Imagine your worst fears coming to life in the wake of a faceless cyber-attack that destroys our infrastructure. This is the central plot of Cyberstorm, a novel by Matthew Mather which was on my Kindle recommended reading list. I chose it because I enjoy post-apocalyptic fiction, but the scary thing about this book is that it absolutely could happen, especially if our society continues to rely on technology for some of its most basic functions.
The story centers on a man named Mike and what happens to his family when a series of unrelated disasters – including a cyberattack and a massive snowstorm – disrupt life in Manhattan. At first, everyone assumes it’s a temporary situation, but as time passes and nothing changes, people start to panic. Nobody knows what’s going on and as rumors and innuendo spread, society breaks down and diseases and starvation set in. Mike decided to take his family to their cabin in Virginia to escape the chaos, giving in to some wild speculation of his own before he learns the truth of their circumstances. At first, I was rather irritated by not knowing what the causes of this breakdown were, but as I read and thought about it, this novel is the perfect depiction of how things probably would happen were we to suffer a cyberattack at the same time other awful things were happening. The only true issue I have with the book is that the pacing goes astray around the middle of the novel – once Mather shows us the unintended consequences of living a life too closely connected to technology, the plot starts to drag. We don’t learn the truth about what’s happening until the very end, and although the reasons for this pseudo-armageddon are realistic, the end almost has a bit of a “deus ex machina” feel which I didn’t much care for. Still, if you want to read a book written by someone with a background in cybersecurity, it’s an entertaining story.
3 ½ out of 5 stars