The Enigma Beyond (The Enigma Series, Book 11)

Breakfield and Burkey

Narrator: Derek Shoales

SUSPENSE/THRILLER:  In this eleventh installment of the series, artificial intelligence begins to take over the decision-making of humans at some point in the near future. A group of power-hungry brokers, named The MAG Group, is plotting to take over the world. This group is comprised of three powerful global technology company heads, who are manipulating the takeover of defense and financial systems, healthcare, and political agendas. The action skips between China, Asia, South America, Russia, Europe, and North America, with a large cast of characters in each locale. This audiobook opens with a thoughtful conversation between Jacob and his grandfather Wolfgang’s gravesite. Wolfgang has been dead for 15 years as the story begins; accordingly, the story ends with a vignette involving a young Wolfgang escaping Poland during WWII, which later leads to the formation of the R-Group--which is the main thing standing between this MAG/AI takeover of the world.

The action skips from country to country, and the listener has to track multiple characters, super-computers, bots, and activities. From this group of seemingly unrelated actions, a story emerges that is chillingly possible. The tension escalates as the unrelated pieces coalesce, and The R-Group tries to make sense of it all with the help of ICABOD, their own super-computer, and the students who are learning from the senior members of The R-Group. The pacing remains tight throughout this audiobook, and the technical jargon is believable. 

Derek Shoales does an amazing job of mimicking accents from across the globe, and somehow keeps them all separate and distinct. Each persona has a definite voice and inflection, and for the number and variety of different characters included in this audiobook, that is a huge job! The production quality is first-rate, and there are no obvious breaks in the integrity of the recording quality.

Carey Sullivan