Fiction Review: Tetraktys by Ari Juels

I finished reading Ari Juels' Tetraktys this week. Ari is Chief Scientist at RSA Labs, so brings a lot of tech cred to the table. This book is his first official work in the non-fiction realm, and it's definitely worth a read. I look forward to more from him.

In general, this book is typical of a first fiction work in that it has a degree of awkwardness. However, I think there's a lot of potential for the lead character, Ambrose Jerusalem, to grow into a series a novel that far exceeds Dan Brown's Dr. Robert Langdon, and is perhaps on-par with peak Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan. None of which is to say that Juels has written an action novel by any means. Just that the character has good sustainability potential.

The book overall was very fascinating. It's nice for a change to have the tech make sense. :) In the story, Ambrose Jerusalem is pulled out of his PhD program a few months early to tackle what appears to be a resurgence of the Pythagorean Cult, thought dead for millennia. Jeruslaem is uniquely skilled for the task, with an eerie resemblance in background to the author. :) Luckily, I don't recall any real-life Pythagorean conspiracies.

Far from formulaic, I did find the ending a little predictable, but not in such an overt way as to make the book a waste of time. Juels does tend to write a lot of descriptive detail that at times feels heavy (think Neal Stephenson), but overall the writing was fluid and keeps you moving. The book did end slightly abruptly (not as bad as Clancy's Teeth of the Tiger, where I literally called the book store to find out if my copy was missing pages), and there are of course several unresolved matters. However, none of the lingering issues are of particular merit to the immediate story.

Conclusion: I commend Juels for his effort and eagerly await his 2nd novel. If you like books by authors such as Dan Brown, Richard K. Morgan, or Neal Stephenson, then you should give this one a read.

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