Blackout by Marc Elsberg
In our busy lives it is so very easy to take everything we have at our fingertips for granted, such as electricity. We have all experienced those times when the power has gone down but soon it comes back up and life goes on. Just stop and think for a moment. Now just imagine the whole of Europe’s power supply being taken down, not by a fault or a storm but something much worse. German writer Marc Elsberg has penned the ultimate nightmare scenario thriller. In Blackout you have the realistic plot that will have you rooted to your chair to the very end.
A lot of major businesses have what they call disaster plans for an eventuality that may occur but at the time of writing this review the news feed is full of news of state sponsored or terrorist cyber-crime of trying to hack into power grids and worse, this is actually more frightening than you think when you scratch the surface and just see what could be achieved if successful. Everything we take for granted would go down in a heartbeat. Then what?
Maybe we are all guilty of taking our power supply for granted knowing that if there was a problem it would be resolved as quickly as they could. In Blackout Marc Elsberg goes to great lengths and tells us just how sophisticated these criminals are and just how easily it is to take down entire systems including Nuclear Power Plants and just imagine what would happen after, panic would ensue and chaos would follow. On a Europe wide scale this is a terrifying prospect that must worry leaders across Europe. Here in this gripping novel this is exactly what happens and how the life we take for granted just grinds to a halt. Who is behind this and what is they want? This is a conspiracy thriller that will keep you palms of hands sweating until the exciting finale. During the blackout a whole series of related events start, clean water becomes hard to find, people are freezing in the cold winters due to lack of heating day by day normal society is breaking down.
There are a lot of key characters here and as panic gains a foothold governments try their best to cover up what is really going on, meanwhile fingers are now being pointed on a country by country basis believing that this could be orchestrated by one country. Is this a lone hacker though, with one leading character Piero Manzano being blamed as part of the conspiracy theory, but is he part of this though despite his past as a leading hacker? Time is running out and panic is spreading and humans being humans in times like this think of survival at any cost. Meanwhile governments are doing everything they can to hide the truth from the public. But the longer it goes on the more the people start to fear the worst.
I really liked the way that Elsberg broke the chapters down into short character led chapters, as you begin to bring the story together and the plot thickens and the blackout spreads far and wide, can the real hackers be stopped. The whole story is worrying from the perspective of how interconnected Europe is as far as power is concerned. The author also goes into detail of how life starts to break down and how we are all vulnerable we are to health and security breaking down quickly.
Blackout is a well thought out novel that will have the reader gripped chapter by chapter and at the same time raises a number of questions on just how secure are our power supplies from cyber-attack.
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