Huh... Bit of a time warp reading this book...Bearing in mind this book came out just before the internet took off, laptops were still quite hefty devices with hard drives in the megabytes not terrabytes, and a cell phone was a flip case gimmick with painful 12 key texting and... well, really, with this book set in the near future of the 1990s, it is actually surprisingly readable!
Fortunately, the premise of the book is not about our modern day world with computers, hacking etc. This is a book set about technology being used to satisfy the demands of the elite few- something we are probably even more familiar with in 21-teens than we were in the 1990s! And once you get through the first 15% or so of the book where you are puzzling over how a book written in 2005 can not have smartphones and internet, the story moves away from having to rely on that kind of technology to more familiar tech that people wish worked today..
I don't want to give away too much of the plot - its described in enough enticing detail if you are contemplating buying this book. Suffice to say, like most Neal Stephenson books, this is a highly satisfying read, unputdownable and its going to keep you turning the pages into the wee hours of the morning. Not sure what J. Fredrick George did for this book - provided some of the history that pops up in a non-distracting way? The story line? Not sure - it reads like a Neal Stephenson novel, but more like Reamde or D.O.D.O. which I found to be really good stories from start to finish.
However, I do wish when the publishers 'reprint' books, it is clear when the book is first published - especially for for science fiction! It is highly confusing to read a book that seems to be set in the 1990s when its "publication" date is the 21st Century!