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Summary

Thirty years in the future, when AI is so advanced that humans live side by side with cognizant robots called Artificials, Kestrel Hathaway must come to terms not just with what machines know, but what they believe.

Soon after experiencing a personal tragedy, Kestrel witnesses a terrorist attack and is drawn into a world of conspiracies and lies that she and Jordan, her Artificial, have to untangle. With a second, more brutal attack looming on the horizon, their best chance of stopping it is teaming up with federal counterterrorism agent Nick Vernon.

But the clock is ticking - and all the while, Jordan is asking questions that Artificials were never meant to ask.

Deftly weaving suspense and intrigue into a rich, resonant tale that explores faith and what it really means to be human, Steven James offers us a glimpse into the future - and into our own hearts.

Synapse is an unforgettable, gripping story of dreams shattered, truth revealed, and hope reborn.

Praise for Synapse:

"Perfectly timed and thought-provoking, Synapse is a smart, intense thriller that keeps the suspense building until the final page. Steven James once again delivers a perfect amalgam of character and plot, totally immersing the reader in an irresistible narrative." (Simon Gervais, international best-selling author of Hunt Them Down)

"Synapse is not merely a thriller you should read - as 5G approaches and advances in AI snowball, it is the thriller you can't afford not to." (James R. Hannibal, award-winning author of The Gryphon Heist)

©2019 Steven James (P)2019 Thomas Nelson

Critic reviews

"A realistic and an intelligent look into our future, Synapse takes the reader deep into the minds of the characters, both human and artificial, to smartly explore AI and eschatology. Thought-provoking and compulsive - this is a book you can’t afford to miss!" (Ronie Kendig, best-selling author of The Tox Files)

"A thriller that left me in awe of future technology while I turned pages to see what happened next...and where I fit." (DiAnn Mills, best-selling author)

What listeners say about Synapse

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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-02-21

religious drivel

religious drivel hidden behind scifi. interesting concept that wasted its potential. don't waste your time unless that is what you want

9 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Dan Panetti
  • 26-11-19

Pleasantly surprised

Wasn’t sure what to expect with an AI book, but I was pleasantly surprised and found the book interesting and even informative. I liked the spiritual concepts woven into the storyline - well done without being overbearing. Raised some intriguing issues relating to AI, morality and technology. Worth the read.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Timothy
  • 27-10-19

Great Story!

Well-written, engaging plot. Thought provoking too! Steven James hits another home run - highly recommend.

6 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Chance
  • 09-02-21

Teeth-grinding inaccuracies

Decent story if you can overlook teeth-grinding technical inaccuracies/misassumptions that form the basis of a few major plot points and motivations. And if you don't mind being preached at for the entire book.

Imagine your late middle-aged aunt who is clearly the liberal-minded techno wonder.. in the eyes of her deep south bible group.. writing a near future sci-fi novel. You know, the one who discovered firefox on her own and always makes sure she's running 7 AV programs and regales the family at Thanksgiving about being kind to some minority family or something. It's clear she is more knowledgeable and forward-thinking than her peers, and that she means well, but... yeah. That's pretty much the feel of this book.

Possible minor spoilers below.

To the author, in case you wish to revisit/reuse some of these concepts in the future.

Atheists haven't turned their back on or take issue with the inherent "goodness" or actions of god, or even have a "belief" that is inherently opposed to Christian (or any other religious) beliefs. Atheism is simply a stance/mindset that there is no evidence or plausible reason indicating the existence of a/any god, ergo there is no god. The best way I've found to explain it is to ask someone how they feel about Zeus. Do you deny his greatness? Think he is unworthy of worship? Hold anger towards him? Or are you simply apathetic to the concept of him because he is/was a mythological entity that there is no evidence or plausible reason to indicate he ever actually existed in any form whatsoever? Considering that a basic tenant of the Abrahamic religions is that there is and has ever been only one god, by definition Christians are atheists in regard to any and every other god of the past, present, and future, save the one. Atheists just go that last step. You can't be angry with or dismissive of the actions/inactions of something you simply don't see as existing. If anything, her brother gave off much more of an anti-religion theist vibe than anything.

The internet- and any future versions/replacements, etc- isn't a "thing" that can be destroyed. it was literally designed and created to be a redundant communications system capable of surviving a nuclear war and the (physical) loss of significant portions of its infrastructure. There is simply no way that it- or any future iterations- would be susceptible to the loss of a single node. Additionally, there would *never* be a significant % of data to be stored at a single facility.

Finally, as vaguely as possible, who in the hell would set a timer for the movie to start in 5 minutes when everyone who intended to watch it was already present, comfortable, and had popcorn in hand? There is just no point to.

Several other smaller things (central processors don't store data) and one glaring hole/loose end, but you get the idea. If you're going to base interactions/plot points on something, please please please take 10 minutes to Google it, or ask someone similar/familiar to the character/character's knowledge base to give it a proofread.

3 people found this helpful

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  • TimU
  • 08-02-21

Too preachy

I like the topic. The plot was well thought. Over a 3rd of the story is biblical; as if the author was meeting some secular quota.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Ben
  • 23-09-20

Awesome thought provoking book

Great book with a fascinating story line.
Characters were well thought out and Narrator did a good job conveying depth to the characters and situations

3 people found this helpful

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  • Rjc
  • 03-05-20

Surpassed my expectations!

Surpassed my expectations
I don’t read science fiction normally. But, I was very intrigued by the subject matter of this book. I was not disappointed by its depth. It was captivating and had just enough suspense and romance to make it a very enjoyable read. The narrator was excellent! I highly recommend this book especially for those who love science-fiction with a lot of thought provoking depth and spiritual significance.

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Brian Thomas
  • 27-01-21

Awesome 👍🏾

I really loved this story on so many different levels. The performance was amazing and the characters were real, flawed, and deep.

2 people found this helpful

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  • John Long
  • 22-04-20

Good sci-fi drama

this book is more drama than action, but it asks a lot of important questions for both Christians and non-Christians. Good read.

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Carroll Wall
  • 26-03-21

Good SF premise, also CHRISTIANITY

This is pretty much a meditation on Christianity wrapped up in fairly decent SF action with robots and mega-tech corporations and terrorists and loner government agents.

The main character is a Methodist minister who just had a still born baby. So there is much examination of why would a loving god make people suffer. And: Can a self aware AI with free will worship God even if he does not have a soul and so can’t go to heaven when he dies? And more .....

The theology sometimes feels shoe-horned In to the story. Sort of like the big dance numbers in a musical. I mean, I’m not a Christian so I don’t know if it is common place to just spontaneously start discussing the nature of one’s relationship with God but it happens in this book. A lot. About 25%of this is god-talk.
Any way. I think devout people would really like this book. The SF stuff is well written and the narrator did well on all but one of the voices. If one is also interested in the God stuff this would likely get 5 stars because, if you accept the premise that the Bible is true, the arguments are decently reasoned.
For me the god-talk was boring set dressing but I stuck around for the suspense of the terrorist plot.
So not horrible, not for everyone but certainly a hit for very specific listeners.

1 person found this helpful