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REVIEW: "The Linguist", Mark Urban

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  • Rob Slade, doting grandpa of Ryan and Tr
    BKLNGUST.RVW 20000330 The Linguist , Mark Urban, 1998, 0-7472-5471-0 %A Mark Urban %C 338 Euston Road, London NW1 3BH England %D 1998 %G
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 5, 2000
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      BKLNGUST.RVW 20000330

      "The Linguist", Mark Urban, 1998, 0-7472-5471-0
      %A Mark Urban
      %C 338 Euston Road, London NW1 3BH England
      %D 1998
      %G 0-7472-5471-0
      %I Hodder and Stoughton/Headline
      %O +44(0)1235400414 fax: +44(0)1235400454 orders@...
      %P 342 p.
      %T "The Linguist"

      Urban's work is very nicely written. Very readable, nicely tense for
      a thriller, and with a satisfactorily happy ending. His American
      characters do tend to use British vernacular, but at least they don't
      sound as caricaturish as those in many other works by British authors.

      His technical grasp is excellent. The central technology of the piece
      involves the tapping of a fibre optic cable. We aren't given too many
      details of the device that is created, but the concerns are generally
      reasonable. Actually, while most people would agree with the author
      that fibre is supposed to be inherently secure, there are at least two
      means of tapping a cable with no disruption and minimal signal loss,
      so the premise is realistic as well. Appropriately, the most
      difficult part of the operation is finding a way to deal with the
      masses of information.

      It is his use of cellular telephones, though, that is most
      interesting. Advanced functions available to users of modern
      cellphones is used to fullest advantage. The plot turns don't rely on
      anyone being completely unaware of the technology: at one point some
      simple trace attempts are made, but the phone user has already taken
      precautions. The basics of the system are well understood by the
      author, even down to the fact that cellphones can be traced any time
      they are on, regardless of whether a call is in progress.

      A readable book with intelligent use of technology. How curiously

      copyright Robert M. Slade, 2000 BKLNGUST.RVW 20000330

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      http://victoria.tc.ca/techrev or http://sun.soci.niu.edu/~rslade
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