Cyberspace: Jeff Horton: Winner of the 2012 Just Reviews Book of the Year Award


Cyberspace: Jeff Horton



Storms are really amazing to watch and children love the flashing lightning that streaks through the sky and the sound of thunder rumbling in the air. Flashes of darkness and then silence followed by giant bolts of lightning creating a swirls of light in the night sky yet lighting up the world in a unique and frightening way. Fireworks but not the kind you see on the Fourth of July. A young boy named Henry is glued to the window and watching all of this happen when his father, Jake realizes that what’s happening might be serious. A huge explosion, two in fact and what they find when they go to the spot will surprise them and the reader. Imagine a two spacecrafts exploding and all that is found is some type of lifeless figure: not human. The year 1947 and now let’s fast forward to the present and a Cox News Alert.


What will happen if China decides to attack the United States? Cyber attacks what exactly does that mean? Imagine an attack on the Department of Defense and another one on the Department of Energy. Can you imagine what will happen if China is about to get into the computer systems of both of these organizations and can access their data plans, schematics for their facilities and even know all of the intercontinental ballistic missile launch sites and much more? Well author Jeff Horton tells the reader that this has already happened and that there is growing concern that the Online Blue Army has been using cyber warfare to steal sensitive information. This agency belongs to China, who denies responsibility for the attacks and is gathering information about intelligence on the U.S. civilian infrastructure and Intel that could be used to more than hamper and cripple the U. S. civilian infrastructure. Of course when questions are asked and discussions had analysts state that although this is possible they don’t feel that would ever execute. But, whether they attack or not one two things come to light that we all must remember that if two nation states are at war their battles will be fought on the battlefield and Cyber Space. Jeff Horton has taken us out of the 21st century and into a new age of cyber warfare. But, what appears to be the cause on the surface is a plot by someone else that if escalated might destroy two major powers.


Age has nothing to do with a person’s capability to handle difficult situations as we learn when we meet Dr. Nicholas Reynolds whose life is about to change when enlisted to head a program for the commander of the Cyber Command Unit. Graduating from M.I.T. with PhD in Computer Science, his specialty is cyber warfare and he has spent ten years consulting for the NSA and later Cyber Command. So, why wouldn’t the General that summoned him to see him want him to head the program? Discussing the cyber attacks and learning more about the operation the General tests him to see if he has what it takes. But, when he decides that he’s wrong for the position what Nick does lets him know that experience and intelligence counts but guts and determination even more. Operation Counterpunch would go into affect and Nick was going to spear head it. Rumors about who might be behind it and who might not, Nick throws out the possibility that it could be someone other than China. Wait until they learn the truth as the reader meets the primary force behind what is happening. It is former KGB agent Nikolai Chervanko and a group of other KBG agents, whose goal is to restore Mother Russian and how you guessed it, destroy China and the United States by pitting them against each other before they even know what hit them.


Kate Summers is working on a major breakthrough when her father, her boss comes into the room. Telling her to take a vacation, not telling insisting that she does would prove to be the wrong move as what happens will change the complexion of the research she is doing. Project Prometheus just what is it and why would someone kidnap Kate just to get to her father? As we learn more about the cyber attacks, the possible origins and the opinion that the goal of the attackers is to probe and penetrate our national infrastructure. How would we handle a full-blown military attack against us as a nation? A cyber attack of great magnitude is what he was told to expect? The fact that the United States was light-years behind the Chinese was now common knowledge. How Reynolds would handle this and where he would ask for help still remains to be seen. With the help of a Chinese dissident brilliant in the field of computer science and able to create cyber attacks that are cannot be traced back to him, his computer, the people funding the attacks the end result would be more than catastrophic to the United States if they succeed. Trojans, worms and phishing programs and the ability to bypass firewalls, intrusion prevention systems and any other threat or obstacle the end result would make Russia so powerful and leave more than just the United States in its wake. The ability to take down nuclear power plants, power stations and do it unnoticed. But, what about the man who created this and made it all possible? Would he survive or does he know too much?

As Nick speaks with the General he explains what is needed to defend the U.S. Let’s say it’s exactly what the Russians are using against us. What is Prometheus and how will that project help safe the United States? What part does Area 51 play in all of this?


But, when the person who designed the computer system to destroy the United States and China is asked to take down two nuclear reactors at Indian Lake cannot push the final button and kill over 100, 000 people someone else does. As the United States learns the fate of 125 thousand people if they do not evacuate in time, and the Russians lord over their accomplishment the man who made it possible pays the ultimate price.


Imagine a computer system with the capability to run an entire ship. But, when Henry Summers meets Nick Reynolds it is anything but cordial. Nick’s job is to stop the cyber attacks and knowing or thinking the Chinese are responsible. Hacking into our systems is how they learned about the project he and his daughter, Kate are working on and this is where things get interesting and start to connect as we are reminded of the imminent attack that just might be unleashed on our infrastructure if these brilliant minds do not work together and stop it. The piece of equipment named Ignis, meaning fire, is what they hope, if integrated with our computer system will be able to stop the attacks and prevent a nuclear war. But, this is a huge IF! As the author brilliantly takes the reader back to 1947 and the initial crash that this General, then a small child witnessed. A spacecraft from another world landed and what he saw was one craft in tact and the other severely damaged. Thinking it was a flying saucer, had been found and feared the Russians wanted to know more about this advanced technology. But, there is much more that he relates to the reader about that frightening night. Imagine being able to access one of the spacecrafts. Imagine interacting with someone from another world. The project remains secret its purpose is to recover the craft and what they’ve discovered and how they are using their technology you just won’t believe and you will have to read for yourself because it will blow your mind. So, how will all of this blend together and what about Ignis? What’s going to happen when Kate meets Nick? The sparks fly, the power struggle comes front and center and then the two of them finally decide to call what you might say a truce. But, when Henry Summers decides to test the next piece of equipment, a helmet what happens will definitely stupefy the reader as he winds up in an entirely virtual world, what he sees is classified unless you read it for yourself and where this will take them in the hope to stop what is going to happen still remains to be seen. As we flash to the Russian Colonel and the Chinese Ambassador and the information passed about what the former KGB agent is doing as the situation gets tense and the FSB agents sent to investigate are killed.


Author Jeff Horton takes the reader inside the mind of a man who has delusions of grandeur, hopes to reinstate Mother Russia, head the government, create a nuclear holocaust and then offer to rebuild the world. Just how powerful is this new technology and what if something unknown was controlling the outcome of what you hoped to do? Just what is Ignis and how powerful is it and what could we do with it if we could duplicate and keep it?


An ending that will teach everyone an important lesson to learn to overcome our fears of what we do not understand and not use violence as the way to get things done. Just what this means you will have to read for yourself and just what happens that will teach one man a lesson he won’t forget and one powerful computer that reminds us of the importance of compassion, understanding, empathy and love. Who wins and who loses you have to learn that for yourself? Humans need to know that there are often consequences for our actions or inactions. Cyberspace: Take a trip inside the mind of one powerful computer, put on the helmet and find out if you have what it takes to ward off the next cyber attack. Kate and Nick are interesting characters that often blend together and sometimes clash. What is next for them? Only author Jeff Horton knows and maybe Ignis and he’s not telling.


Fran Lewis: Reviewer