Review of THE HERETIC by Danielle Thorne

by Jason K. Chapman
ISBN 1-929925-38-7

Reviewed by Danielle Thorne

"I can be anywhere in the blink of an eye. I can be in two places at once. Or, when I wish, I can be nowhere at all." --The Heretic

Such are the words of a man without an identity. Without revealing his true name, the Heretic takes his readers on a perilous journey in to the online underworld of virtual reality. In this realm people prosper with fictional bank accounts, and can disappear without a trace. For when there's no record of you to be found, you don't exist. And that is exactly what keeps the Heretic alive.

Imagine a world controlled by one unifying government; an organization that has the power to create and destroy lives. Flowing along wires and bouncing from one satellite to the next, this powerful union does exist, and people IRL (in real life) call it: The Guild. These computer Gods control the world as we know it. Secret identities protect members from corruption, but also harbor the occasional member without a conscience. Corporations turn to them for security, banks turn to them for transactions—but what happens when the monopoly, controlled by the very technicians that created the computer, goes bad?

In THE HERETIC, an ex-FBI agent comes out of his secret existence to finish the computer hacking case that once cost him his job. As the virtual world wide controlling government of The Guild turns against itself, the Heretic must find out who is behind the robbery and blackmail of major corporations all over the country. Leaving his reclusive Montana ranch, he follows the signals to Atlanta where his old Bureau partner is hot on the electronic path. With a hit man behind every corner and his online persona falling apart, it is up to the once scorned computer genius and a FBI wildcard to crack the case online; without being terminally erased in the flesh.

Jason Chapman has put together a phenomenal proposition that crosses every genre from crime to romance. Mixing a little Clancy style with cyber adventure, it's truly a blast for anyone. And yet beyond the fast paced story line, the quality of Chapman's writing is most impressive. It is a pleasure to read, original and creative with prose that jeers at the modern trappings of the ever present, repetitive cliché. With in-depth thought in to the possibilities beyond the computer terminal, and an extensive knowledge of government networking, this novel successfully provides "good eats" for the action-starved reader.

THE HERETIC is an exciting example of what can be accomplished with electronic publishing. It promises to blow away the current underlying notion that e-books will never meet the quality or standards of print. Even if you're not convinced, you won't put this story away until the Heretic finds his way home. After that, plan on joining the rest of his readers in speculating: What does Mr. Chapman really do for a living?

---Reviewed by Danielle Thorne
A Grain of Salt