Reviews Logo
SearchHomeContents PageSite Map
The Cobweb
Stephen Bury
Bantam, 448 pages

The Cobweb
Stephen Bury
Stephen Bury is a pseudonym for Neal Stephenson (In the Beginning... Was the Command Line, Cryptonomicon) and J. Frederick George. Their other novel is titled Interface.

ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: The Cobweb

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Rodger Turner

Let's suppose you want to start a war or you want to annex some land because you feel that it is part of your country (despite having lost it in battle). Suppose you want to have weapons against which your opponent has little or no defense. But all you have is money: you don't have the technology, you don't have the science infrastructure, you don't have the planning to bring it all together. But you do have the money and you do have the time. One way to do it is to buy the tools in such a way as to make it appear that you are buying something else. You buy the expertise under the guise of building an infrastructure. You send your best and brightest students off to school in another country. You plant a few moles in the various intelligence agencies. Wait for awhile and then you invade. Wait a little longer and decide to bring it all together. And the only thing standing in your way is a rural deputy sheriff who's about to lose his job because he's decided to run in an election against his boss. Worried?

This is what Deputy Sheriff Clyde Banks in Folks County, Iowa ends up facing after a series of seemingly unrelated events and stumbled-over clues begin to coalesce for him. Who will believe him? Well, Betsy Vandeventer, a mild CIA analyst, formerly of Folks County just might. She's tried telling her bosses that the foreign aid going into Iraq isn't producing enough on soybeans. Now she's a target for hit men. Her unlikely alliance with Richard Spector, a CIA smoothie whose loyalties don't bear scrutiny may not be enough to save her.

Stephen Bury (aka Neal Stephenson and J. Frederick George, his uncle) has written a stunning novel, taut, chilling, lean and witty. The Cobweb is a book I'd give to a fledgling writer to show them how it is done.

Copyright © 1996, 2002 Rodger Turner

Rodger has read a lot of science fiction and fantasy in forty years. He can only shake his head and say, "So many books, so little time."

SearchContents PageSite MapContact UsCopyright

If you find any errors, typos or other stuff worth mentioning, please send it to
Copyright © 1996-2014 SF Site All Rights Reserved Worldwide