A huge step up from the current capacities of our present day computers comprises the theme of David Ignatius’ book. The concept is a Quantum computer which is depicted as being so fast with the ability to decrypt any encryption in existence. The possession and use of such a device will easily make anyone having and using it masters of the digital world.
The novel depicts a conflict between the United States and China to get the where-with-all to develop the first working model of a Quantum computer. Harris Chang, a CIA agent, is assigned to investigate a possible breach of a Quantum research lab by a suspected Chinese informant. The hunt for the suspected mole leads Chang into a world of cutting-edge technology and into a situation where he is involved in a fine line between loyalty to his country and possibly treason.
The possibilities presented by this computing advance are described in easily understood language. The description of the stresses and strains placed on Harris Chang make for an excellent introduction and understanding of this man. Chang is, by his own definition, not a Chinese American, but an American by birth and inclination. His investigations are underscored by a possible mistrust by his boss and co-workers of his ethnicity. The novel itself is backed up by the description of what could be the results of possession of the first working models of this huge advance in computation.
Extremely well written and easily carrying the reader into a world of digital advance, and allowing the reader a rapt attention to the situations and characters involved.
11/17 Paul Lane
THE QUANTUM SPY by David Ignatius. Quercus (November 7, 2017). ISBN 978-1681440279. 288p.