"An excellent fururistic romantic action/adventure techno-thriller"

Toward the end of the twenty-second century other planets have been colonized besides Earth and technology rules the lives of human beings. Life in the Real has become too dull for most people who lived most of their lives on the grid, the main virtual world. It is also through the grid that the government monitors every citizen. But even on the grid there are "bad neighborhoods," places where hackers and other criminals congregate to conduct business and indulge in vices. One such place is the Netherwood, a place where Talia Fortune, sheriff and nominal head of the mega-conglomerate FortuneCorp. goes to glean the information she needs to enforce the law but also to engage in battle in the Amphitheater as the Avatar, Amazonia, with her virtual adversary and lover, Avenger. Under the guise of these games, illegal activity was conducted on a regular basis.

Today Talia hunts a criminal by viewing a holo-vid of her last fight with the Avenger six months prior. She watches as her avatar scans the Amphitheatre and catches a glimpse of an avatar of a Senator she recognizes as the consciousness of her grandmother, Violet. Five years ago, upon the death of her physical body, Violet had been the first to "reduce down" to have her conscience loaded to a microchip. She was not only Talia's grandmother but also her employer. Had Violet recognized her, her life would have been forfeit. Her battle today is with Avenger, her quarry in the Real.

Segue to the moment Avenger had whispered "all of us are going to die...," fast forward to after the battle, after their hard won pleasure where he claims that "The Singularity" where human consciousness is merged with a smarter-than-human computer is imminent. The end of life as they know it is near. She had thought he lied; now she searched the code for clues and finds the message directing her to go to the Fresh Havens Planetary Control Center. There the outlaw awaited her arrival and her aid. There she would destroy him.

But in Fresh Havens reality as Talia knows it is about to come to an end. The Avenger and another tech have done the unthinkable; they've escaped the grid into the inhabitable carnivorous forest where magnetic storms canceled all technology. Avenger, known in the Real as Kovner, rescues her from the forest and brings her to his enclave. There she meets people who have never known anything other than this harsh environment, had never been exposed to the grid - whole families including the rarest commodity of all, children. Knowing who she is, most fear Talia but Kovner is convinced that she alone will be their salvation, all he has to do is convince her.

Naturally Talia's innate skepticism is nearly their undoing, but Kovner who loves and believes in her will go to any length to expose the truth, even go to his own death. It is through him that Talia discovers her soul, and it is he who stands by her side as she fights the reality that now faces them, as she battles her grandmother and the government whose laws she had sworn to uphold. The odds for success are slim to none. Will the human race as we know it become extinct, or will courage, determination and love save the day?

For those who love sci-fi classics like Brave New World, Tron, and The Matrix this book will thrill and chill. Netherwood is a riveting action adventure romance that will draw the reader in and make them a part of the battle to save our humanity. A truly excellent read.

Reviewed by Leslie Tramposch
Posted June 27, 2008


And her name is Talia Fortune. Her mission: capture the cyber outlaw, Kovner, a man who knows she is more than just a sheriff - Talia is also a woman, with a woman's desires. Scion of the Fortune family and primary shareholder of the mega-conglomerate FortuneCorp, she is the Hand of Fate ... or at least of the Home Office. With the power to punish, she's been sent to Fresh Havens - a corporate off-world colony run by her uncle. But the colony is full of hidden danger. Sabotage, deception, destructionŠit will take every ounce of Talia's strength and courage, fighting skills honed in the Amphitheatre and knowledge learned at the Academy, just to survive. Her ability to love and trust will be sorely tested, especially in the clutches of her quarry, the Outlaw of Fresh Havens, her cyber-lover and now her enemy. He and the answers lie in the Gray Forest, in a reality beyond the bubbledome, the Grid, and everything she's ever known. Her future lies in ... NETHERWOOD

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by Michele Lang

February 1, 2008
Available: February 26, 2008
ISBN #0505527596
EAN #9780505527592
386 pages
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Michele Lang

This Magic Moment
Ms. Pendragon
The Devil Inside
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