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THE DEMI-MONDE: WINTER by Rod Rees

THE DEMI-MONDE: WINTER by Rod Rees

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3.72

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Published by WilliamMorrowBooks
In the Demi-Monde, author Rod Rees has conjured up a terrifying virtual reality, a world dominated by history’s most ruthless and bloodthirsty psychopaths—from Holocaust architect Reinhard Heydrich to Torquemada, the Spanish Inquisition’s pitiless torturer, to Josef Stalin’s bloodthirsty right-hand man/monster, the infamous Beria. The Demi-Monde: Winter kicks off a brilliant, high concept series that blends science fiction and thriller, steampunk and dystopian vision. If Neil Gaiman, Neal Stephenson, James Rollins, and Clive Cussler participated in Suzanne Collins’s The Hunger Games, the result might be something akin to the dark and ingenious madness of Rees’s The Demi-Monde: Winter.


In the Demi-Monde, author Rod Rees has conjured up a terrifying virtual reality, a world dominated by history’s most ruthless and bloodthirsty psychopaths—from Holocaust architect Reinhard Heydrich to Torquemada, the Spanish Inquisition’s pitiless torturer, to Josef Stalin’s bloodthirsty right-hand man/monster, the infamous Beria. The Demi-Monde: Winter kicks off a brilliant, high concept series that blends science fiction and thriller, steampunk and dystopian vision. If Neil Gaiman, Neal Stephenson, James Rollins, and Clive Cussler participated in Suzanne Collins’s The Hunger Games, the result might be something akin to the dark and ingenious madness of Rees’s The Demi-Monde: Winter.


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Publish date: Dec 27, 2011
Added to Scribd: Dec 07, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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02/17/2014

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THE DEMI-MONDE:
WINTER
ROD REES
WILLIAM
 
MORROW
An Imprint o 
HarperCollins
Publishers
 
Demi-Monde (noun):
1. a subclass o society whose members embrace adecadent liestyle and evince loose morals;2. a shadow world where the norms o civilized be-havior have been abandoned;3. an MMP simulation platormed on the ABBAquantum computer and utilizing ParaDigm Cyber-Researchs otal Reality User Envelopment technol-ogy to re-create in a wholly realistic cyber-milieu thethreat-ambiance and no-warning aspects o a high-intensity, deep-density, urban Asymmetric WarareEnvironment;4. hell.

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melissarochelle_1 reviewed this
Rated 3/5
Read from February 18 to 21, 2012I liked this book. I WANTED to love it. There's a lot going on in the Demi-Monde and even though the book gives a lot of explanation, there's still even more that I don't know. One thing that's frustrating is that this book is a lot of set-up for the rest of the series. Again, I ask, whatever happened to a standalone novel? Other thing that's frustrating: There was no conclusion for the story in THIS BOOK. I like a good series, but I also like a series where each book in the series is simply a good story on its own (ie Parasol Protectorate series by Gail Carriger). I enjoyed the fusion of historical characters with the smashing up of religions and ideas, but perhaps there was too much of that going on. I mean, there's SO much happening and so much to learn about the Demi-Monde world that it's hard to keep it all together.So I did like the book...obviously, because I finished it. But I was still a little disappointed. Will I read the second in the series? That's still to be determined.
prop2gether reviewed this
Rated 2/5
Are you kidding me? This book earned two stars only because I wanted to see how ridiculous the storyline could get and finished reading it. Supposedly in the steampunk tradition, you can get an outline of the characters elsewhere. I was so thoroughly annoyed by whiny female characters who are impossibly beautiful, boastful soldiers,virtuous heroes, heinous villains (all, incidentally, based on real life counterparts), with a pastiche of religion, politics, racism, sexism, whatever you never thought you might find together in a story. And then it just flat ends. Because, of course, there is a sequel which you must hurry out and purchase. I like well written stories of this "type" but this was the worst hodgepodge I've worked through in a long, long while.
jmchshannon reviewed this
Ella Thomas is a normal eighteen-year-old, trying to earn money to put herself through college and keep her younger brother out of trouble. When she is offered a job to enter the Demi-Monde and rescue the President’s daughter, she also receives five million reasons to accept the dangerous task. Unfortunately, the virtual world is something for which no amount of training can prepare someone, and Ella soon finds herself whisked along in the chaos that is the Demi-Monde, forming unlikely partnerships, crossing paths with some of the most famous and infamous historical and cultural leaders to grace the Earth, and uncovering a dangerous plot with the potential to change the world, real and virtual, forever. Such is the world envisioned by Rod Rees in his novel, The Demi-Monde: Winter.The Demi-Monde: Winter involves a fully-realized virtual reality in which Mr. Rees has already considered and planned the slightest details to make it as realistic as possible. It is complex and layered and not easily explained or understood in a few short pages, let alone chapters. However, this intricacy is necessary for it adds a layer of authenticity to the story and prevents it from becoming farcical. Between the glossaries for common terminology, the explanations that begin each chapter, and the detailed maps of each section of the Demi-Monde itself that precedes each section, a reader can take as much time as necessary to adapt to the lingo, learn the geography, and understand the political, religious, social, and economic differences of each sector before proceeding to the next chapter/page/paragraph. The time taken to understand the Demi-Monde will help immerse the reader into this familiar but different world.One of the unique features of the Demi-Monde, and therefore of the story, is the fact that the key leaders in the virtual world are historical characters. If one is so inclined, a reader can take the time to learn more about each of the leaders and key players in the drama. Not only does it help a reader understand why they made the chosen list of cyber-duplicates, it adds a sense of tension to know exactly what each character is capable of achieving when allowed to run amok in a virtual world predicated on chaos. There is something profoundly chilling in knowing what Rudolph Heydrich did in real life and seeing how he might have acted without an opposing force to stop him.The Demi-Monde: Winter is not by any means a character-driven novel. In fact, character development is superficial at best, while character descriptions beyond the physical are also lacking. However, a reader never feels this loss, as the characters’ actions make sense given what little back story is told about them. In addition, much of the character development occurs in the heat of the moment, forgoing the necessity for detailed exposition regarding each character’s past. One does not need to know about Trixie Dashwood’s childhood to understand her transformation by the end of the novel, and Ella’s character is one the evolves as her time in the Demi-Monde lengthens. The only character to suffer from this distinct lack of explanation is the President’s daughter, but it becomes apparent that this is a deliberate choice on Mr. Rees’ part for a reader’s uncertainty about her will play a large role in future novels. Even without a detailed back story, each character has a strong personality that bursts from the page and enlivens the action. One never knows how a character is going to act, and it is this uncertainty which helps generate suspense but also gives readers a feel for the maelstrom that is the very definition of the Demi-Monde.As with all science fiction novels, there is a level of disbelief that one should suspend for overall enjoyment of the story, and the same is true of The Demi-Monde: Winter. Mr. Rees dispels some of the disbelief himself with the descriptions of the computers used to power the Demi-Monde; they are too powerful for current technology. Then there is the idea of prescient virtual beings who completely understand their environment and its limitations and the idea that a computer simulation could manifest itself in the real world; Mr. Rees uses the long-standing fears of technology becoming cognizant and acting of their own accord to create an element of fear and urgency throughout the story. That being said, one never knows just how advanced computers have become in the private sector, and the mere possibility that the government could create a virtual training world using advanced computers and processing adds to the intrigue. As far-fetched as the premise might be, the fact that there is always a chance of its occurrence is more than enough to make the idea exciting.The Demi-Monde: Winter is a truly fascinating look at the possibilities of virtual reality and the dangers of becoming to immersed into them. It is also an intriguing sociological experiment in forcing so many megalomaniacs into one small area and watching to see who emerges as a victor. The results are surprising and yet not quite as shocking as one might initially predict. The world inhabited by the Demi-Mondians is suitably horrifying, especially as a counterpoint to modern cultures, but the largest revelation of all is how little it takes to adjust to the differences. The hatred and vitriol spewed by the top leaders in the Demi-Monde never cease to be upsetting but become less outrageous as a reader progresses through the novel. The depravity of the Rookeries and the abject poverty of most of the Demi-Mondians becomes Dickensian rather than appalling, part of the setting rather than any sort of social commentary. Yet the element of danger that a reader first experiences in the prologue never ceases as the story develops. A reader can adjust to the hatred, to the poverty, to the depravity, and to the putrefaction of the Demi-Monde itself, but a reader never adjusts to the danger that is part of the daily life of living in the Demi-Monde. It makes for a gripping story with captivating characters and a fast-paced plot which allows a reader to fly through its 500+ pages. The breathtaking ending will leave a reader eagerly anticipating the next installment in the series. Thankfully, American audiences do not have that much longer to wait.
kraaivrouw reviewed this
Painfully impossible to read. Pretentious, trying too hard, plus boring! It reminded me greatly of The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters by Gordon Dahlquist - great title, can't read it. If you liked those books (and many did), try this one.
dgmlrhodes reviewed this
Rated 4/5
The Demi-Monde Winter is an extremely creative and interesting blend of reading genres. It was an ambitious novel that gets an A for wordplay and creativity. The book combines elements of the thriller, action/adventure, dystopian, steampunk and strategy nicely into a single package. The author has built an environment within a computer simulation where its thirty million digital inhabitants are ruled by duplicates of some of history's cruellest tyrants: Reinhard Heydrich, the architect of the Holocaust; Beria, Stalin's arch executioner; Torquemada, the pitiless Inquisitor General; Robespierre, the face of the Reign of Terror. Put that together with some rather radical religions and beliefs and you have chaos. Our heroine in the novel enters the game to save the presidents daughter - and of course to earn a big payout originally offered at $1 million and upped to $5 million. There are many interesting twists and challenges throughout the course of the book and it was definitely entertaining! It's my understanding that there will be books to follow this one in series. It's definitely a series I will continue reading! Reader received a complimentary copy of this book from Good Reads First Reads program.
suetu_1 reviewed this
Rated 5/5
Now, this is a Winter I can get on board with!I started reading this novel on Christmas Day, and what a gift to me! I enjoyed it way more than expected—to the point that I could barely drag myself away to celebrate with friends. Why the limited expectations? Well, I was unfamiliar with the author, but even more I was wary of a science fictiony-sounding premise. The novel does indeed intersect the genres of science fiction, fantasy, and thriller, making it a bit difficult to pigeonhole, but it all comes together terrifically.Unfortunately, if you try to summarize the plot to anyone, you’ll sound like a lunatic. Early in the novel, a character explains the basic set-up to Ella Thomas, the novel’s protagonist:“Asymmetric Warfare is the U.S. military’s name for all those messy little conflicts that our country keeps finding itself fighting in hellish places like Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan. They are wars without rules and without honor and, to be blunt, they are wars the U.S. Army isn’t particularly good at fighting. When the U.S. military began to study its performance in Asymmetric Warfare Environments it discovered that its soldiers, especially its officers, weren’t effective because they had no appreciation of or understanding of what sort of war they would be fighting. So in order to prepare them better, the U.S. Army InDoctrination and Training Command came up with the idea of creating a computer simulation that would let our combat personnel experience what was waiting for them in Peshawar and desperate places like it… The Demi-Monde is the most sophisticated, the most complex and the most terrifying computer simulation ever devised. It’s a simulation that recreates the visceral anxiety and fear of being in an… Asymmetric Warfare Environment. To play the Demi-Monde you have to be hardwired into it and the hardwiring creates a full sensory bypass: you believe you are in the Demi-Monde.”Oh, and one other little detail… If you die in the Demi-Monde, you die in real life. Ella has been recruited for a rescue mission. She possesses unique skills and qualifications—and is desperate enough to risk her life—in order to save the daughter of the President of the United States, who has somehow been lost in the Demi-Monde.Okay, that is not the premise of what I typically read, but this book grabbed me almost immediately. Without being “literary” in any way, the novel is very well written. Rees isn’t merely setting his novel, he is world-building. And doing so very, very effectively. (In addition to the descriptions within the novel, I was fascinated by the maps scattered throughout.) Elements of the Demi-Monde are based on Nazi Germany, but the world that Rees has created is so much richer and more complex than just that. The novel is both political and philosophical, and Rees plays around a lot with language. In fact, at the back of the book there’s a complete glossary of words like UnFunDaMentalism, HerEticalism, HimPerialism, ill-ucination, and the like. At first, I thought the author was just having fun and being clever, but soon enough the use of language became highly Orwellian. After all, it was Orwell who said, “But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.” It’s all so entertaining and so smart.And we haven’t even discussed the characters yet. Ella is terrific character to build the novel around, but is actually one of several major characters. The bulk of this novel takes place in the virtual reality of the Demi-Monde, which is peopled with 30 million “dupes,” basically artificial intelligences. And they are so convincingly rendered that the reader experiences the same cognitive dissonance that Ella does in distinguishing exactly who and what is real. The relationships depicted encompass the entire spectrum from love to hate and everything in between. Race, religion, nationality, and yes, reality, all cause conflict with countless lives on the line. But do dupe lives even matter?You’ve probably gathered by now that this is a complicated 500+ page novel, and it is only the first of a quadrilogy. There is a story arc in this first novel, but there really is no resolution. It ends on multiple cliff-hangers. This is the sort of thing I generally hate, but I was so caught up in this fast-moving epic that really I’m just looking forward to the next installment and pleased that there will be three more volumes to look forward to. Hooray for trying something a bit outside my comfort zone! What a great find! My New Year’s resolution: resist ordering a copy of the sequel from England. It’s going to be hard.
adpaton reviewed this
Rated 3/5
There are few things more objectionable than ploughing through a doorstopper of a book without being warned beforehand that it is just volume one in a quartet and will end if not in a cliffhanger then at least on the edge of a terrace. The premise behind the Demi-Monde is fantastical – whether it can be sustained over four long books is another matter. Set in a future virtual reality designed to prepare soldiers for urban warfare and peopled by simulations of the worst villains of human history, fantasy threatens reality when the duplicates develop personalities of their own and decide to invade the ‘real’ world. In the best Steam punk tradition, the Demi Monde is stuck in the late Victorian era, boasts baddies like Reinhardt Heydrich, Aleister Crowley, Shaka Zulu and Rasputin: it’s up to Ella Thomas, a black jazz singer, to visit the racist and misogynist Demi-Mode, vanquish the villains, and save the real world. By the end of the first book she hadn’t get very far…
lambada_2 reviewed this
Rated 4/5
A brilliant book. The plot may sound eye-rolling at first - the US Presidents Daughter gets trapped in the vicious virtual reality simulation used by the US Military for training simulations - but it is extremely well written, with a vivid set of characters.
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