Del Rey, May 2004, 24.95, 320 pp.
Derek Vandeveer is the vice president of research and development at Mondiale in Merwinster New Jersey making a fabulous salary, living in a mini mansion most people would envy and married to an astrophysicist who is his intellectual equal. Van is a very contented person, but that all changes on Sept 11, 2001 when he realizes his priorities need to change. The Federal government recruits him to work as an expert in cyber security enabling him to take an active role in the war on terrorism.
He creates Grendel, a hack-proof system that is a big success for the agency he is working for but what really interests him is the KH-13 satellite. If working properly, it can pick up images of weapons going off anywhere in the world. However, it is not working the way it is supposed to and Van thinks he has a way of firing it up even though he doesn't know the cause of the failure. Unfortunately he can't get anybody to listen to him but his time with the Feds has turned the computer nerd into a warrior, one willing to confront a traitor ready to sell out his country.
Readers who have some background in the sciences and information technology will appreciate THE ZENITH ANGLE better than those people in the audience who have limited understanding of either subject as this tale is highly complex and technical. The protagonist evolves and changes through the course of the exciting story line as he (and the readers) likes the person he becomes. Bruce Sterling has written a compelling work that shows the effects of 9/11 on one computer geek turned cyber warrior.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner