Start Reading Amnesia by Peter Carey

His latest novel Amnesia is at once dark, suspenseful, and seriously funny. It journeys to the place where the cyber underworld collides with international power politics.

When Gaby Baillieux released the Angel Worm virus into Australia’s prison system, hundreds of asylum seekers walked free. And because the Americans run the prisons – as they do so many parts of her country – the doors of some 5,000 jails in the US also opened.

Was this a mistake, or a declaration of cyber war?
 
Dive into the read right here and get your copy Amnesia by Peter Carey, available wherever books are sold January 13, 2015.

From Chapter One

It was a spring evening in Washington DC; a chilly autumn morn¬ing in Melbourne; it was exactly 22:00 Greenwich Mean Time when a worm entered the computerised control systems of countless Australian prisons and released the locks in many other places of incarceration, some of which the hacker could not have known existed.

Because Australian prison security was, in the year 2010, mostly designed and sold by American corporations the worm immediately infected 117 US federal correctional facilities, 1700 prisons, and over 3000 county jails. Wherever it went, it travelled underground, in darkness, like a bushfire burning in the roots of trees. Reaching its destinations it announced itself: THE CORPORATION IS UNDER OUR CONTROL. THE ANGEL DECLARES YOU FREE.

This message and others more elaborate were read, in English, by warders in Texas, contractors in Afghanistan, Kurdistan, in immigrant detention camps in Australia, in Woomera, black sites in the Kimberley, secret centres of rendition at the American “signals facility” near Alice Springs.

Sometimes prisoners escaped. Sometimes they were shot and killed. Bewildered Afghans and Filipinos, an Indonesian teenager wounded by gunfire, a British Muslim dying of dehydration, all these previously unknown individuals were seen on public television, wander¬ing on outback roads.

The security monitors in Sydney’s Villawood facility read: The ANGEL of the Lord by night opened the PRISON doors, and brought them forth. My former colleagues asked, what does this language tell us about the perpetrator?

I didn’t give a toss. I was grateful for a story big enough to push me off the front pages where I had already suffered PANTS ON FIRE. I was spending my days in the Supreme Court of New South Wales pay¬ing Nigel Willis QC $500 an hour so I could be sued for defamation. Nigel’s “billable hours” continued to accrue well past the stage when it became clear that he was a fuckwit and I didn’t have a chance in hell, but cheer up mate: he was betting 3:2 on a successful appeal. That my barrister also owned a racehorse was not the point.

Meanwhile there was not much for me to do but read the papers. FEDS NOW SAY ANGEL IS AN AUSSIE WORM.

. . . I learned that the terrorist who had been “obviously” a male Christian fundamentalist had now become the daughter of a Melbourne actress. The traitor appeared very pale and much younger than her thirty years. Dick Connolly got the photo credit but his editor had photoshopped her for in real life she would turn out to be a solid little thing whose legs were strong and sturdy, not at all like the waif in the Telegraph.

She was from Coburg, in the north of Melbourne, a flat, forgotten industrial suburb coincidentally once the site of Pentridge Prison. She came to her own arraignment in a black hoodie, slouching, presumably to hide the fact that our first homegrown terrorist had a beautiful face.

Angel was her handle. Gaby was her name in what I have learned is “meat world.” She was charged as Gabrielle Baillieux and I had known her parents long ago—her mother was the actress Celine Baillieux, her father Sando Quinn, a Labor member of parliament.
 
Excerpted from Amnesia by Peter Carey. Copyright © 2014 by Peter Carey. Excerpted by permission of Knopf, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
 

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