Reviewed By: Harriet Klausner
The Veiled Web
Amazon US PB Amazon Canada PB
Class/Genre: Science Fiction
Bantam, Dec 1999, $5.99, 368 pp.
In 2010, ballerina Lucia Del Mar lives to dance. Surprisingly, dancing and her zeal for the Internet are the two prime means of communication for the very shy Lucia. After performing at a White House reception, Lucia meets Rashid al-Jazari, the inventor of Websparks, a special browser that literally talks with its owner. Rashid and Lucia are attracted to one another.
However, Rashid has created Zaki, an Artificial Intelligence that his enemies want. They see Lucia as a potential weakness to attack the brilliant inventor. To keep her safe, Rashid marries Lucia and hides her behind the veil of his native land of Morocco. However, Rashid's foes remain dangerous to the newlyweds, as nothing will stop them from stealing the AI. Meanwhile, Rashid and Lucia fall in love, but their radically different religious beliefs make a long-term relationship seem doubtful. There is also the problem that the western Lucia feels more like a prisoner than she does a wife in Rashid's home.
THE VEILED WEB is an interesting tale that focuses on where information technology will be at the end of the next decade. Thinking back over the gains of the last decade, readers will realize just how difficult it was o create advances in technology that the reader would believe. However, Catherine Asaro shows she is a fabulous speculative fiction writer as she describes a future technology that appears very real. The story line is entertaining and the lead characters are a warm romantic couple. However, Zaki and his not so intelligent "siblings" will leave the audience speculating into the future and ultimately looking back in 2010 to compare with Ms. Asaro's 1999 speculations.
Reprinted with permission. Do Not repost without permission from the author, Harriet Klausner