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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Nexus by Ramez Naam

Nexus (Nexus, #1)Nexus by Ramez Naam

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Jacket Blurb:  In the near future, the experimental nano-drug Nexus can link human together, mind to mind. There are some who want to improve it. There are some who want to eradicate it. And there are others who just want to exploit it.

When a young scientist is caught improving Nexus, he’s thrust over his head into a world of danger and international espionage – for there is far more at stake than anyone realizes.

From the halls of academe to the halls of power, from the headquarters of an elite US agency in Washington DC to a secret lab beneath a top university in Shanghai, from the underground parties of San Francisco to the illegal biotech markets of Bangkok, from an international neuroscience conference to a remote monastery in the mountains of Thailand – Nexus is a thrill ride through a future on the brink of explosion.

This was for July bookgroup.

A bit of a slow start for me, which I think was because I was distracted with other things and couldn't settle into the story.  When I finally did start reading in earnest, I found it mentally engaging and entertaining.  Just enough to cogitate on with a bit of action thrown in. 

Ramez explores an interesting concept - if you had something that could benefit everyone, but could ultimately be used for "bad" or "evil" if in the hands of an elite few, would you keep it, sell it, or distribute it?  That is ultimately, the question posed to our antagonist, Kade.  He has something two select groups of people want, but for their own purposes.  Kade feels this should belong to all, that the good people will do will outweigh the bad. 

Further, I think the Thailand/Buddhist setting was very apropos for this question - a balancing of action, of karma. An individual morality question being asked in a country where what you do as an individual determines your path. 

My one complaint with the book was the action scenes - they came across as overkill.  One combat modified woman repeatedly standing between Kade and his potential kidnappers.  One woman fighting a half-dozen combat modified soldiers and somehow winning against all odds.  Now, not, my complaint is not that she was a woman, it was the overly excessive use of force and odds  in both instances.

Overall, recommended.  I'm looking forward to the authors next book.

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