The Algorithm by William Knight

4 Minutes Reading Time

I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

I’m fascinated by science and tech; its potential, its problems, its misuse and most specifically how it affects people. And for all its enormous impact, we didn’t vote for it. It simply arrived when some giant firm said so. But there has never been a more relevant time to explore our relationship with technological progress and the benefits we have been sold.

Author’s Amazon Page
Book Cover of The Algorithm by William Knight.

Language: English

Print Length: 193pages

Text-to-Speech | Screen Reader | Enhanced Typesetting | Word Wise

Publication Date: 30 April 2021

Categories: Technothriller | Psychological Thriller | Conspiracy Thriller

Trigger Warnings: Profanity | Deity Swears | Death | Occult & Superstition

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William Knight has written for publications like the Financial Times, BBC, and others. He has published three novels: The Donated, XYZ, and The Algorithm. His books focus on the impact of technology use on individuals and families, exploring this theme from various human angles. Although we should make the best use of the available technology, we also need to be aware of its impact on our health and sanity. 

He loves to hear from his readers, so feel free to contact him on social media through the links provided above. 

Summary

The Past

It was an unlikely friendship between two men. Christian Jarvik, obsessive-compulsive and ultra-responsible. And Zach, passionate and a head-in-the-clouds type of a guy. They share a common interest in fencing, with Christian, the undisputed champion, due to his disciplined approach and technique while Zach is too impulsive. 

Christian beat Zach soundly. Not only in sets, but in style, technique, strategy and creativity.

Zach loved these things too but was too impulsive to dedicate time to his technique. For Zach it was showmanship; for Christian it was war.

William Knight. The Algorithm (Kindle Locations 171-174). The Standing Hare Publishing Company. 

The Present

Christian is surprised to hear from Zach. It is many years since they went their separate ways after a fight. Zach felt betrayed because Christian played a critical part in the takeover of the firm Zach was working for – costing him his job and the intellectual property rights to everything he developed. 

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Christian is a corporate lawyer, working for a firm who assists their clients with company takeovers. Zach, being an IT genius, together with his wife, Lilith, had formed their own company. They have developed The Algorithm, suggesting that the app connects with the spirit world to predict the future. 

Revenge or Self-sabotage?

Christian is fascinated with this app and became obsessed with its predictions, especially as most of them came true. In the meantime, his wife Rachel and Lilith become good friends, with Lilith becoming a source of comfort as Christian’s behaviour becomes more erratic by the day.

Christian believes that Zach and Lilith somehow use the app to control him out of revenge, despite Zach’s explanations that the app uses available information on the internet to make likely and general predictions.

Are Zach and Lilith out for revenge, or did Christain’s obsessive personality caused him to take The Algorithm and its predictions too seriously?

What did I like?

The author weaves a brilliant story of psychological suspense. With his obsessive-compulsiveness, as seen in his cleaning habits, it is only natural that Christian will become obsessed with The Algorithm and his predictions. The author threw out many hints that Zach and Lilith might be out for revenge because of the past. But the budding friendship between Lilith and Rachel suggests otherwise, as well as Zach’s explanation of how the app works.

As more of the app’s predictions come true, Christian is caught in a web of lies and deceit. His actions become more erratic until it costs him his job and the fencing championship. It also alienates him from his wife, leading to her turning to Lilith even more. 

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All these events lead to the ultimate fight between Christian and Zack but with real swords this time. Even though the end (which I won’t reveal here) isn’t a complete surprise, I still had the nagging doubt in my mind if it was all really revenge? Or did Christain subconsciously acted on the suggestions from the app, thereby orchestrating his fate?

And not so much?

Even though I find it unlikely that artificial intelligence can connect to the spirit world, it is not so unlikely as to be unbelievable. And in the content of the narrative, this is only mentioned in passing as being a marketing gimmick. Nevertheless, it does contribute to the idea of predicting the future, which is the main focus of The Algorithm.

Should you read it?

The Algorithm is an extraordinary techno-thriller that draws you in from the beginning. The use of artificial intelligence to predict the future is not so unlikely as to be unbelievable. And scouring the internet for all available information, and making general predictions based on that, is surely possible.

But what makes this novel a winner is how the author leaves this nagging doubt in your mind. Was it revenge, or did Christian subconsciously orchestrate his fate?

Other techno-thrillers similar to The Algorithm are Chasing Rain by Brandt Legg and the rest of the books in the series.

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Meet Susan

Susan van der Walt is an avid reader of genres like crime, thrillers, adventure, and true stories. On Read or Rot she shares her favourite books and quotes with you. She also writes articles, book reviews and book recommendations. She lives in Alberton (South Africa) with her husband, Warrick, and fur baby, Pixie.

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