The Alexandria Project: Andrew Updegrove

So, firstly a small confession; I was nervous about reading this book. I always panic when I am sent books that relate to the sci-fi genre, or relate to something that I am lacking knowledge in. That being said, my knowledge on computers hackers and the collapse of Wall Street is not quite up to scratch. So, I was in a panic readers; but, I was in for a shock, this book is written with such an understanding of the topic that I could not help but be drawn into a world of numbers, of hackers and crackers, of deceit, of mystery and overall panic! I salute Andrew for serving me a book that I would never come into contact with, if left to my own devices and I’m here to share this with my lovely ‘littlebloggers.’

So, you’ve got an idea about what the books about; but here’s a better description! “Thank you for your contribution to the Alexandria Project” is the message cyber attackers leave behind as they delete crucial data from computer networks across America. As the message swipes across the country it seems that these hackers have a message; and it’s not a good one. As the nation threatens to collapse due to government agencies, Wall Street, CBN nightly news and numerous other News Stations, the transportation system and all Internet based economy all mysteriously falling victim to attacks from an unknown source, Frank Adverso, seems to be the only one that can solve the puzzle. One problem; due to him being a seemingly hostile but unreliable cyber security genius and after a rather tough interview with the CIA where he seemingly rants about his frustrations of the lack of security at the company at which he works, Frank appears to have placed himself right at the top of the list of people under suspicion. Frank takes things into his own hands by flying the mistrust surrounding him and travels to Nevada to try and unearth the Alexandria Project, and find it’s source so that he can clear his name and return to normality. What follows is a tale of cyber-sleuthing, mistrust, and defiance, a fast-paced tale with a strong protagonist that I as a reader really fell for. You cannot help but fall for the mystery of The Alexandria Project, which not only shocks us, but also scares us by openly portraying our seemingly vulnerable position in the face of dangerous hackers through the Internet! Absolutely thrilling!

Oh boy, I was definitely hooked. When I first started the book I had no idea where I would end up! It seems however that I have fallen hook, line, and sinker for this marvellous book of mystery and cyber-panic. One thing to note is that Updegrove really knows his stuff! I couldn’t believe the attention to detail that has been used in this book and the way that it is described and told to the reader. I must admit I was shocked at how much I actually understood and could make sense of as I am not the most eloquent with technology. I also fell completely for the main character; if you have ever seen the television show Supernatural, Frank really reminded me of Bobby Singer. A strong character, heavy on the sarcasm, with a kick in his tail, but overall extremely trustworthy and loyal with a strong moral compass (although not always stuck to in some circumstances!) I thought that the main character was described with such passion that you couldn’t help but feel yourself constantly rooting for him in his difficult situation. As the story revolved mainly around him this is extremely important but Updegrove manages it very well. I also really liked the way that Updegrove moved from an explanation of North Korean politics to the difficult upbringing of Frank and his meeting with his missing father. The way that the writer can move between such different topics helps to keep the book moving with a fast-pace and keeps the reader intrigued and means that they do not bogged down in heavy jargon language which is helpful if you are not a pro with such information. I must admit as a reader lacking in knowledge I had to take the last few chapters of the book slowly as I found myself getting confused however I think this only shows the sheer understanding of the content; I just wouldn’t recommend this as a late night casual read! You need to have your thinking hat on! Another really lovely detail was the way in which each paragraph was split up with a line of code; as you can see from the book it revolves around the use code and therefore really suited the book and added an extra detail that really worked. I also really liked the way that author manages to get a sarcastic tone throughout the book that reminded me slightly of books by Sebastian Faulks, this lightens the tone and helps to adds another sense of style and wit to the book which helped to bring the book some more fire!

I have already started recommend this book to people (I think my Dad will absolutely love it!) and I think if you are interested in IT and computer hacking etc this is definitely a book for you. However, that being said I was a real fan of this book and have definitely found myself thinking of reading other books like this in the future. Additionally I felt that I really learnt something from this book and it has really fuelled a want to read and learn more about this genre of book. As a reviewer I think this really pushed me to think and really immerse myself in the book. I think that anyone who wants a change from his or her normal genre of reading definitely check this out! It will make your brain work and also make you think about your Internet usage; and may even be a warning for a current society; this is a accomplished book with a real sense of style! Brilliant!

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