Zero History by William Gibson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Premise of the book from Goodreads.com: Hollis Henry worked for the global marketing magnate Hubertus Bigend once before. She never meant to repeat the experience. But she's broke, and Bigend never feels it's beneath him to use whatever power comes his way -- in this case, the power of money to bring Hollis onto his team again. Not that she knows what the "team" is up to, not at first.
Milgrim is even more thoroughly owned by Bigend. He's worth owning for his useful gift of seeming to disappear in almost any setting, and his Russian is perfectly idiomatic - so much so that he spoke Russian with his therapist, in the secret Swiss clinic where Bigend paid for him to be cured of the addiction that would have killed him.
Garreth has a passion for extreme sports. Most recently he jumped off the highest building in the world, opening his chute at the last moment, and he has a new thighbone made of rattan baked into bone, entirely experimental, to show for it. Garreth isn't owned by Bigend at all. Garreth has friends from whom he can call in the kinds of favors that a man like Bigend will find he needs, when things go unexpectedly sideways, in a world a man like Bigend is accustomed to controlling.
As when a Department of Defense contract for combat-wear turns out to be the gateway drug for arms dealers so shadowy that even Bigend, whose subtlety and power in the private sector would be hard to overstate, finds himself outmaneuvered and adrift in a seriously dangerous world.
I really enjoyed book number three in the Bigend series. There is just something about the way Gibson weaves the characters and plot together that is just a delight to read. I read Pattern Recognition in March of 2006, Spook Country in June of 2011 and now Zero History and everyone of the books left me wanting to read another.
I also find Gibson's books, at least these, to be a nice blend of description and dialog. I loved the setting at the hotel, the stuffed critters, the wallpaper with the vaguely pornographic scene, the narwhale tusks and the shower. Really, he described a shower! It’s little things like that that really made the book come alive. I enjoyed the dialog for similar reasons, it felt like people actually talking to each other; short clipped sentences that only make sense if you're part of the conversation.
With Zero History I was especially delighted when Gibson pulled from Pattern Recognition - even though it's been five years since I read that first book, I still recalled enough to make the connection.
Lastly, this is not science fiction per-se even though it is published as such, but near future perhaps might be a better way to describe it? Hardly detraction in my opinion. Delightful series of books. Recommended.
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