The Quantum Spy

The Quantum Spy

A Thriller

Book - 2018
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A hyper-fast quantum computer is the digital equivalent of a nuclear bomb; whoever possesses one will be able to shred any encryption and break any code in existence. The winner of the race to build the world's first quantum machine will attain global dominance for generations to come. The question is, who will cross the finish line first: the U.S. or China?In this gripping cyber thriller, the United States' top-secret quantum research labs are compromised by a suspected Chinese informant, inciting a mole hunt of history-altering proportions. CIA officer Harris Chang leads the charge, pursuing his target from the towering cityscape of Singapore to the lush hills of the Pacific Northwest, the mountains of Mexico, and beyond. The investigation is obsessive, destructive, and--above all--uncertain. Do the leaks expose real secrets, or are they false trails meant to deceive the Chinese? The answer forces Chang to question everything he thought he knew about loyalty, morality, and the primacy of truth.Grounded in the real-world technological arms race, The Quantum Spy presents a sophisticated game of cat and mouse cloaked in an exhilarating and visionary thriller.
Publisher: New York :, W. W. Norton and Company,, ©2018.
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780393254150
Branch Call Number: FICTION IGN
Characteristics: 323 pages ; 25 cm


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Apr 22, 2019

I haven't read many spy thrillers since Le Carre, but I enjoyed this one. I don't know enough about the spy world or the specifics of the technology to know whether it's accurate. Twists and turns, intrigue, various actors with plausible motivations, a decent light read.

Apr 06, 2019

I'm reading "The Quantum Spy" right now. I think it's supposed to be a spy thriller. It does seem to be about spies, but it's not very thrilling. The spies seem to all be interested in stealing secrets to do with quantum computing.

The author isn't that good. He's written other books, so he should know his craft. I can't get a feel for the book. It doesn't go in formula directions, but it doesn't seem to go anywhere else, either. I'm about halfway through, and I still don't care about any of the characters. (Maybe this is by design. Similarly random and unlikeable books seem to get good critical reviews these days.)

I don't know how it ends, and, at the moment, I don't care. (I probably won't be coming back and giving you an update on the book. Unless it gets an awful lot better real quick.)

He doesn't know anything about quantum technology or computing. He throws around terms about lasers, photons, error correction, decoherence, cryogenics, and other stuff, but doesn't seem to know what they actually mean or do. He doesn't know the current directions in quantum computing research. He confuses (as most people do who don't know the technology) the decryptive possibilities of quantum computing with the (real but flawed) quantum cryptography key exchange.

Part of the book takes place in Vancouver, and he's obviously never been here. Burnaby, while it has some high rent spots, is not the most exclusive suburb in the region: it's where you go for cheap rent and taxes. (And lots of light industrial space.) And you definitely don't take Granville Street to get there from the airport. If you can find an apartment building that's 12 stories high (or more) in Burnaby, it definitely doesn't have a freight elevator.

Oh, and Tasers don't fire bursts ...

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