The book has moved on to follow Zula as the main protagonist. It’s very entertaining and interesting. The MMORPG elements increase the entertainment value especially since I used to play WoW.
[There be spoilers ahead]
The plot is now in Xiamen, having moved there from Seattle. Zula and Peter have been kidnapped by Ivanov and Sokolov and flown via Vladivostok to China. The hunt for the troll continues with a fun description of a classic wardriving/social engineering info-sec subplot that succeeds as much because of luck as technical acumen. The descriptions of Xiamen bring back images of my time visiting China, and I laughed when characters mistake Xiamen for Xian – “The place with the terra-cotta warriors” – as I’ve seen the actual terra-cotta warriors.
We get introduced to Csongor, a Hungarian security hacker that has a history with the Russian mobsters and has an interesting description of the history of growing up Hungarian in a Russian-occupied homeland. When I went to Hungary we visited Heroes Square which is an ironic name I was told since Hungary has often been conquered by outside powers through its history.
A crucial turning point happens right before the end of this disk as we see a huge gun battle, the murder of Peter, and are introduced to Olivia. I have to stop listening for a few hours so I can give a presentation at a meetup, but I’m excited about returning to the book!