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The Fear Index

Robert Harris

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Published by Arrow, part of Cornerstone Publishing

Format: Paperback


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EAN: 9780099553267
Published: 24 May 2012


About the book


Meet Alex Hoffmann: among the secretive inner circle of the ultra-rich, he is something of a legend.

Based in Geneva, he has developed a revolutionary system that has the power to manipulate financial markets. Generating billions of dollars, it is a system that thrives on panic - and feeds on fear.

And then, in the early hours of one morning, while he lies asleep, a sinister intruder breaches the elaborate security of his lakeside home.

So begins a waking nightmare of paranoia and violence as Hoffmann attempts - with increasing desperation - to discover who is trying to destroy him - before it's too late ...

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What the critics say

The Fear Index could scarcely be more of the moment
- The Times

Perhaps the greatest thriller writer around, Harris has delivered his best work yet. A modern classic.
- Irish Examiner

In Harris's latest thriller, the absurdly gripping The Fear Index . . . Harris's great skill is to inhabit fully and convincingly the worlds he writes about - whether Cicero's Rome, modern-day Russia or Swiss high finance - showing off his vast research yet never allowing the white-knuckle narrative to lose momentum.
- New Statesman

Robert Harris's thriller covers a single day in Dr Hoffman's life - May 6, 2010 (the date of the last British general election) - when it all goes wrong, or rather, which is more frightening, when it all goes dramatically, unstoppably right . . . The Fear Index is a frightening book, of course, as, with its title, it intends. Harris has an excellent sense of pace, and understands as much about fear in literature as Hoffman does in markets.
- Telegraph

Part techno-thriller, part psychological drama, The Fear Index is as gripping a tale as anything Robert Harris, described as Britain's most bankable author, has written. Quite different from anything he has done before, it crackles with energy and invention, and the author's obviously extensive research into the arcane world of state-of-the-art computing technology, algorithms, trading and hedge funds is dished up lightly and intelligibly.
- Irish Independent

Imagine a computer that can hack into terrorist cells and air-traffic control, sniff out world disasters before they happen and cash in on the fear they generate. Marry this development by an American IT nerd to a smoothly British hedge-fund manager, and the result is untold riches . . . Robert Harris's first contemporary thriller since The Ghost, is an ingenious and vivid parable of our times.
- Reader's Digest

The brief flicker of ambivalence about the period is stage-setting for a tour de force exercise in regenerating a classic. Taking a scenario as up-to-the-minute as a news flash from the money markets, The Fear Index gives it the scary features of Mary Shelley's 1818 shocker Frankenstein . . . Like Frankenstein, his novel is a tale of the catastrophic consequences of galvanising inanimate matter into uncontrollable life . . . The Fear Index is both cutting edge and keenly conscious of its literary predecessors. Reworking classic texts is a large-scale literary industry these days. Harris's tongue-in-cheek flesh-creeper (whose most chilling moments are its reminders of our present financial woes) is a virtuoso specimen of it.
- Sunday Times

Like all Harris's books, this one is readily enjoyable as a suspense story . . . But what makes Harris's thrillers so much more rewarding than those of his rivals is that they all, whatever their ostensible subject, come out of his deep and expert interest in politics, broadly conceived - which is to say, in power, in how power is taken, held and lost; how some people are able to dominate others; how wealth and status, fear and greed, work . . .The Fear Index (which has a lot to say about the very rich - a group to which Harris himself now belongs but doesn't like) is ultimately a study in the total lack of morality of those who manipulate the markets . . . By focusing thus on a rogue algorithm and a pure scientist, Harris is not really fronting up the true authors of our current financial plight, perhaps. But, in its own carefully conceived terms, The Fear Index is certainly another winner.
- Evening Standard

About the Author

Robert Harris is one of Britain’s most famous writers of thriller novels and gripping historical fiction. He is the author of eight bestselling historical and contemporary thrillers: Archangel, Enigma, Fatherland, The Fear Index, The Ghost, Imperium, Lustrum and Pompeii, all of which were worldwide bestsellers.

Harris has been shortlisted for three notable literary awards: the Walter Scott prize for historical fiction, the Whitbread first novel award (now known as the Costa Book award) and the British Book Awards Popular Fiction Award. His most recent bestselling thriller, The Fear Index, was shortlisted for the Ian Fleming Steel Dagger, for best thriller of the year, at the 2012 Specsavers Crime Thriller Awards.

Robert Harris has worked with international film director Roman Polanski to create the Golden Globe winning film The Ghost Writer, starring Pierce Brosnan and Ewan McGregor. Enigma was adapted into an award-winning film starring Kate Winslet and Tom Hollander.

His work has been translated into thirty-three languages. He was born in Nottingham in 1957 and is a graduate of Cambridge University. He worked as a reporter on the BBC's Newsnight and Panorama programmes, before becoming Political Editor of the Observer in 1987, and then a columnist on the Sunday Times and the Daily Telegraph. In 2003 he was named Columnist of the Year in the British Press Awards. He lives near Hungerford in Berkshire with his wife and their four children.

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