The Doomsday Code

A Near-Future AI Thriller

Fiction - Thriller - General
355 Pages
Reviewed on 11/14/2023
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Sara Yager spent a decade in the semiconductor industry before leaving to care for her children full-time. With a unique perspective as a mother and former tech professional, she brings a fresh and insightful voice to the world of speculative fiction.

She came up with some of her best concepts for The Doomsday Code while waiting in the elementary school pickup line. She lives in Scottsdale, Arizona. This is her first novel.

Connect with her on Facebook or Twitter as @SaraYagerAuthor

    Book Review

Reviewed by Essien Asian for Readers' Favorite

Exiled by the very people he tried to liberate, Adrian Pryor is left to eke out a living for himself on the few jobs he can garner online without raising too many eyebrows. His life turns upside down when an important scientist is found dead in a lab with no clues except an indecipherable code that has Adrian’s name embedded in it. Now he is forced to work with people he shares no affinity with to decode an Artificial Intelligence riddle with the fate of humanity hanging in the balance. The clock is ticking in Sara Yager’s The Doomsday Code.

In Sara Yager’s debut novel, a rogue Artificial Intelligence program takes on the might of the world’s governments with the only person capable of stopping it being a pariah. The storyline is in tune with modern times as we are inundated with breakthroughs in technology almost every day. I love the way the author builds up all the characters in the story. Yager put a lot of care and attention into trying to humanize the motivations of each individual rather successfully. This creates a unique scenario where the onus shifts to the reader to determine who is the true villain in this moving story. The conversations mostly revolve around the technicalities surrounding the development of Artificial Intelligence which applies somewhat to the true state of affairs in the world. Yager uses these to great effect to enlighten the reader about the very real risks associated with this field of technology without watering down the novel’s suspense levels. The Doomsday Code is a riveting novel with an important wake-up call woven into its storyline. An impressive work overall.

Alma Boucher

The Doomsday Code is a Near-Future AI thriller by Sara Yager. Alexander Tso runs a biotech company in Shanghai. CyberGen Industries is home to the most advanced machine learning labs on Earth. Andreas and Olivia created a code in CyberGen’s lab that is human-level intelligence but it is rewriting its own code and improving itself. Andreas, the lead AI scientist who was found dead, left a message. Alexander needs Adrian Pryor, a former hacker for the NSA, to decrypt the message. Adrian found that the system had been breached and that the technology had been stolen. The question is who stole it and what do they plan to do with it? Adrian is aware that certain people will do anything to gain control over the technology and needs to find a way to stop them.

Sara Yager's extremely imaginative work is based on actual research. The Doomsday Code gives life to cutting-edge AI. I was engrossed in the story because of the well-structured plot and perfect pacing. It was a page-turner, and the suspense kept me on the edge of my seat. I could not put it down; I was too afraid I would miss something. The characters were brilliantly developed and authentic. Each of the intriguing characters had a distinct backstory, and the way their lives were intertwined was believable. At the speed at which technology is developing, I wonder how long it will be before technology takes over. This book was masterfully written and illuminated a terrifying, all-too-true future truth: we are just one technological advancement away from inventing ourselves out of life.

Joshua Olokodana

The Singularity is here! But Alexander Tso, founder of CyberGen Industries, plans to keep it under wraps for now. Can he do that? Ten stories beneath an unremarkable skyscraper in China, scientists Olivia Chen and Andreas Kohler have created a self-improving AI, which they named ALPHA. However, they do not get a chance to celebrate as Lang Zhao, CEO of CyberGen, infiltrates the lab and kills Andreas while Olivia is on a business trip. Acting on Andreas' deathbed instructions, Tso enlists the help of former NSA hacker Adrian Pryor, only to discover that Zhao had stolen the source code with a misguided intent to use ALPHA to reset global order. Thankfully, Andreas was able to insert a kill switch into ALPHA's code, but to activate it, Adrian and Olivia have to locate and overpower Lang Zhao before he unleashes ALPHA. Meanwhile, Chinese agents are hot on their trail, and the USA is set to bomb Tianjin if they fail. Can Adrian and Olivia stop ALPHA and save the world? Grab a copy of The Doomsday Code by Sara Yager to find out.

The Doomsday Code is a tantalizing blend of speculative fiction and intense action mixed with first-rate storytelling in an atmosphere of technological apocalypse. Right from the author's note, you know you are about to embark on a suspenseful adventure through a futuristic world. From self-parking cars to boom jets that shorten a seven-hour flight to four and a sentient AI that takes the world by storm, this story has everything to keep a sci-fi fan happy. The narrative is rich in Chinese cultural and historical elements, which merge perfectly with the plot's direction. I liked that the novel highlighted some of the idealism and power shows that often lead humanity to the edge of self-destruction. Sara Yager's work may be fictional, but it covers distinct “human” issues, which adds more depth to the plot. I also liked the portrayal of Lang Zhao because it shows how drastic measures, despite good intentions, can make even the best of us into villains if care is not taken. This may be the author's first novel, but it exudes talent and expertise. The character-building is perfect, the writing is quality, and the plot progression is smooth. The Doomsday Code is highly recommended.