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Summary

Every modern city has one week’s worth of food to feed itself. Then it will collapse. 

Cut off the resources to New York, Sydney, or even a mid-size metropolis, and millions will soon starve. In Zero Day Code we see those immense and open, hyper-complex, networked supercities of the new millennium die. And in the last moments we see their vengeance take form as all the best and worst traits of humanity bubble to the surface. 

Zero Day Code is set in a realistic near future with dwindling global food supplies under increasing pressure from worsening droughts, floods and extreme weather events. Written by prolific Australian writer John Birmingham, the thriller follows a handful of survivors from the first day of society’s descent into violent, uncertain futures. 

James, a consultant to the US National Security Council, is the first to suspect that the worldwide emergence of a crippling computer virus is actually a cover for something else - a devastating cyber-attack by China on the food distribution system of the United States. The attack is a bid for the Middle Kingdom to distract America as it seizes the food bowl of South East Asia and feeds its starving population. But Beijing has miscalculated.

Follow the missions of an embittered activist chasing salvation, a single mum rescuing her child from a frantic San Francisco and an army veteran who has long retreated from society, as the world they knew crumbles around them.  

Please note: this audiobook contains mature content and listener discretion is advised.

©2019 Audible Australia Pty Ltd. (P)2019 Audible Australia Pty Ltd.

What listeners say about Zero Day Code

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Amazing story that just kinda stops

Some really great characters, realistic plot and great atmosphere which is ruined when the author just kinda stops writing when it starts getting really good. I felt a bit cheated to be honest.

3 people found this helpful

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I am not even 1/4 through and...

I CANT GET ENOUGH.

the performance is heavyweight, as good as the story. It is like the story, writing and performance was specifically for me.

Smart, modern and entertaining AF!

Where has the performer and author been all me life, why am I only discovering them now? Nevermind, I'll seek answers once I'm done with this and everything these chaps have ever done.

Edit: I finished it, couldn't put this book down, everything I said I sand by and I really hope we get more.

17 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

You B*******ards One of the most gripping stories

How can i put this. I can't remember the last time i listened to a story all day for 2 days on the trot. Absolutely stunning.

The narration is off the charts, totally believable men and women all different and separate.

BE WARNED this is only half the story, it stops dead, "Audible hopes you have enjoyed this performance" Wha...? Oh come on, really, yep end of story.

You will not regret this purchase.

6 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Half of a great book...

I really enjoyed this. However I felt cheated at the end, because this book came to an abrupt end just when everything is just kicking off. It’s not a cliffhanger, it really is more like getting half way a through book to the point that you’ve been introduced to the world and the characters in it, then discovering the rest of the pages are blank.

The cynic in me might think that this is just in order to make you pay for the next book... let’s just hope it gets published otherwise I’ll never know what happened next!

Good performance from the narrator but marked down for stupid telephone voice sound effects. I really hate it when audiobook producers feel the need to chip in with either music or silly effects. That sort of thing always brings me back to reality.

All of that said I’ll be buying the next one as the story is engaging (and after all I need to know what actually happens...)

6 people found this helpful

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Excellent

One of the best I’ve listened too on audible. Story and narration are first class

2 people found this helpful

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Exciting book

Really enjoyed the multiple story lines. Hopefully there's a sequel as I'd like to know what happened to the characters - they were interesting and felt I knew them!

2 people found this helpful

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Very good, deserves a follow up

very good, maybe a little slow, improved throughput the story. Certainly deserves a follow up.

2 people found this helpful

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A chilling tale, very much of our times.

Different to the other John Birmingham's I've read but equally riveting. A little too much modern-speak at the start but I guess that was to place it firmly in the now. I liked the author's way of conveying a microcosm of what was unfolding through the eyes of a few, very different, characters and I didn't want that to stop when it did. No prizes for guessing the madman who wreaks revenge at the end. A little too close to our darkest fears perhaps!

2 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Alt-right Marty Stu fantasy

One of the main characters is a political podcaster who is introduced as being famous on Reddit. He is described as a big, musclebound tough guy who cares about justice and truth. He lives in a rundown house, working a dead-end day job, moonlighting as a badass alt-right justice warrior via his podcast. This is a wank-fantasy for angry white men who think they're one Reddit post away from being this guy.

By Chapter 6 we've had:

- Unironic use of the word "cuck."

- A real-life person described as a "fag."

- A meathead antagonist named "Chad."

- The podcaster is a knockoff Milo Yiannopoulos who aspires to become bigger than Alex Jones. He quotes the Washington Post describing his show as "one of the newer, smarter, alt-right media plays."

- "Too weak in the bladder to take on the left."

- "Leftist abuse."

- On a mission against sexual abusers described as liberals in Hollywood.

- He gets falsely accused of sexual harrassment by female colleagues. He tells his boss they did it to advance their careers.

- He yells at his boss and threatens him during a disciplinary meeting, acting out the fantasy that runs through many cowards' heads when they are getting told off by their boss.

- One of the other main characters is an investigative journalist who personally uncovered the Chinese melamine baby milk scandal.

- The only female character introduced so far is described as shockingly blonde with Finnish ancestry, looking like "a model waiting on a photographer." Standard white male supremacist fare.

So if that's your thing, go ahead and give it a listen. If you're not into having alt-right wank crammed down your ears, give it a hard pass.

12 people found this helpful

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Interesting storyline, but....

Interesting storyline, but a little bit choppy, with a few too many deviations from the main characters. I thoroughly enjoyed Zero Day Code though and look forward to the next instalment.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Oldy
  • 10-07-19

Magnificent double-threat.

Full disclosure: I read the first draft chapter by chapter on JB's Patreon page. You should consider doing the same, it's absolutely worth every cent.

I grabbed this book on audible as soon as it came out. I've found audiobooks to be a mixed bag in the past, some have been fantastic, others not so. Much of this has to do with the voice talent, and Rupert Degas is wonderful. He commits to the material and performs it more than reads it - and his pronunciation is excellent, something that can take you out of the story if they get it wrong. The only problem is that Rupert now has to come over to my place and read every JB book to me from now on.

If you're a Birmo fan, then this is all the best things you love about Axis of Time, The Disappearance and Dave and the Monsters rolled into one. Great characters, tight, well-researched plot, a sprawling picture of the end of the world, told in vignettes all over the world, and in the main story through the eyes of eight or so expertly-drawn POV characters.

The story itself is a creeping horror, a slow-dawning and inevitable ending to everything we know - and it's relevant to today, right now. There are places in the world already experiencing the beginnings of this, and the despairing adult in me knows it's too late to turn away from the course we've set.

As always, the dialogue is brilliant. Even knowing what was coming I still laughed out loud at parts even funnier in the telling than the reading. Given the plot it's weird to laugh at parts, but man they're funny. And Damian "Damo" Moloney has to be the funniest character I've ever read, boisterously moreso when played by Rupert Degas.

I can't think of a better advertisement for Audible itself than this excellent book.

36 people found this helpful

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  • Phoenician
  • 27-10-19

Entertaining World War 3 Novel

This isn't a post-apocalyptic novel, like with aliens or zombies. It's a World War 3 thriller seen from the various third person perspectives of several people from different walks of life - a wanna-be podcaster, a chef, a Dollar General cashier, a NSA analyst, others -- surrounding a cyber attack and the subsequent events that domino after it. It was very well done and the narrator did a terrific job voicing each character in a distinctive manner. This was one of the better audiobooks I've used a credit on this year.

16 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Elizabeth Crawford
  • 27-07-19

No equal in apocalyptic tales.

Birmingham has masterfully authored a riveting, paranoia-inducing narrative that follows current events to a sobering, logical conclusion. The events that unfold may be only as far away as the next news broadcast. I absolutely loved the breadth of characters and the attention to detail that brought each to life. An absolutely brilliant story.

10 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Kevin
  • 27-12-19

Sleeper Hit

Bought it because it was cheap, thinking it would serve as good background entertainment during a long holiday drive. Immediately realized how wrong I was. Amazing writing, realistic and likeable characters, natural dialogue, and meticulous research from John Birmingham, all delivered by Rupert Degas, who is nothing short of a prodigy, not only keeping the dialogue conversational and natural, but moves through a wide array of characters of different genders, nationalities, and regional backgrounds without a trace of difficulty. He is clearly the John Birmingham of narrators. Would not only recommend, but encourage anyone with an audible subscription get this book, especially now, with the price so reasonable.

8 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Thomas
  • 18-07-19

Rollicking good fun!

Birmo can always be relied upon for an interesting, laugh out loud, action packed read. Rupert Degas has been able to elevate the whole shebang into something you won’t want to take out of your ears. The man has a million voices and you’ll forget it’s one person telling the story. Well worth a listen!

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • lynnkoliver
  • 12-11-19

Truly engaging audio book that held my attention.

Truly an engaging audio book. Great story explaining a collapse scenario. Great narration for a truly gifted author. Can't wait for the next installment.

6 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • christopher johnson
  • 10-10-19

Good and plausible end of civilization plot unlike some others.

The book use of government sponsored cyber attack and its setup was plausible and not over the top.

If you can get past the author’s bias that conservatives in America must be racist , stupid , sinister, gullible, and/or all of the above , it’s a good end of the society story.

19 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • D. Lalande
  • 30-07-19

A good start.

Cool characters. I look forward to a continuation of story in the next book. At least I hope there is another book.

5 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Justin
  • 20-02-21

Good listen, but full of errors.

It's an interesting listen, but I found myself fairly annoyed with numerous technical, scientific, and sociological errors. Some proofreading and revisions by experts or some better research into the subject matter by the author could have made for a more enjoyable story.

4 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • B Daigle
  • 02-07-20

Missing the mark on the details

I love the stories that spring from Birmingham’s imagination. However, his attention to detail leaves a great deal to be desired. I read many of his earlier works with relish and enjoyment and remember thinking that his writing was well thought out and well researched. Those days seem to be over if this and some of his more recent works are to be the new benchmark.

I remember reading in one of his works an afterward where he thanked people who helped him with the details. He spoke of how much effort was put into finding out what color the carpet was in a particular hotel lobby in a certain year. It seems that ambition has left town.

Attention to detail is good and essential. When you hit a snag it is like a pothole on a road that is otherwise as smooth as a co-ed’s breast. It is not pleasant and it detracts from the story to say the least.

I appreciate that Mr. Birmingham is from Australia and this is from Audible Australia, but it is about Americans (mostly) in America (mostly). In America, Montana ranchers do not keep “biscuit” tins in their kitchens, they have a “cookie tin.” Americans do not buy “tinned food,” we buy “canned food.” I have never seen a Dollar General with a butcher’s section in the US. Americans use flashlights, not “torches.” The US Army phased out BDU’s a dozen years ago.

I’m sure that I would have a good bit of a hard time writing about the adventures of some group of mango hunters fighting off dingo packs in the koala infested Australian highlands. But I would try and get the details right or write about a different topic. Those few detailic errors made it crystal clear that this was simple fiction that would jar you back to reality rather than a good yarn that you can stay lost in and beg for more.

4 people found this helpful