EXPERIENCE THE ULTIMATE IN VIRTUAL REALITY
The Demi-Monde is the most advanced computer simulation ever devised. Created to prepare soldiers for the nightmarish reality of urban warfare, it is a virtual world locked in eternal civil war.
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.
But something has gone badly wrong inside the Demi-Monde, and the US President’s daughter has become trapped in this terrible world.
It falls to eighteen-year-old Ella Thomas to rescue her, yet once Ella has entered the Demi-Monde she finds that everything is not as it seems, that its cyber-walls are struggling to contain the evil within and that the Real World is in more danger than anyone realises.
Ellen Trevan joined us for two weeks to find out how publishing works, and while she was here, she took the opportunity to stock up her bookshelf. She was so excited by Rod Rees’ first two books that she wanted to share her thoughts . . .
‘If the sight in front of her eyes was anything to go by, Ella would be forgiven for believing that she’d been transported into 1870’s London. But no, the computer implant in her brain reminded her that it was simply a simulation, an astonishingly realistic simulation.’
When reading how a girl was transported into a computer simulated other world to save the life of the President’s daughter, I expected an onslaught of demons and monsters driven by blood-lust and rage.
Instead, I came across the Demi-Monde. Filled with tyrannous rulers who have demonic features, the Demi-Monde far surpasses the terror of mythical monsters and fairytale foes. It is the reality of it that is chilling.
In the form of the Demi-Monde Rod Rees gives a sickening portrayal of ‘civilised’ society’s abusive abilities as individuals strive for power.
This parallel world of disharmony and conflict was created as a military exercise by the American government, but the sophistication of software eventually allows the Dupes (digital duplicates of real-world counterparts) to become cogent and self-motivated.
As some are duplicates of real-world tyrants, soon a new World War begins to consume the civility of the Demi-Monde.
It is only when a malevolent genius gains access to the real-world, and takes the President’s daughter hostage, that scientists begin to intervene.
Ella Thomas is sent in, for the payment of five million dollars but after entering a world where a chilled b&t (blood and tonic) is the perfect antidote to a stressful day, she realises she should have got a lot more.
Every element of Rees’ characters emulate their real-life doppelgängers. From their diction, to the movement in their eyes, the rulers of the Demi-Monde are perfect reconstructions. Through his mirror world Rees reminds us that true terror lies in human bestiality.
Racial prejudice and sexism are rife in the Demi-Monde, twisted ambition defiles human – or cyber-human – freedom. It becomes the responsibility of this 18-year old Deamon from the ‘real-world’ to unite those at odds against a stronger beast.
In a land where fear rules the masses it is down to a chosen few to re-write the history of this duplicitous world.
The book has been receiving some great reviews elsewhere too, one from the excellent book geeks:
This exciting science fiction thriller is owned by the richly textured cyber world in which a glossary is a necessity.
The famous and notorious from history are part of the structured caste system while landmarks enhance the sense of a distorted image of nineteenth century Earth as a millennium has passed since Demi-Monde was created; ergo this world has changed somewhat from the original model. Thus Ella learns that fact the hard way as her training missed critical information.
Readers see Rod Rees’ world though Ella’s eyes as The Demi-Monde: Winter is a fascinating creative futuristic thriller.
Even the book’s design is receiving plaudits as in this fabulous review from Reader Dad:
On a more physical note, Quercus have produced an absolutely beautiful volume, not at all what you’d expect to find on the shelves of your local bookshop, but rather something you’d expect to pay a premium for from a small-press publisher.
The jacketless printed cover with gold-leaf effect is a beautiful addition to any bookshelf. If author and publisher can maintain this standard for the rest of the series, THE DEMI-MONDE should become the cornerstone of a steampunk revival.
Here is a video of Rod discussing the book: