Fox is a master at navigating the mindnet, and as part of King’s group, he works to find out the truth and bring it into the light. More often than not, it means exposing government conspiracies and liberating the less fortunate. No one in his real life knows what Fox does on the net, and no one on the net knows who he is in real life. He’s worked hard to keep it that way. As have his companions. But during a meeting, MindHackers break through into King’s domain. The group fights, but King’s physical body has been compromised and is being held hostage. And the only thing King can do is delete his memories so the government agents can’t use the information he knows against anyone.
With King taken hostage, Fox and his compatriots have no choice but to get their leader back. But the problem is twofold; they need to find where his physical body is being held, and they need to locate his memories so they can return them once they find him. Fox and Joanne, one of his teammates, go about searching for the lost memories while the other three try to figure out where King’s body is being held.
Seven is an agent for the government. He is completely in service to those who made him. He never leaves the mindnet, and he has no idea where his physical body is. Seven is special in that he can split his mind in two. He can keep up his personal domain while also being out in the public part of the net. He keeps King, who now has no idea who he is, in his personal domain while he also hunts the rebels. But Seven isn’t exactly like his fellow agents, though he does his best to keep it hidden. He hasn’t lost all his compassion. And the first time he encounters Fox, he feels drawn to the man.
As Fox, with help, slowly pieces together the clues and locates King’s memories, he also keeps having run ins with Seven. Fox knows there is a traitor in their midst, but he can’t take the time to figure out who. And Seven is giving him information Seven probably shouldn’t. Seven begins to realize that there is hope for life In Real Life and away from the agency that holds him hostage. He begins to help Fox in his mission to restore King. Together they make progress, but the deception goes even deeper than they think and more lives are at stake than they could image. In order to rescue everyone, they’ll have to risk everything.
The premise of this book intrigued me right from the start, and I found this story fascinating in a lot of ways. The author managed to create a complex and believable world where logging onto the net means a direct link with a person’s mind. The world building here is intense and so very well done. Almost the entire story takes place solely within the net, and while it’s a futuristic world, it was routed in terms and situations we see on the internet today. I was completely absorbed into the world, and the mystery of the plot as it unfolded.
Fox was an incredibly well crafted character. From the very beginning, he drew me in and I was on his side. I liked that he uses his skills, and he is very gifted at navigating the mindnet, to better humanity. I’ve always been drawn to anti-heroes, and Fox definitely has that sort of vibe. In real life, he’s nothing too special, but on the net he exposes the bad guys by any means necessary. On top of that, he was wonderfully layered, and bits of his personality were constantly being revealed. I liked how well everything connected, everything about him was tied together so perfectly. His life experiences shaped who he was. I will admit to missing just one piece about him. He was so well developed and fleshed out he felt real, but I have no idea how he got into the business of exposing the truth to the public. If it was mentioned, I missed it, and I definitely would have liked knowing that. But he’s very well rounded, and he drives the story.
Seven is something else all together. He’s been working for the agency for as long as he can remember. He’s been conditioned to think a certain way, and to appear a certain way on the net. He doesn’t have a choice as his physical body is in the agency’s care, and if he doesn’t do what they want, he’ll be terminated. I found him utterly fascinating, as he’s the perfect mix of drone and free thinker. The more he gets to know King and Fox, the more he realizes that there’s hope. Fox is the one who kisses him first, and this also sparks revelations in his mind. I liked that he came to his own conclusions, that he worked against the agency because of what he wanted in conjunction with his connection with Fox. And let me tell you, these guys connect. There’s something about them that just makes complete and total sense. Now, there isn’t that much in the way of romance here. But seriously, their connection is palpable. So even though it’s a subplot to the greater story, it truly enhances the plot and gives a nice HFN at the end. I will admit, though, here was another area I would have liked to see more of especially at the end. Within the main plot, it fit perfectly with what was going on. But at the end, and I don’t want to give anything away, I would have liked to see a few more scenes with these guys.
In addition to the MCs, we had some really wonderfully fleshed out secondary characters that really enhanced the story. Everyone had a purpose and was a distinct and believable construct. There were times when it felt like an ensemble piece, and I really enjoyed what each character brought to the story.
So ultimately, I really liked this book. A fascinating world, really well done characters, and a nicely paced plot that kept me engaged from the first word to the last all combined for a really great read. If this story sounds even remotely interesting to you, I urge you to give it a try.