Even though I would describe myself as somewhat of a computer novice, Barry
Silversteinšs novel The Doomsday Virus captured my attention, thrilled and
chilled me, and made me a whole lot smarter about the potentially
devastating problem of computer viruses that could literally wipe out our
computer-dependent financial, communications and intelligence
The author, a nonfiction writer with over two decades of experience in the
information technology field, takes us on a wild ride through the world of
two software entrepreneurs competing to launch a new operating system, only
to find that they share a common enemy in an underground hacker who hates
corporate profiteering and will stop at nothing to commit his
cyber-terrorism on an unsuspecting world.
Marty Gladstone and TJ Gatwick are the powerful entrepreneurs, each with
his own dedicated and unique style of doing business. Erin Keliher is a
highly influential Silicon Valley journalist who can make or break either or
both men. Doomsday is the man who comes between them all, a brilliant but
crazed hacker with the uncanny ability to create computer viruses that cannot
be stopped despite every best effort of the software mega-giants and their
equally brilliant programmers. Meanwhile, Gladstone and Gatwick become arch
enemies as they jockey to get their product out first, resorting to
underhanded and unethical business practices to do so.
When Erin and Marty become romantically involved and find evidence of
Gatwick's participation in some dirty dealings, including possible
kidnapping and murder, the story heats up, becoming a race to find out who
is behind the mysterious sabotage attempts against Gladstone's company and
to locate the evil Doomsday, who unleashes one debilitating computer virus
after the other.
The clock is ticking as the FBI gets involved, utilizing Erin's reporter
status as a connection with the underground Doomsday even if it puts her
own life in danger. She becomes the only personal conduit to Doomsday, and
offers a glimpse inside his dark and dangerous mind. As the FBI gets
closer to identifying Doomsday, Gatwick and Gladstone are backed into a
corner and forced to make some jaw-dropping decisions to curb the potential
havoc that Doomsday is planning for Y2K.
This is one solid
thriller, a real page-turner that had me up until the wee hours waiting to
see what happened next. I loved the technology stuff, even being the simple
layperson I am, and really became emotionally invested in the battle between
the two software giants and their race to create the perfect virus protection
software. But what really grabbed me was Silverstein's clever use of framing
his story against true historical events, including many infamous
computer viruses of the past ten years such as Melissa, Pandora, and Code Red.
This book has it all; tension, technology, romance, thrills, rivalry, a
great ending that leaves everything wide open for a sequel, and characters you can get behind and either love or hate. The Doomsday Virus may be fiction, but it is about a clear and present
danger we all face every single time we turn on our computer. That's what
chilled me to the bone most of all.