The Fear Index

  • by Robert Harris
  • Narrated by Christian Rodska
  • 9 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

At the nexus of high finance and sophisticated computer programming, a terrifying future may be unfolding even now.
Dr. Alex Hoffmann’s name is carefully guarded from the general public, but within the secretive inner circles of the ultrarich, he is a legend. He has developed a revolutionary form of artificial intelligence that predicts movements in the financial markets with uncanny accuracy. His hedge fund, based in Geneva, makes billions. But one morning before dawn, a sinister intruder breaches the elaborate security of his lakeside mansion, and so begins a waking nightmare of paranoia and violence as Hoffmann attempts, with increasing desperation, to discover who is trying to destroy him.
Fiendishly smart and suspenseful, The Fear Index gives us a searing glimpse into an all-too-recognizable world of greed and panic. It is a novel that forces us to confront the question of what it means to be human—and it is Robert Harris’s most spellbinding and audacious novel to date.


What the Critics Say

"Unputdownable.... Harris has achieved the impossible, or at least the improbable: an explanation of the extravagantly esoteric nature of hedge funds, which normal people can understand.... I gorged myself, devouring his dystopian vision of free markets enslaved by a sinister artificial intelligence in one breakneck sitting.” (The Daily Telegraph)
“Reminiscent of everyone from Michael Crichton to Ian Fleming, Stanley Kubrick and Alfred Hitchcock.” (Financial Times)
“A virtuoso specimen.... Inventively exploiting current anxieties about algorithmic trading to update the Frankenstein story, The Fear Index is both cutting edge and keenly conscious of its literary predecessors.... A tour de force.” (The Sunday Times, London)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Familiar plot

Any additional comments?

Plot seemed very predictable - the M5 from Star Trek, HAL from 2001, WAR GAMES, and any number of other stories where artificial intelligence eventually runs amok. Other Robert Harris books that I have read were outstanding but I was underwhelmed with this one. The narration by Christian Rodska was acceptable, although his performance in this was very much inferior to the one he had in Winston Churchill's the Second World War.

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- Mark

The Book Dan Brown Wished He Wrote

Have you read "Digital Fortress" Dan Brown's clanky stew of improbabilities? Pity, you should have read, and still should read "The Fear Index". I'm an economist with a specialty in finance. And I wondered throughout this book if Harris sat behind me in class, taking better notes? Or maybe he was off studying the art market? Or maybe he spent those study years in cyber studies… or…

A number of authors have played with the general theme of "The Fear Index"… none better than Harris does here. And Christian Rodska is so superb that he'd surely win some sort of Academy Award for excellence in the audio genre if only one existed (Does it? Why not?).

I'm giving copies of "The Fear Index" to friends this Christmas. When you do that, you're reputation for picking thrillers is on the line. I'll walk that line ho-ho-ho-ing with Harris in my Santa bag.

Treat yourself, listen to this one.
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- Ted

Book Details

  • Release Date: 01-31-2012
  • Publisher: Random House Audio