Cover Image: This Eden

This Eden

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

THIS EDEN by Ed O'Loughlin weaves technology, power, lies, and secrecy all together to create a plot that is truly fresh and compelling. I did find the storytelling a little unusual at the beginning but soon fell into its flow and couldn't put it down until I unravelled what had happened.
Was this review helpful?
This book was a page turner from beginning to end. Very captivating with amazing character development. 
A guy is chosen to fly to Silicon Valley to work for a large tech company on a huge project. Before he knows it he is flung into a huge government coverup and doesn’t know who to trust or who to believe. To be honest at times I found it hard to even catch up or remember what was going on.  I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.
Was this review helpful?
I think it's well written and the world building is interesting but I also found it a bit confusing and the story didn't keep my attention.
Not my cup of tea.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine
Was this review helpful?
Unfortunately I  found it hard to maintain an interest in the storyline. I found that I stopped reading in favour of starting another book. I could not see where the plot was going and the characters confused me. I am sure that it will appeal to a specific group of readers but sorry its not for me.
Was this review helpful?
I wanted to read this and I wanted to like it, but unfortunately I didn't enjoy it and I can't explain exactly why. I felt like the story was all over the place without a specific reason. I hoped continuously until the end of the book that I will enjoy it but not this time. Maybe others will enjoy it more than I did.
Was this review helpful?
This book as a feel of Dan Brown’s Digital Fortress in parts. I liked the telling of a secret underground life of people who are using technology to make money. It’s going on around us, it’s just not visible. Great twists and turns with a small nod to the current global pandemic
Was this review helpful?
I don’t think I realised that this book would be set in the high tech world but found it interesting and a little unnerving – how true could this be.  Alice and Michael meet each other at University in Canada and seem an unlikely couple.  They eventually move in together and life is good.  Alice is heavily into programming and wants to start up a programme to do with currency on line and Michael is studying to become an engineer which he is finding difficult.  Alice is so involved in her project that they eventually begin to drift apart as Michael does not want to become involved in her theories.  She becomes more and more interested in finding out what is out there and stumbles across something odd.  She continues to probe and then mysteriously disappears.  It was put forward as suicide.  Michael finds this difficult to believe and realises he needs to take hold of his life  His parents, Iranian refugees had made him not trust anyone or anything so he needed to change his world.  Michael is then contacted by a tech firm in San Francisco which he does not understand but goes along for the interview.  He is very wary and cannot decide what is happening.  Whilst there he is recruited by Aoife which it turns out is a spy and then the fun and drama begins.  I really enjoyed this part of the book – all the comings and goings, different countries and the character who was in charge Towse who could change his persona at a drop of a hat.  They travel by air and sea, sometimes in comfort but more often not.  Michael and Aoife go along but do not really understand what Towse is hoping to achieve as he only gives information in small bites.  Eventually the story culminates in Dublin and the deed is done – did it work – read to find out.  Good story and extremely enjoyable as the characters were great.  Another great read from Netgalley, thank you
Was this review helpful?
A gripping read as the plot unfurls while the hero struggles to understand exactly what is going on around them. They're enmeshed in forces greater than they can see, yet keep plugging along to save themselves because there is no other way but through.
Was this review helpful?
Disappointing. This book wasn't for me.  I spent the first half of the book with no idea of where the plot was going deciding whether to give up reading it.  I soldiered on, not even particularly liking the characters still with no idea of the direction of the plot.  The end was real disappointment.  Twists and turns and not knowing who are the goodies or baddies usually makes a book interesting.  This was like walking through a maze not knowing where you are or where you are trying to get to.
Was this review helpful?
"This Eden" builds well from an absolutely cracking sprint-start into a rather fascinating tour of the cyber world, fintech, governmental spy organisations and industrial espionage. We step into the waters with a romance and a hint of mystery, then find ourselves heading off the 10m board into a maelstrom of political, economic and moral dilemmas.

O'Loughlin cleverly drip-feeds nuanced info about each of the characters, twisting and changing what we think they're up to and whether we should like them (or not). The early chapters carry an air of a storm approaching and  then the novel adopts a darker, more malevolent tone. It's a very fast-paced read, perhaps too quick in places. As we are rushed to long-haul destinations at the drop of a hat, the compressed time-frame becomes a little unbelievable - and that's a shame, because it is a thought-provoking novel as well as being a very enjoyable one.

Bravo Mr McLoughlin for having a good array of female characters, so often not the case where spy/crime fiction is concerned. Oh, and is the taxi-driver modelled on Adrian McKinty?
Was this review helpful?
This Eden is a part espionage part techno-thriller part speculative fiction book in the vein of the likes of William Gibson as well as the golden age of panoramic international espionage fiction. Alice and Michael meet at university in Vancouver, she is a young computer prodigy, he is the hapless orphaned son of Iranian immigrants. First love is followed by a rift and then Alice disappears - suicide is suspected. While still processing the trauma, Michael is recruited by a San Francisco tech firm to work for its sinister founder Campbell Fess. But on arrival, he finds himself at the centre of the brilliantly managed con by a reluctant female spy named Aoife, who leads him to her handler, the ragged Towse. Powerless to the turn of Towse's whims, they're coerced into beginning a journey which neither of them understands, always having to keep ahead of Fess, his operatives and main hitwoman, Barb Collins. 

Their journey will take them by air and by sea, from California to Manhattan, into the Ugandan rain forest, Jordan, Jerusalem, Paris and finally Dublin. Under surveillance by the shape-shifting government war gamer, Towse, until the revelation of just what Fess is about to achieve is unveiled. Fast-moving, exhilarating and tense, This Eden plunges into an urgent struggle to disarm the deadliest weapon ever invented. Smart and suspenseful, subversive and striking, this is a compulsive and heart-thumping spy thriller but not only does it pack in the action and the thrills but more philosophical, thoughtful ponderings too, which I loved. Hopping from continent to continent from one adventure and mission to the next, the immersive, riveting plot continues apace and keeps your heart thumping as the diverging threads all eventually culminate in a white-knuckle conclusion.
Was this review helpful?
Ever felt like you were living in a dystopian tech thriller? That's because you are... Michael is out of his depth. The closest he ever came to working in tech was when he rode a delivery bike for a food app in Vancouver. Yet when his coder girlfriend dies, he is inexplicably headhunted by sinister tech mogul Campbell Fess, who transplants him to Silicon Valley. There, a reluctant female spy named Aoife lures him into the hands of Towse, an enigmatic war-gamer, who tricks them both into joining his quest to save the world, and reality itself, from the deadliest weapon, ever invented. The plot of the book is exciting and the finish of the book is suspenseful and fun, I just struggled to get there with the clunky dialogue and detailed, and yet muddled, descriptions of all the different settings.
Was this review helpful?
This book started well: Michael Altarian and his girlfriend Alice are living in Canada. Michael is and engineer, his parents, who lived under the radar, were killed in a road crash. 
Alice is some kind of IT whizz-kid, and is involved in developing a financial app that only uses cash.
She becomes involved with a company involved crypto-currency.
The first part of the book was very engaging as their relationship developed.
But when Alice disappeared, and Michael ends up in  Palo Alto working for the crypto-currency, things just got more and more convoluted.
Aoife is an Irish woman, who started in the police, but now seems to work for unspecified intelligence agencies.
Towse is a mysterious character with myriad contacts, and identities who appears to be controlling what Michael does.
The three of the travelled all over the world, fleeing I’m not sure who. There was mention of sentient money, aliens, something about apes in Africa, and finally, I was just reading to get to the end, not for any enjoyment. 
Not a good read for me.

Thanks to Netgalley and Quercus Books. for the opportunity to read this book.
Was this review helpful?
I was exhausted when I turned the final page of this book. It had been a veritable blast of a journey throughout. When I began, the day before, I really wasn't expecting either to get where we eventually ended up, or prepared for the journey to get there.
We first meet Michael Altarian when he is dating Alice, a very skillful coder when the two are still in uni. Alice is toying with her own finance app based on cash but in the mean time, until that is ready to launch, she is working for the opposition and their cryptocurrency app. And then she disappears. And Michael is thrust into the limelight when he is headhunted by the company who Alice worked for. Headhunted through an Irish spy called Aoiffe. And then the plot gets more convoluted than the number of attempts to pronounce her name and we, along with Michael, are whisked off on a techno-thriller adventure. Fast plotted and riddled with peril as our duo endeavour to get to the truth at the same time as trying to stay one step ahead of the enemy and, more importantly, stay alive.
Phew... what a ride this book took me on. And, unlike a lot of this genre book, not too heavy on the techno aspects which meant that this side of things was easy to understand. The plot, which was well executed, got on with itself at a fair lick. Aided by the absence of waffle or padding. And, when we eventually got to the end, did work out making sense! There were a few times along the way that I didn't know what way was up half the time and has to sit with a few things along the way. Not for too long I hasten to add and it wasn't uncomfortable.
The journey took me, along with the characters practically on a world tour spanning multiple countries - an eclectic mix! Leading to an explosive showdown in Dublin of all places. An ending that left me shocked but satisfied.
All in all, a good solid read that I recommend to fans of the techno-thriller genre and thriller fans alike. My thanks go to the Publisher and Netgalley for the chance to read this book.
Was this review helpful?
A truly original, fabulously twisty and genuinely entertaining cyber thriller with a great Irish flavour. All this, and Euro Easter eggs too. Great fun
Was this review helpful?
I enjoyed this book, at times improbable, and often funny, with lots of contemporary references, brought into the story in an entertaining way.
The female characters were well written, especially Alice and Aiofe.  I didn't get a real sense of Michael or Towse's personality or motives. 
A good story, in similar vein to William Gibson.
Was this review helpful?
In THIS EDEN, by Ed O'Loughlin, Michael is reeling from the death of his girlfriend when he is swept up by a mysterious man, Towse, who is on a secret mission to thwart a world catastrophe.  Towse, along with his other recruit, Aoife, drag Michael across the globe in hopes of completing their mission and saving the world.  The longer Michael is with Towse, the more it is clear that Towse never really tells the whole truth and Michael has to decide whether their mission really is for the good of everyone, or just good for Towse.
   The fun in this novel is in the chase.  From the time Michael meets Towse and Aoife, there is not a moment where the enemy is looming behind them.  Never being comfortable, plans are often made and adjusted on fly and the reader really feels this sense of spontaneity.  As more time is spent with Towse and it becomes clear he is very slow and calculating in what he reveals, the reader can't help but have fun trying to figure him out.  The dialogue is challenging at times and the style O'Loughlin uses leaves the reader struggling to keep up with who is speaking.  The global travel in the book is fun, but sometimes the geographic descriptions of the areas were hard to understand.
  The plot of THIS EDEN is exciting and the finish of the book is a suspenseful and fun, I just struggled to get their wit the clunky dialogue and detailed, and yet muttled, descriptions of all the different settings.
Was this review helpful?
I was tempted to read "This Eden" by Ed O'Loughlin by the premise that it was a fast-paced, spy-thriller, in a cyber setting.  I thought the first part when Michael and Alice meet at university and their life in Palo Alto, even when Michael gets recruited by the large cyber organisation, all mad sense.  Sadly when it became an on-the-run roadtrip/escape from the baddies, I started to lose interest.  I've read books before which jump from location to location and the fast-paced nature of the story keeps me interest. There was something lacking here... not 100% for me.
Was this review helpful?
This is an intriguing technothriller, and I really enjoyed the novel. Michael lives with Alice, who dies, and he ends up working for Fess, a man she hated. He gets involved with Aoife and Towse, and then things hot up, not that the novel is not eventful already, it moves at a fast pace and keeps the reader turning the page. I would recommend the novel. Thank you to netgalley and the publishers for giving me an advance copy of this book.
Was this review helpful?
Why aren’t more people reading this book? Let this (the first review on GR) change that. Mind you, this wasn’t an obvious choice for me either, I’m not exceptionally into technothrillers and I’m really not into spy fiction, I don’t normally commit 400 pages of reading to a book by an unknown author and yet there was something very intriguing about this book and I’m so glad I put reservations aside and decided to try it.
    The technothriller aspect comes into the plot pretty much straight away, one of the characters, Alice, gets involved with starting up a new kind of cryptocurrency. Michael, her boyfriend, isn’t really into it, isn’t on the same tech savvy or social conscience level to really get into it, but then the events decide things for him. Alice dies, Michael gets recruited to work for a tech giant named Fess and then once again recruited by an Irish spy named Aoiffe to work for a suspicious puppetmaster of a man named Towse. Cue in a globetrotting adventure, serpentine intrigue, taut suspense, the forever changing powers that be and endless manipulation, scheming and sneaking around that one normally associates with spy fiction and voila, this not so Edenic world comes to life in all of its confusingly exciting splendor.
   And lo and behold, I really liked it. Might be the first spy book I ever did. The writing certainly had a lot to do with it, from the get go it draws you in with this omniscient perspective done by an unknown narrator. This perspective seems to be accumulated through various data, which is clever in that it immediately establishes the tone for the story, factual instead of emotional, observed instead of experienced, dispassionate in a way and yet strangely compelling at the same time. This remove allows the book to rely on pure plot drivers, requiring structure where every action drives the narrative forward, even as the characters may go around in loops and spirals. But it doesn’t (though it easily might have) leave the character development by the wayside.
    In fact, in Michael and Aoiffe you get two very interesting leads, outsiders both though in completely different ways, one raised off the grid by foreign exiles in Canada just wants to have a quiet life, one is a young woman from Ireland who is looking for the right sort of excitement and danger and meaning in her life to make things interesting. And Towse…well, Towse is mainly unknowable as a proper spy master ought to be.
    Once the action kicks into high gear, it moves along with all the terrible and awesome gravity of an avalanche, one country to the next, one adventure to the next, one revelation to the next. Until it all so cleverly comes together at the end.   
    Don’t know if it made me a spy fiction convert or a technothriller fan, but then again it didn’t have to. Because really good books delight irrespective of genre boundaries.  And this is a really good book. I enjoyed it very much and it read surprisingly quickly for its size. Recommended. Thanks Netgalley.
Was this review helpful?