REVIEW: "The Hanged Man's Song", John Sandford (John Camp)

Discussion in 'Computer Security' started by Rob Slade, doting grandpa of Ryan and Trevor, Jan 26, 2004.

  1. BKHGMNSG.RVW 20031112

    "The Hanged Man's Song", John Sandford (John Camp), 2003,
    0-399-15139-7, U$25.95/C$39.00
    %A John Sandford (John Camp)
    %C 375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
    %D 2003
    %G 0-399-15139-7
    %I Berkley
    %O U$25.95/C$39.00 http://www.berkley.com/berkley
    %O http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0399151397/robsladesinterne
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0399151397/robsladesinte-21
    %O http://www.amazon.ca/exec/obidos/ASIN/0399151397/robsladesin03-20
    %P 321 p.
    %T "The Hanged Man's Song"

    It is always a delight to find a new John Sandford/John Camp novel, a
    pleasure that is unalloyed by any regrets and annoyances in regard to
    technical goofs. As was the quality of the technical material in "The
    Fool's Run" (cf BKFLSRUN.RVW) and "The Devil's Code" (cf.
    BKDVLSCD.RVW), so it is with "The Hanged Man's Song."

    The technology is firmly grounded in reality. The communities, both
    blackhat and law enforcement, do not have the jarring quality found in
    all too many works where the author becomes fascinated with "hackers."
    (Having lugged around a number of "development" laptops in order to
    demonstrate company products, I was wryly glad to find that someone
    else knows that not *all* such machines are featherweights :) There
    is an intriguing idea for distributed backup of secure-but-secret
    data, although I suspect that even very young computer wizards would
    very quickly act to close loopholes and find anomalies.

    I'm a bit surprised that a careful and paranoid group, such as is
    described in the novel, did not take more care with authentication,
    perhaps through a "web of trust" model, but I suppose that would have
    gotten in the way of the plot. Onion routing would also have been
    handy for these people, but, again, would not be as exciting. (I also
    want to get my hands on that quad track DVD-R: the best I can find for
    my own systems is the basic single track that only lays down 5-6
    gigs.)

    The main complaint I would have with this particular work is that the
    technology seemed somehow divorced from the primary thread of the
    plot. This seems an odd statement to make, given the three-cornered
    race by technically savvy people, turning primarily on computer
    forensics and data recovery, but I was left feeling that this was more
    akin to an old-fashioned chase thriller. Albeit an interesting one.

    copyright Robert M. Slade, 2003 BKHGMNSG.RVW 20031112

    --
    ======================

    "If you do buy a computer, don't turn it on." - Richards' 2nd Law
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    Rob Slade, doting grandpa of Ryan and Trevor, Jan 26, 2004
    #1
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