The economy downturn hit Hollis Henry. She isn't destitute, but once again needs to do some work. She has published a book about locative art (Spook Country) and is considering another. She still has notoriety from her time in Curfew, a 90's band. But she and Garth have separated. And she is short on funds. She agrees to take a consulting job with Hubertus Bigend. After her last job with him she never planned to work with him again. But...
In London, Bigend wants Hollis to dig into the clothing underground and find who manufactures and sells a special denim line, Gabriel Hounds. They have a special cloth, are very durable, in high demand for those in the know, and almost impossible to find. Hollis has a Gabriel Hounds jacket.
Milgrim now works for Bigend since he has gotten clean of the drugs and finished rehab. He is still taking medication to wean him off but no longer has any in his system. He is now catching up for missing the past ten years. He works for Bigend, but isn't always sure what he is supposed to do. At the beginning of this book he is doing some industrial espionage for Bigend; he is looking for new fashions that Bigend hopes to capitalize on. Milgrim reports to Sleight, Bigend's IT man, with a specialized phone that can reach him anytime and anywhere.
Hollis and Milgrim take a short trip to Paris. She knows someone who may know someone who may be able to get some Gabriel Hounds. Once there, they are sure they are being followed. Such is Bigend's business tactics. If he's not spying on someone, someone is spying on him and his employees. While escaping the "tail" Milgrim sees a flying silver penguin. Hollis hears that Garth almost died when he sailed off of the tallest building in the world. And things keep getting stranger.
Zero History is a continuation of William Gibson's Spook Country. It has the same ethereal feel to it, but is easier to follow. Gibson sets this novel in the near future. It has its wierd backgrounds (like the hotel Cabinet in London) and wandering story line like the first book, but is easier to follow.
This time I got involved and stay involved with the story line. I don't know if it was easier for me to read than Spook Country because I had alread experienced the slightly off universe Gibson has created or if Zero History is written better. Gibson plays around with plenty of new electronic gadgets as well as old fashioned methods, such as on foot surveillance or kick boxing.
Zero History has its different levels to pull in the reader. There is the whole clothing manufacturing angle. Bigend considers Gabriel Hounds to be one of the best marketing coups ever. The espionage is to see what type of clothing the military will have next. Men's fashions tend to revolve around military uniforms. Whoever gets in the right market at the right time will makes lots of money.
Milgrim is beginning to learn who he is. At the beginning of Zero History he is still parroting what he learned from his therapist in rehab. He does what he is told and lets others do the thinking. As the novel progresses, Milgrim starts letting the world in ahd processing it on his own. He learns how to shake someone following him and how to be a passenger on a motorcycle.
Hollis is complex. She still is known for her stint in Curfew. There are people who have read her book. And yet she knows she isn't particularly famous. But she has connections in those industries now, and is cultivating more. She misses Garth and is frantic when she learns of his accident.
Zero History is intriguing. Characters show up from seemingly left field who are influential later in the book. It throws out little tidbits, like descriptions of the harsh life of a regular clothing model (not the glamorous life of the super model). Once again, William Gibson writes his own off the wall way and succeeds.
Notice: Strong indecent language
These reviews are personal opinions only and in no way reflect other readers' opinions of the books discussed.
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