The Quantum Thief is a dazzling hard SF novel set in the solar system of the far future - a heist novel peopled by bizarre post-humans but powered by very human motives of betrayal, revenge and jealousy. It is a stunning debut. Jean le Flambeur is a post-human criminal, mind burglar, confidence artist and trickster. His origins are shrouded in mystery, but his exploits are known throughout the Heterarchy - from breaking into the vast Zeusbrains of the Inner System to steal their thoughts, to stealing rare Earth antiques from the aristocrats of the Moving Cities of Mars. Except that Jean made one mistake. Now he is condemned to play endless variations of a game-theoretic riddle in the vast virtual jail of the Axelrod Archons - the Dilemma Prison - against countless copies of himself. Jean's routine of death, defection and cooperation is upset by the arrival of Mieli and her spidership, Perhonen.
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Narration-style enhances this story's 'otherness'
I've listened to a couple of hundred audiobooks so far, and this one easily falls into my favourite top ten percent.
With an author so conversant with string theory it's hardly surprising that The Quantum Thief presents a series of memorable moments, each building on the other until a satisfyingly symmetrical conclusion is reached
Presenting Jean le Flambeur with a supercilious and hyper-intelligent persona, Degas's performance reflects the 'otherness' of Jean le Flambeur's entire existence, thereby enhancing the story itself
Reflecting the trickiness of humankind's susceptibility to game theory, love and romance, this scientifically satisfying story has post-human Jean le Flambeur co-opted into chasing memories he has deliberately hidden himself
A hard sci-fi story that has twists within twists, a warped view of romance, satisfyingly consistently believable theoretical background and a protagonist battling against near-godlike post-humans, the strongest of which is (or was) himself.
Rich, complex sci-fi. Great Story. Great Narrator.