Peter Grant is facing fatherhood, and an uncertain future, with equal amounts of panic and enthusiasm. Rather than sit around, he takes a job with émigré Silicon Valley tech genius Terrence Skinner’s brand new London start up – the Serious Cybernetics Company.
Drawn into the orbit of Old Street’s famous ‘silicon roundabout’, Peter must learn how to blend in with people who are both civilians and geekier than he is. Compared to his last job, Peter thinks it should be a doddle. But magic is not finished with Mama Grant’s favourite son.
Because Terrence Skinner has a secret hidden in the bowels of the SCC. A technology that stretches back to Ada Lovelace and Charles Babbage, and forward to the future of artificial intelligence. A secret that is just as magical as it technological – and just as dangerous.
The blurb is a lie. Everything is a deception. No, really, Peter has gone undercover, using his gardening leave and the investigation that caused it (death in custody of a suspect – see Lies Sleeping) as a cover. What he finds is a 19th century mystery and a tech guru who thinks he’s created the first true A.I. using a completed analytic engine and a song about Ada Lovelace.
Going under cover brings conflicts for Peter and Beverley, especially after they get to know Peter’s immediate superior and his family (Beverley Brook runs along the end of their garden), and the Librarians of New York start interfering in the operation.
There is the usual explosions and car chases, Peter getting trapped by magical devices, Nightingale being acerbic, Discworld references, and this time with bonus heavily pregnant Beverley.
I listened to this one while I was out and about, or at home crocheting. Kobna Holdbrook-Smith is really good at giving Peter Grant a voice. His intonation and reading speed is perfect.