Gnomon is writtten by Nick Harkaway and was published by Digital Cornerstone on 2 November 2017. Gnomon is set in the late 21 Century post Brexit Britain. Democracy is direct. Everyone votes on everything all the time, which certainly keeps them busy. The downside of this supposedly perfect system is the constant electronic surveillance which is total and omnipresent. AI - the Witness is all seeing and all knowing, is, of course, for the good of society! Even within this perfectly controlled yet participatory society there are dissenters, refuseniks who live off the grid and don't participate in or conform to the restrictive societal norms. Such dissenters are subject to involuntarily interrogations using mind reading technology by the Witness police. One such dissenter is Diana Hunter, she has been cult novelist who lives in a house which is off the grid, no electronic signals and its own Faraday cage. She runs a lending library through a barter system. Unfortunately Diana dies whilst undergoing interrogation.
Witness investigator Mielikki Neith is sent to investigate Diana's death. She is a committed believer of the panopticon utopia of the System. When Neith plays back a recording of the interior she doesn't find Diana's thought but 4 different people's Minds. Helped by Regno Lonnrot, Neith has to put together the puzzles of all these minds. Diana has left her message within all these thoughts but will she find it in time? Who is trying to stop the investigation and as the secrets, puzzles and encryptions of the Gnomon are discovered who will survive?
As an ex politics student who despises Brexit and the culture or cultish nature that surrounds it I loved the premise of this book. The execution of it, however, wasn't up to my expectation and anticipation. It could have been condensed into a much shorter novel and not lost anything, in fact a cull of the repetitious, overly long explanations may well have improved the final draft. The book reads like a first draft, the ideas are there but in need of an edit. The book tries to be too "clever" and ends up being a convoluted and exhausting read. The rambling, repeated explanations and break always to the heroine looking back etc do not add anything to the novel which is a rambling read but instead detract from what could have been an excellent, concise novel, relevant to today.
I received this book via Netgalley and Cornerstone Digital in exchange for an honest review,