Unholy Domain

A world where religious terrorists and visionaries of technology fight for supreme power.

Fiction - Fantasy - General
352 Pages
Reviewed on 03/29/2009
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Anne Boling for Readers' Favorite

Unholy Domain is written with much intelligence and finesse. Dan Ronco presents a world where technology is out of control. In 2012, a computer virus called the Peacemaker was released, and over a million humans died. The economy spiraled down into a depression. People question whether technology is good or evil. There are two factions, Technos (scientists) verses Church of Natural Humans (theologians), fighting to control the world. Both sides have their own agenda. One man stands alone in the quest for truth and to clear his father’s name.

Dan Ronco’s Unholy Domain is a realistic thriller. Ronco does go overboard in describing the females, and he comes across as a bit sexist. The plot is imaginative and pulls the reader into the story. I could not put this one down. The characters are brilliant, the pace is non-stop action, and the premise is chilling. This is a must read for fans of science fiction.

Art Tirrell

It's 2020. The Church of Natural Humans has condemned all technology and its army is conducting open warfare against the "technos," who it sees as the devil incarnate. After a devastating virus named Peacemaker knocked out the net and almost destroyed the world economy, the world's governments have outlawed the development and distribution of technology, creating a huge black market which is now run by powerful mobsters.

Into this violent climate comes David Brown, son of the notorious creator of Peacemaker. When David, who's been raised hating his father, receives a time-delayed e-mail from the man proclaiming his innocence, he knows he must investigate. Unfortunately for David, it's an investigation those who know the truth will do anything to stop.

A tight, tense, fast-paced knockout of a novel, Unholy Domain chronicles a pivotal moment in the future; the first true blending of man and computer. It's a great read. Highest recommendation.

Art Tirrell is the author of "The Secret Ever Keeps" a dashing adventure novel set on the shores of Lake Ontario.

"Simply put...the best underwater scenes I've ever read." - reviewer Meg Westley.

Paul Nasto

Having read many "technothrillers", I can truly say that Dan Ronco has captured a view of the future which is compelling, overwhelming, and unparalleled. This second book in the series (Peacemaker was the first) delivers a story that both thrills and frightens, yet provides a spark of hope.

I received my copy on Thursday, and once I started reading I could barely put it down. Ronco's deep character development combined with a literary canvas of impressive colors provided me with a wonderful experience. Through rich use of visualizations, Ronco led me through a maze of technology which may soon be upon us and which may, someday, become a part of our everyday life.

Once into the action of the book, the story just pours from the pages and moves at a perfect pace. The intertwining storylines come alive as each character begins to interact with the others and the vision of the future of our planet is revealed. Ronco takes you into a world which is not only believable, but is beginning to become a reality!!! With every twist and turn, the thrill becomes more intense.

UNHOLY DOMAIN is a riveting read which will pique and keep your interest. I HIGHLY recommend this book and also Ronco's first book, PEACEMAKER.

Peter Clenott

When I started reading (back in college when I stopped studying), I got hooked on science fiction, all the masters: Heinlein, Asimov, Bradbury, Pohl. While I have subsequently moved into historical novels, I still like to detour back into science fiction when a particular novel or novelist grabs my attention. I read Dan Ronco's Peacemaker a while back and was sufficiently impressed enough that when I heard he had a second novel, I immediately laid aside Colleen McCullough and ordered Unholy Domain. I finished it last night. It took me three nights to read, which is very good considering all the things I have to do before I go to bed. (Not science fiction unfortunately). Unholy Domain is science fiction a la Da Vinci Code but with far better characters than Da Vinci Code and with more detail and complexity. Mr. Ronco has created a post-acopalyptic world that is very frightening because it is all very possible. Domain tackles religion, politics, and technology and does it in a way that is not at all burdensome but fun to read. It is not just for sci-fi buffs but also for fans of page-turning thrillers.

David Donelson

I more or less stopped reading science fiction after my children were born because I figured a responsible adult like me should spend my time with more "serious" stuff. Unholy Domain makes me wonder if I've missed out on a couple of decades of good writing.

With breakneck pacing, vivid characters, and some wildly scary scenarios, Ronco has created a memorable story about conflict between good and evil, technology and religion, and one very good guy against hordes of baddies of several stripes. He's also drawn a picture of a disheartening but remarkably believable world in the midst of a global depression that the U.S. government is powerless to stop. In fact, the big shots in Washington DC are generally incapable of doing anything useful--but I already said this was believable, didn't I?

The bad guys--at least some of them--are actually girls, which is refreshing especially when you learn that they're really, really smart girls who use technology as capably as Pussy Galore used her wiles to (almost) conquer 007. The book offers plenty of non-techno sex, murder, revenge, and mayhem, too, so we Luddites can enjoy it as well.

Unholy Domain is great fun even if you don't have a clue as to how the software does what it's supposed to do.

JustinDwinnell

Unholy Domain, a novel by Dan Ronco is a brilliantly written novel. The plot, a thrilling science fiction account of the potential for a worldwide disaster should an unstoppable virus be loosed on the web. The characters are realistic, the scenes vivid, the action fast-paced...a real page turner from the beginning to the exciting and unexpected ending. I give it five stars--Justin Dwinnell, author of The Coronado Brief.

Janet F. Lavenger

Among the sci-fi books depicting life in the future, Dan Ronco's UNHOLY DOMAIN stands out as a penetrating look at artificial intelligence and its implications. What makes it especially scary is that its time-frame is 2022, a scant 14 years from now. Given technology's rapid rate of acceleration during the late 20th and early 21st century, we can easily imagine that humanoid robots and mind-bending virtual reality booths, already working concepts, may be commonplace within the next decade or two.
The story concerns David Brown, son of the brilliant but disturbed scientist, Ray Brown, who has been accused of unleashing "Peacemaker", the destructive computer virus that crippled the nation's economy "back" in 2012 and plunged the world into depression and chaos. In the process of trying to clear his father's name and discover the truth, Ray encounters two malignant and opposing forces that threaten his life.
One is the "Domain", led by Dianne Morgan, Ray Brown's one-time lover, a power-hungry wench, determined to rule the world by pushing technology to its limits. Her plans to use artificial intelligence and genetic manipulation to develop a race of super-humans are violently opposed by the Church of Natural Humans and its "Army of God", a horde of religious radicals who carry assault weapons under their holy garments and vow to stamp out the evils of technology even if it means murdering every last scientist.
The intriguing characters and rapid plot twists make UNHOLY DOMAIN as entertaining and hard to put down as "PEACEMAKER" Ronco's first book, published in 2006. What is especially absorbing is the way Ronco explores the ethical and moral issues of technology gone wild. Even as they recoil from the ugliness of extremism, many readers would nod in agreement when Domain's proponents ask "Why would we not want a world of ease and comfort, where children can be genetically engineered to be sound and healthy, and where artificial intelligence enhances the capacity of the human brain to its full potential and beyond? Yet there is something chilling about the totalitarian methods the Domain will use to achieve these ends. Further, devout believers of all faiths might concur with The Church of Natural Humans as it condemns the Domain's attempt to meddle in the process of creation. "Abominations!" scream their disciples, as they see lifelike robots walking, talking and even duplicating thought processes, while the power of artificial intelligence threatens to change the very nature of the human species.
In our own time, we see something uncomfortably similar to this controversy, as debate rages over such advances as stem cell research, cloning, and genetic engineering. By the time we reach the 2020's, what new issues will technology present? UNHOLY DOMAIN compels us to think about it. After all, it's just a few years from today.

Christine Beth Reish

The devastating effects of the computer virus Peacemaker has brought the world to its knees, and two opposing underground organizations seek to usurp power and dominate. Meanwhile, the son of the alleged creater of Peacemaker finds himself caught between the warring factions in his efforts to prove his father's innocence. Dan Ronco's UNHOLY DOMAIN delivers all the excitement of a technological thriller while also delving into provocative themes: the bioethics of genetic engineering, the question of what limit (if any) should be placed on technology, the problem of reconciling faith in God and respect for his creation with the technological promises of artifical intelligence, and the age-old issue of family ties and the loyalty of a son to his father. An engrossing and enjoyable read.
Christine Beth Reish, author of "Facade," 2008 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Top-Semifinalist
Faade

James Goodman

This story moves along at a break-neck pace as we follow the life and times of the son of the man who nearly destroyed the world (or at least that's what The Domain would have you believe) on his journey to discover the truth about his past and come to grips with his role in humanity's uncertain future. After the world is brought to its knees by a particularly nasty computer virus, Peacemaker, technology is held in contempt. Two distinct factions (the religious extremist, Church of the Natural Humans and the technos) rise from the aftermath and struggle to assert their dominance and beliefs on the country. Each claims to have humanity's best interest at heart, but neither will make the world a better place.

Unholy Domain is hands-down the best techno-thriller I've read in recent years and I look forward to reading more of Mr. Ronco's work. I highly recommend this book to one and all.

John P. Sullivan

This is a great piece of near-future science fiction that reminds me of works from Neal Stephenson and William Gibson. Set in a realistic vision of a world where things have somewhat broken down and the corporations continue to grow in power while the federal government wanes. Many interesting characters that fit together well in the overall story. The protagonist is a very interesting and likable character. I liked the fact that the religious nuts are christians and not muslims.

I was left wondering what happened in the prequel, PeaceMaker, and what happens next in the overarching story. I will have to pick up PeaceMaker and I hope the author writes the next one soon.