technology, a strong knowledge-base and capital-intensive industries. The difference between rich and poor is very stark and there are issues with crime. Traffic is a nightmare as well. All of that aside, the food is fantastic and there are very few cities that are so inherently culturally diverse.
What is the next book that you are writing and when will it be available?
I’m working on my second novel, a thriller set in Kuala Lumpur. It’s about a Malaysian family who illegally buy a Vietnamese child – a boy – the result of a turbulent relationship between a UK businessman and a Vietnamese woman living in Kuala Lumpur. The boy thrived in his new loving family unit, but his life and all those around him were about to be devastated when his real mother, who had since married a rich American businessman – wants him back.
In addition I have completed two more plots. A sequel to Layers of Deception where a child is kidnapped by Malaysian triads as a means to extort funds from a UK business based in Kuala Lumpur. The other novel is a thriller based on my fall in Singapore.
With international backers, big business deals and Internet security in the heart of banking systems, you’d never expect everything to go very wrong very quickly. And when things go wrong, they go very wrong! Layers of Deception is an international crime thriller where modern-day mafia and dark net combine to corrupt the heart of the international banking system.
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I had not prepared myself for the thrill that would come in chapter three. I, of course, enjoyed reading about the USS Benjamin Stoddert, Auguste, and Jacques Piccard and all the sea missions. I love being introduced to new jargon and chapters one and two had me learn about different sea vessels and everything that happens at the sea. Chapter three was however different. The reader gets introduced to Ordo Templi Orientis (O.T.O); a secret global council promulgated in 1904, founded to watch over and defend mankind from powerful and unknown enemies.
The O.T.O being in war with the New World Order (N.W.O) made the story exciting to read. To contain the situation, a meeting had to be set. The exchange between the president of the United States and Colonel Fisher as the latter brought the president up to speed with the history on the modern day battle with the N.W.O and the kidnapping of Henry Boder. I could visualize the two men as they discussed the issues at hand. Larry taking the spot from the president and hurting his ego was thrilling. I enjoyed how the most powerful man was made to listen to what a mere colonel had to say.
Reading Global Dawn was a pleasant experience because the plot gets more interesting with every chapter. I appreciate the effort the author puts in character selection. Each character seemed real and authentic. My favorite character was colonel Larry. The man spoke with authority and knew his facts. I admired the guts he had. Dr. Henry Boder was another important character in the book that helped build a good part of the plot.
The inclusion of Benjamin Rothschild and Hitler and their relation to the New World Order in the book was surprising yet fascinating. Rothschild’s epiphany; that there were too many people on the planet and fewer resources for what he referred to as ‘the worth’ would make for a lively debate. The thinking pattern of the two men were extreme but still logical, and I appreciated how I could follow their different ways of seeing things.
Global Dawn is an amazing book that you don’t want to miss. W. B. Thompson is an excellent writer. Each chapter is succinct and makes the reading fun and easy. Organizational wars, envy, respect for authority, family, warfare, technology, and global influence are among the themes the author covered, and most of the them can be compared to issues in the real world. Global Dawn is an exciting book that I recommend to readers who enjoy post-apocalyptic science fiction and techno-thriller genres.
Pages: 436 | ASIN: B07QL8GT58
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Su Lin and Andy have everything they want on their farm–solitude, livestock to occupy them, and one another. Most importantly, Su Lin is worlds away from her old life. However, Su Lin and Andy are not as free from Su Lin’s past endeavors as they would like to believe. She is a genius in her own right, and that, in and of itself, may just be the downfall of her family and the entire team. As digital currencies begin to lurk behind the world’s financial curtain, Su Lin rises as one of the most desired faces on the planet as she possesses the unbreakable code that can help turn the world’s currency system upside down.
The Enigma Source, by Charles V. Breakfield and Roxanne E. Burkey, features the dynamic team from Breakfield and Burkey’s long list of Enigma books and is every bit as engaging and brimming with technological advancements as each of the pair’s previous installments in the series. The Enigma Source takes readers on a journey eighty years into the past as events in Poland are related via a set of books discovered by Jacob. Throughout the book, the authors have juxtaposed Jacob’s reading of said books with the events endured by Su Lin, Andy, and the rest of the team as they fight to stop Su Lin’s nemesis, Guano.
I am never disappointed in the strength and depth of the relationships between Breakfield and Burkey’s characters. Su Lin and Andy are the focus of The Enigma Source. Their love is intense, endures each and every test thrown their way, and is to be envied. They are among the most vivid of the authors’ couples–second only to Juan and Julie.
I didn’t want to be, but I was struck by Mathias’s sense of loss over Dutch. Breakfield and Burkey have a way of making the reader see the humanity in their antagonists. A sense of pity and sorrow overwhelmed me as I read of Mathias’s grief and his tragic revelation with regards to his own staggering lack of true friendships.
ICABOD, the ever-present supercomputer, remains one of the most fascinating aspects of the Enigma series. ICABOD is a unique blend of technology and humor. Throughout the book, the team of experts turns to ICABOD for intelligence and briefings and are able to obtain the needed information almost instantly–always amazing. In addition, there exists a friendly banter between the team members and the supercomputer that lends a welcome level of levity to rather serious and many times, dark situations.
ICABOD is only the beginning of the advancements peppering Breakfield and Burkey’s work. I was fascinated by the capsule used to track Su Lin’s movements. As she prepares to fly to China, her ingestion of the tiny encapsulated tracker mesmerized me. As with each of the other Enigma books, the authors’ storylines are rich with technology that will wow readers from the first page.
I am giving The Enigma Source, by Breakfield and Burkey, an enthusiastic 5 out of 5 stars. Rich characters and spellbinding storylines permeate The Enigma Source. Readers looking to take a leap into the depths of the digital age will find everything they want within the covers of Breakfield and Burkey’s The Enigma Source.
Pages: 351 | ASIN: B07GD6S9SP
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In The Enigma Rising R Group is hired to find a missing heiress. They must learn to work together to uncover intelligence in the underworld of cyber crime as they confront drug traffickers turned money launderers. This is a thrilling setup to a suspenseful novel. What was your inspiration for the setup to this book?
It’s not hard to be inspired when you have lived and loved throughout your life. We are fortunate to have a venue to crystallize those moments, with those people who have rotated through our lives, and make it a compelling story. We have known some wild people.
I found the novel to be a clever thriller story. How did you balance quick action with intelligent story telling to give the book a quick tempo?
Practice! We want to be known as great story tellers and so you must be able to “wordsmith” not only the dialog and the characters but the story line itself. We spent a lot of time polishing the dialog, the story, and the characters to get the proper flavor for our goal of a good techno-thriller. Our beta readers and editor helped challenge us to make a better product at every opportunity.
Again, there is a host of intriguing characters in this novel. What was your favorite character to write for this time around?
We really got into our “bad boy” characters Juan and Carlos. These are the Bad Boys, mom’s warn their daughters about. And as the phrase goes “their characters grew legs and took off”.
How do you see the Enigma series evolving in the future?
Actually we have built a character universe of over 150 characters for use throughout the series. By the time the reader hits the 9th book (just getting ready to release) you will be able to answer that question for yourself. But as a comment to be a teaser, readers can expect the series to have different theme’s per book that include, identity theft and dark net (#1), high tech battlefield communications using nano-technology & Drones (#3), a virulent Ghost Code launched by two nefarious types code named Mephisto and Callisto (#4), predicting the future using supercomputers linked together (#5), genetic engineering of humans to live 1,000 years (#6), gamification and smart cities being held hostage (first CATS book) (#7), world commodity manipulations to crush corporations and countries (#8), and a team of analog information mules that drive shady corporate profits across the Dark Net (2nd CATS books (#9). We don’t think you’ll be disappointed in these grown up stories.
The R-Group is the single most advanced information-gathering organization on the planet, providing services to the intelligence community on a contract basis. Their cutting-edge application of technology keeps their ability to gather, analyze, and use information well ahead of most major governments.
Carlos and Juan are entrepreneurs, although even the most generous observer would question the legality of their business model. The two brothers have discovered a way to covertly access satellite communications. Mostly, they’re putting their skills to work relocating drug lords targeted by the authorities, along with their cash, gold, artwork, and other assets—for a modest fee, of course.
When a valued private client hires the R-Group to track down a missing heiress, chance circumstance brings the technology leaders into contact with Carlos and Juan’s fly-by-night operation. The two brothers have skills the R-Group can use, so they offer them a chance to go legit. Presuming, of course, the brothers can rein in their contempt for societal rules.
A sequel to Breakfield and Burkey’s The Enigma Factor, The Enigma Rising continues their exploration of the high-stakes and high-tech world of information brokering as an engaging thriller of lost and found, loving and growing, and despicable greed.
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The Enigma Rising, written by Charles V. Breakfield and Roxanne E. Burkey, is a modern-day techno thriller that explores a world of cyber crime, kidnappings, and drug cartels. R Group, is a contract team,who provides intel to businesses and is hired to find a missing heiress. Their lives collide with former drug traffickers turned money launderers in an unexpected meeting of fate. Here they must learn whether they can work together to uncover intelligence through the deep underworld of cyber crime.
The Enigma Rising begins with a concerned father Thiago meeting with his head of security team to discuss finding his missing daughter Lara. The novel then turns back to 8 months prior to the Chihuahuan Desert of Mexico where two brothers Juan and Carlos and a group called the “On Brothers” are meeting together to collect a mysterious shipment. This is where the novel kick starts the action with missing drugs and carefully curated criminal plans and soon spirals into a world of technology.
Drug rings, drug trafficking, and crafty criminals all band together to make up this technology thriller. At times the story has a James Bond feel except you are following the crooks rather than the authorities. Then the R Group enter the plot line. Their code of conduct is based on “maintaining the balance of power for economic and human conservancy” and throughout history, they have protected businesses and thwarted evil. This unit has been hired to help find Lara and will follow clues and a data trail in hopes of finding the missing heiress. The action is intense, the suspense is high and you will visit a world where cyber crime is at its most elite.
Even though this novel is an action story, you would be mistaken in thinking it was all guns and car chases. Instead, the crime is clever, from people posing as model agents to a couple Petra and Jacob exploring their romance in the midst of digital security investigations. The dialogue is interesting, the crime intelligent and the characters complex.
Breakfield and Burkey’s manipulation of words creates beautiful imagery for the reader. From the first pages, you feel as though you are in a current of words that flow easily and naturally. At no time did the book feel jaded or stuck which meant I found myself glued to the plot line, eager to find out what happens. Breakfield and Burkey do a fantastic job of the novel with their quirky one-liners and clever plot line.
There are surprising romances within the plot line that at times take a front seat to the action chaos. Carlos and Simone become an unlikely duo whose relationship begins with Carlos meeting Simone as she waits to appear in an adult photo shoot. From here it becomes a whirlwind romance and I enjoyed watching the two characters develop and interact with one another.
I would highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys a clever action novel with a dash of lust, cyber crime, and mystery.
Pages: 324 | ASIN: B00HVCU3JS
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The Enigma Broker is a genre-crossing novel with elements of a thriller, suspense, and cyber-crime as well. Did you start writing with this in mind, or did this happen organically as you were writing?
We actually set out to incorporate all those elements when we started sketching this book, yet we find our stories end up surprising us as they evolve. So, yes, the story did grow organically as we were writing. To be honest, we feel our stories are Techno-Thrillers, thus it makes sense to us that you find these elements within the stories. We struggle with many of the literary reviews as this category is not yet well-defined, yet your insight on this is appreciated.
The supporting characters in this novel, I felt, were intriguing and well developed. Who was your favorite character to write for?
That is somewhat an unfair question. We like to spend time developing each character to the correct degree for the story, which helps to give us the tension we are looking for in that story. We are quite prejudice toward all of them. We have so much fun with all our characters. To put a fine point on it, for The Enigma Broker, our favorite would have to be Juan as we let him stretch in this tale to show his versatility as well as to find a stronger footing to go forward in the series.
When writing this novel together, how did you divide the work and decide on the finished product?
Our tendency has been to practice literary ping pong. For each story we start with the main premise and then rough out chapters typically ten at a time. Once we have the chapters assigned, each will work a chapter then serve it up to the other, in a back and forth exercise until the chapter is polished. We write to our strengths with the intention of making the stories sound like a single voice, and we submit that the back and forth helps achieve that for the reader. We review and criticize each portion and frequently add to each chapter as it progresses. The goal is to tell a relevant, contemporary story and have fun doing it. If it wasn’t fun we wouldn’t do it.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be published?
We are working on The Enigma Dragon, which focuses on how to conduct illegal activities without being observed digitally. It is difficult to keep your personal affairs private these days with social media and cell phones that can be easily monitored, because we have allowed technology so deep into our private space. It is hard not to use technology these days, and we incorporated that into Dragon. It has some tense segments where the characters are at risk and where others find out what they are really made of when things get tough. This one is focused on using the CATS team which was introduced in Book 7, The Enigma Gamers – A CATS Tale. This was a branch off the main series, but with a grittier core group. The Cyber Assassins Technology Services group is the new generation of detectives in the cyber space of the 21st century.
All around the world, commodity prices are plummeting, and nobody asks why.
The steep drop in the markets for oil, copper, coal, and other commodities threatens to destabilize nations and bring them to the verge of economic collapse. Amid fears that further drops in value could devastate civilization, the R-Group quietly engages.
The R-Group was formed during World War II. After delivering the Enigma machine to the British, they used their copy of the device to safeguard wealth and property from the Nazis. Today they use information-gathering and security capabilities to protect us from cyber-attack.
Jacob and Petra begin investigating the free fall in oil prices and soon discover disturbing clues that may implicate a “dark matter organization”—a shady organization that leaves no digital footprint behind. Meanwhile, ICABOD, the group’s supercomputer, teams up with government investigators to identify potential suspects. Quip and EZ also apply their special talents assiduously to the case but don’t let their work interfere with their blossoming relationship.
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