The Gotham Chronicles:::

Book 1 Quagmire in Queens::: by Brion Hathaway<    >See Book Cover    CAST

Hackers and phreakers from the New York City borough of Queens ruled cyberspace in the 1980s - the golden age of hacking. Mostly geeks and nerds, still, they were an arrogant bunch who thought they owned the biggest computer system in the world: the NYNEX phone network. Fast forward to the year 2005 and John Clayton is still hacking although most of his activities are now legit.
Clayton, a brilliant mathematician, was paid a large sum of money for creating an encryption algorithm that was adopted by Wall Street as the de facto standard for encrypting their files. A proviso was attached that he safeguards the code by protecting it against hackers. The government had declared supercomputers to be illegal in civilian hands but to protect his secrets against a possible "brute force" attack by an underworld supercomputer, Clayton requires and builds a supercomputer himself: a cutting-edge machine named Beowulf.
Clayton and his hacker friends have been living a quiet life until Beowulf discovers an assassination plot against a Queens congressman - Daniel Eng - who has just proposed legislation against the credit card industry aka Big Bank. The group can't go to the authorities without blowing their anonymity! If they come out in the open, they'll take on the wrath of Big Bank, the assassins [read Mob], and the Feds who want to bring them in for questioning and confiscate their advanced supercomputer. Thus, the hackers face a huge quagmire of whether to reveal the plot and save the congressman's life, or stay under the radar and play it safe.

Book 2 Brouhaha in Brooklyn::: by Brion Hathaway    See Book Cover

Hot on the heels of its muckraking prequel - Quagmire in Queens - this story continues the adventures of the hackers through the side streets and a few famous places in the borough of Brooklyn. When the Mob tracks them to their exilic hideaway in the Caribbean, the hackers are forced to return to New York City where they take up secret lodgings in the upper floors of the now shuttered Brooklyn Paramount theatre.
On a shopping spree to Kings Plaza, Darla - the hackers' martial arts sidekick - is accosted by three young punks in the vast mall parking lot. After the brouhaha, one of the assailants, with just a broken bone, is taken to the hospital and dies. Darla is accused of murder by the Brooklyn police and turns to her computer hacker friends and an unlikely Brooklyn Eagle journalist to help prove her innocence.
They soon learn that other young men, homeless but otherwise healthy, have died mysteriously at the same hospital - BedStuyMed - a facility owned and operated by the giant drug company Pelzer Pharmaceuticals. The hackers assign Beowulf to dig deep into the Pelzer servers where the giant supercomputer discovers that they've been running experiments on these young men who "nobody will miss" as part of a bioterror conspiracy that could plunge the nation into a health pandemic as decimating as the Black Death of the Middle Ages - a scenario where Big Pharma would profit handsomely from the sales of their antidote.

Book 3 Mayhem in Manhattan::: by Brion Hathaway    See Book Cover

Wall Street is a lot like Las Vegas. It's a place to gamble - but on a much bigger scale. The major difference is: on Wall Street they don't use the "G" word; they use the "I" word - Investing! That's the spin that Wall Street puts on the gambling process. They call it investing to make it seem respectable. In fact, they say, you're doing a disservice to your family if you're not investing your hard-earned money in the stock market. Either way you lose because the 'house' always wins. Or does it?
The year is 2006 and something is wrong on Wall Street. There's a new kid on the block who's making more money than all the other hedge funds combined. The firm - led by an East German, Wellington Brandt - always makes the right trade at the right time while others don't. It's against all odds. And that - the mathematical improbability - is what troubles the pundits who advise Wall Street. Major players on the Street feel that the market is rigged. At their behest, the highest powers in government order the NSA to investigate and restore the integrity of the stock market. When that doesn't pan out, John Clayton and his hacker friends are called in as a last resort to solve the problem, making for an unholy alliance.
The hackers literally move underground into the abandoned City Hall subway station where they tap into the Internet lines that run between the New York Stock Exchange and the world's biggest Internet hub at 60 Hudson Street. Plan A is for Clayton's illegal supercomputer Beowulf to monitor Brandt's trades and unearth the illegal trading algorithm. The other option is Plan B: Darla's plan. She was going to get into Brandt's personal life and throw him off his game. To cause mayhem. To unsettle him. To pressure him into making a mistake and giving away the illegal strategy that had made billions of dollars for his firm - Blitzkrieg Global.
Their new mission takes the hackers into the murky and dangerous world of high stakes trading, where laws are often broken, rules are ignored, regulations are flouted, communities - swaps, derivatives and futures - are divided, and the Street itself is under a furtive attack from former members of the Stasi, the now defunct East German secret police. With so much money at stake, violence is always just around the corner, and within weeks the hackers find themselves in a power struggle that turns deadly.

*****

The five novels that make up the Gotham Chronicles were all inspired by the Hacker Manifesto. The novels are crafted in the muckraking genre inspired by the tireless efforts of Ida Tarbell who was one of the leading "muckrakers" of the progressive era of the late 19th and early 20th centuries and is thought to have pioneered investigative journalism.

Hacker novels by author Brion Hathaway ::: Email Brion