Andrew Warne and his daughter, Georgia, are visiting the newest, largest amusement park in the United States and the world. Utopia is a domed amusement park outside of Las Vegas with four "worlds" for visitors. Each world totally immerses the guest in its reality, including Victorian London or a future station in Calisto.
Warne is there as an External Specialist rather than for the fun. But he plans to enjoy his time there with his daughter as well. He was the AI designer of the Metanet, the advanced computer network that is responsible for all the systems within Utopia. He doesn't know why he has been called in, but believes they need his services as they prepare to add a fifth world, Atlantis. He is anticipating seeing Sarah Boatwright again. They had dated before she took the job as the CEO of Utopia. Georgia doesn't care for Sarah, but Warne still has feelings for her.
But this isn't a normal day for Utopia. They are anticipating an average week day's worth of visitors. But they aren't expecting some special visitors who also infiltrate the park. John Doe and his small group of terrorists come in and threaten the park. They have taken control of interior systems and demand the new holographic technology that is Utopia's exclusive product. If their demands aren't met, they will sabotage something in the park, hurting employees and visitors. If the original disk is delivered according to their demands, John Doe says they will leave as quietly as they came.
When I grabbed this book, I didn't realize it was Child's first solo novel. I just knew it was written by one part of the Preston/Child duo. This one grabs you by the neck and hangs on. John Doe has knowledge of Utopia that no outsider should have. He is able to anticipate every move on Sara Boatwright and her staff's part. But Warne and another visitor are the random factor. Warne's visit was changed to earlier, so he is there on a day not expected by the inside contact. Poole, the other visitor, is in the "protection" business, and is an ex-Marine. He just happens to be at Utopia with some family when he gets pulled into the action.
By the end of this I wasn't able to put it down. Child shifts scenes to show what is going on in different areas of Utopia at the same time. By 4:00 PM, the time Boatwright is supposed to meet Doe in the Hall of Mirrors, Georgia is in the Medical Center, Warne is bringing the pieces together, Poole is following up Warne's suspicions, and the other gang members. I knew what should happen, it didn't mean that would happen. I recommend Utopia as a great suspense thriller.
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