The Kraken Project

By Douglas Preston

NASA is building a probe to be splashed down in the Kraken Mare, the largest sea on Saturn’s great moon, Titan. It is one of the most promising habitats for extraterrestrial life in the solar system, but the surface is unpredictable and dangerous, requiring the probe to contain artificial intelligence software. To this end, Melissa Shepherd, a brilliant programmer, has developed “Dorothy,” a powerful, self-modifying AI whose true potential is both revolutionary and terrifying. When miscalculations lead to a catastrophe during testing, Dorothy flees into the Internet.

Former CIA agent Wyman Ford is tapped to help Melissa Shepherd track down the rogue AI. As Ford and Shepherd search for Dorothy, they realize that her horrific experiences in the wasteland of the Internet have changed her in ways they can barely imagine. And they’re not the only ones looking for the wayward software: the AI is also being pursued by a pair of Wall Street traders, who want to capture her code and turn her into a high-speed trading bot. Traumatized, angry, and relentlessly hunted, Dorothy has an extraordinary revelation—and devises a plan. As the pursuit of Dorothy converges on a deserted house on the coast of Northern California, Ford must face the ultimate question: is rescuing Dorothy the right thing? Is the AI bent on saving the world… or on wiping out the cancer that is humankind?

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A for plot ideas, C for execution.

Trust me, I’m disappointed to even give such a review.

I found this book in the bargain bin at Barnes and Noble. I thought I was just lucky to get a book by one of my favorite authors for $10. I guess I know what it was doing in there now…

Sure, this book was as fast-paced as every other Preston and/or Child book, but this one left much to be desired.

I could hardly handle the Dorothy parts from the prospective of the computer program. It hardly made any sense what was going on.

The main character, Melissa, was annoying and I didn’t feel sorry for her even when I think I should have.

Wyman Ford doesn’t show up until about 60 pages in and was not up to snuff.

I only really liked the fourteen-year-old boy, Jacob, who actually sounded like a fourteen-year-old…so mostly annoying.

None of the plot points where extremely well executed.

I read this book on the plane ride home. If I’d had better things to do, I might have given up on it.

Nonetheless, I remain a devoted fan of Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child.

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