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In a sexy thriller full of Stephenson’s excellently nerdy wit, bad guys are chased across the globe and through cyberia. A mildly annoying virus in the world’s most popular massively multiplayer online role-playing game sets off a chain of events that leads to terrorists, explosions, and a kidnapping. Richard Forthrast, creator of the online world, must use his draft-dodging and drug-smuggling past to rescue his adopted niece. The high-octane ending is incredibly satisfying, proving once again that Stephenson deserves all the adulation we give him.
There are few novels that leave me in silence—that deep felt silence of profound experience like a cathedral or a sudden clearing among high trees. The Orchardist is a book that, once read, becomes sacred. The story starts in the late 1800’s in upper state Washington. In an orchard a solitary man, broken but slowly healing, lives and tends to his land, when two girls show up, vigilant and slightly feral, and he offers shelter. The setting, the language, the depth of each character take hold, offering moments of profound love, deep awe, grief, independence, surrender, and change.