Two million dollars in a black bag.
The meaning of life hidden on a deviously encrypted web site.
And several dozen heavily armed guys with serious existential issues.
The hunt is on for The Manuscript.
The Manuscript is a philosophical cyber-thriller – a novel of huge ideas disguised as a blow-your-hair-back thrill ride. Its cast of unforgettable characters includes a gun-toting urban professional with a tragic weakness for Internet discussion groups; a former chemistry student and hacker turned wildly successful online narcotics dealer; a pair of slacker post-grads with big questions and rapidly escalating problems; a demonstrably unstoppable hitman; a dodgy federal agent with his hands in the cookie jar up to both elbows; a nameless cadre of menacing and well-armed mercenaries (possibly in the employ of one of the world's major religions); and an entire gang of Angry Young Taoists, serenely blasting hell out of all and sundry.
What could bring a group like this together? Nothing less than the meaning of life – discovered in the remote highlands of South America by an infamous 19th-century explorer, and now said to be hidden in the vast out-of-bounds spaces at the far edge of a shadow Internet. This is the Manuscript.
Caught up in a perilous race to recover and control it are a group of young people so beset by existential unease that they are willing to risk death to know the truth; and others, backed by powerful interests, who have little compunction about killing to keep it hidden. Get ready for an ungentle ride where a number of people will get enlightened, a few will get rich, and all too many will get dead. Along the way, be prepared for some uncommon commentary on the eternal verities, computer security, rules for gunfights, post-millennial information soot, and the possibility of human connection for a generation that believes in nothing – save what they read on the Net.