Robert Ludlum’s The Utopia Experiment: A Covert One Novel
It’s a whole new world. Christian Dresner is a former German captive during WWII who was forced to help the Nazis perform horrific experiments on human beings in an effort to create the “perfect athlete.” After his escape, he has seemingly dedicated his life to improving man’s lives by creating remarkable vaccines to wipe out diseases and incredible prosthetics for amputees. Now he has created the Merge, an electronic device that allows users to control their Internet actions with their thoughts and can access web pages almost instantly. Incredibly sophisticated Apps are being developed all the time to work with the Merge units.
"[T]his book is a winner, especially if you like thrillers (which I do) and you are a Robert Ludlum fan (which I am)."
The unit is small and can clip onto your belt. Users must either wear a headset, which is bulky and cumbersome, or have small metal studs implanted in the skull just behind the ears to activate it. The added bonus of the studs provides a sleep function that rivals any pill or other sleeping aid, and it also corrects vision problems. Units are selling like hotcakes, and the majority of users are opting for the studs. When the studs are used, each Merge is made to adapt to only one user’s brainwaves, making that Merge virtually useless by any other user and largely eliminating the temptation to steal someone else’s unit.
There’s a Merge version for civilians, as well as a much more advanced one for the military. Dresner made a deal to sell the units exclusively to the US Military, but other countries are trying to get them as well. The military-style Merges give soldiers unprecedented advantages on the battlefield with their high level of technical sophistication. An opposing soldier without a Merge becomes a non-threat; a soldier armed only with the civilian version isn’t much of a problem either when up against the Military Merge.
Sounds like a Utopia, doesn’t it? Of course, it’s not. Dresner has marketed the Merges as totally safe for human use. But there are some things he isn’t revealing to anyone, not even to those he hired to help him make the units work. These are secrets that only he knows --- and that could be deadly.
Robert Ludlum was a prolific author and writer of thriller novels before his death in 2001. He had started, but not finished, his Jason Bourne series, three installments of which were completed after his death, written with notes he had left behind. The titles in the Covert One series also were supposedly based on more unwritten material that was discovered after Ludlum’s passing. THE UTOPIA EXPERIMENT is the 10th volume and is written by Kyle Mills, only one of several writers who have contributed to this series.
I haven’t read any of the previous installments, so I was not familiar with the characters, but there was enough back story written into the text to give me a feel for who they are and how they fit into the picture. I didn’t feel as if I needed to read all the prior books in the series to understand what was going on.
For the most part, THE UTOPIA EXPERIMENT is well-written, though Mills tends to overuse the phrase “If the truth be told.” Still, this book is a winner, especially if you like thrillers (which I do) and are a Robert Ludlum fan (which I am). With today’s already advanced technology, coupled with the realization that there might be someone smart enough (as well as sinister enough) to make something like this work, it’s enough to make you wonder about the future of the human race.
Reviewed by Christine M. Irvin on March 29, 2013