Neil Stephenson must have heard the joke: a priest, rabbi and a minister walk into a bar…
Except in Stephenson’s universe it’s an Ethiopian girl, Russian mercenary, Hungarian computer hacker, Chinese gamer, Idaho survivalists, Muslim jihadists, pot smugglers, game developers, MI6 and CIA spies and Russian mafia who all stumble into a terrorist plot.
If we were back in the bar joke, the entire menagerie would simply walk into the plot. Here, they amble, stroll, sashay, drift and saunter.
Stephenson creates great characters but although a lot happens in the book, it is definitely not, as one reviewer called the book, “fast-paced.”