BRILLIANT young hacker Azi Bello finds himself in the midst of a terrorist plot in this rollercoaster thriller with an up-to-the-minute setting.

The frightening current state of technology is used to full effect by first-time novelist Chatfield – a world expert in digital culture – as he gives readers a crash course in surveillance, fundamentalism and cyber warfare.

It’s this introduction to a nightmare world behind a computer screen that drags the reader in, and keeps us turning the pages when the middle section becomes a run-of-the-mill thriller.

It’s worth sticking with the book however, as traditional action and state-of-the-art technology come together spectacularly for reluctant hero Azi’s final confrontation with his nemesis.

Dr Tom Chatfield is a BBC columnist, international commentator and ‘tech philosopher’ who has explored digital culture in several non-fiction books.

He applies this unrivalled knowledge when crafting a fictional – but very believable – story set in the UK, Europe, USA and terrorist -controlled Syria.

Azi himself is snatched from his computer-filled shed – where he roams the Dark Web writing wrongs like a tech-savvy Robin Hood – and into deadly confrontations in cities like Berlin.

He’s a duck-out-of-water, happy behind a computer screen but not too keen on clandestine meetings, interrogations and shootouts.

He finds himself helping the security services – or so he thinks – as he tries to protect a young Muslim girl on the run from terrorists planning a massive attack against the West.

His knowledge of the Dark Web could give either the good guys and bad guys access to Gomorrah, a marketplace where the world’s worst people trade lives, weapons and influence.

David Knights