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Synopsis

Frank Schatzing's The Swarm was an international science-fiction blockbuster, winner of the Koln Literatur Prize, the Corine Prize, and the German Science Fiction Prize. Limit is his most ambitious work to-date--a multilayered thriller that balances astonishing scientific, historical, and technical detail. Against this backdrop, Schatzing convincingly realizes a possible near future when humankind's ingenuity may become the greatest risk to its continued existence.

In 2025, entrepreneur Julian Orley opens the first-ever hotel on the moon. But Orley Enterprises deals in more than space tourism--it also operates the world's only space elevator, which in addition to allowing the very wealthy to play tennis on the lunar surface connects Earth with the moon and enables the transportation of helium-3, the fuel of the future, back to the planet. Julian has invited twenty-one of the world's richest and most powerful individuals to sample his brand-new lunar accommodation, hoping to secure the finances for a second elevator.

On Earth, meanwhile, cybercop Owen Jericho is sent to Shanghai to find a young female hacker known as Yoyo, who's been on the run since acquiring access to information that someone seems quite determined to keep quiet. As Jericho closes in on the girl and the conspiracy swirling around her, he finds mounting evidence that connects her to Julian Orley as well as to the entrepreneur's many competitors and enemies. Soon, the detective realizes that the lunar junket to Orley's hotel is in real and immediate danger.

From the Hardcover edition.

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    Pushes the [LIMIT] and Falls Short

    Let me preface this by saying, I don't enjoy writing negative reviews. Really, I don't. When I first encountered this title I was excited to read it because I had enjoyed his previous work in "The Swarm". It was a long, but satisfying book. When I saw how long this book was, my first thought was, "He's got a lot to say," but ... I was wrong. Unlike Schatzing's "The Swarm", which offered a compelling look at the ecological crisis facing the Earth and her oceans, "Limit" seems to be the result of an author who wanted to tell too many stories in one book, but got lost in the process. In the end, the stories are told, in a clumsy sort of way--they unfold in a manner that seems to make you less compelled to discover the whys and wherefores of what you're reading--if you're still actually reading the thing, while making you feel as though you really don't want to continue the exploration of the story, but by that point you've found that so much of your time has been bound into the telling of the tale that it would seem a waste to not find out how the thing resolves itself in the end. In the end, as it happens, things are "resolved"--such as they are--in a most unsatisfying manner. For a book of this length, the ending is less of a triumph than a feeling of exhaustion for having ploughed through to the end. A good ending is, in my opinion, at least as important as the opening for the ending is what the reader is left with as their final impression for when that last page is reached. When the end of "Limit" is reached it feels as though Mr Schatzing has himself been exhausted by the entire process and has simply given up. It's a shame because by that point the reader has invested themselves in his world and, quite frankly, deserves better. I cannot in good conscience recommend this book--and yet, if you liked "The Swarm" and enjoy outlandish tales of adventure, conspiracy, mystery, more conspiracy, international intrigue, and more conspiracy (did I mention conspiracy?) ... you might just enjoy "Limit". Maybe. Then again, you might not. But if you don't, you can't blame me for warning you.

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