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The Dark Fields

3.76 of 5 stars 3.76  ·  rating details  ·  2,616 ratings  ·  345 reviews
Imagine a drug that makes your brain function with perfect efficiency, tapping into your most fundamental resources of intelligence and drive, releasing all the passive knowledge you'd ever accumulated. A drug that made you focused, charming, fast, even attractive. Eddie Spinola is on such a drug. It's called MDT-48, and it's Viagra for the brain-a designer drug that's red...more
Paperback, 341 pages
Published January 8th 2003 by Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Lucy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Froztwolf
I'm always saddened when this happens. You see a movie, made after a book, and you get the feeling there is some dense, convergent story in the book that had to be greatly simplified to fit into movie form. Instead, what you get is an unfocused, chaotic story with a disappointing ending.

On a technical level the book is well written. The language is rich, but easy to read and the characters are believable, if not very relateable.

The structure is where the book fails. It seems like the writer sta...more
Jason
Wait, stop, read this right now, like today.
JoAnna
I decided to pick this book up because I saw the movie trailer and thought it looked really good. I really hope the movie is better than the book, for once.

The story line seemed promising, but it never picked up. Sure, there were a few parts that started to get exciting, but there was nothing in this book that kept me wanting more. There were way too many irrelevant slow paced parts in the book, a handful of pointless characters (Ginny, especially), and the ending was awful. My husband told me I...more
Gabriel
Good, but very different from the movie. Recall that this book was originally named "The Dark Fields" and written by a brooding Irishman. Don't expect the same story arc or ending as you find in a Hollywood movie named "Limitless."

All that said, I enjoyed the movie and the book for different reasons. They tell different stories and tell them in different ways. In the movie, Robert De Niro has a line that goes something like "Your powers are unearned to date. Nothing is unearned." I thought this...more
Brooke
You will possibly know this as the Bradley Cooper movie Limitless (if you go searching for the book, look it up under the movie's title - I don't think it's published under the original title any longer).

The main character, Eddie Spinola, acquires some medication that makes him insanely smart. He absorbs information and processes it so quickly that he learns new languages in a day and is able to play the stock market like a toy xylophone. Unfortunately, the drug has its downsides as well, as on...more
Nasrin Saberi Shakib
I watched the film adaptation (Limitless) before reading the book. Usually it is the other way around for me. I thought the book went into the social impact of the drug much better than the movie did. It accomplished this partly by delving into the experience of other users, besides the protagonist. The main premise, as other reviewers have noted, is a new designer drug that enhances the intelligence. The main character, Eddie Spinola, lives an uninspiring life as a contract writer hurrying to m...more
M
You won't hear me say this often, but the book is not as good as the film.

The film is great - probably because the writers chopped out pretty much everything that makes this book clunky, and rather dull. The premise is great. But the narration is dull - really, we're told every single detail about his life: "...and then I made a cup of coffee in a mug, then I took a piss in the toilet and flushed." That kind of thing. The conflict from the film (with the Russian loan shark and the spiralling tru...more
Steve
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tyler Simard
Mar 08, 2012 Tyler Simard rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
Alan Glynn wrote the novel "The Dark Fields" Which was later changed into "Limitless". This book is a definite page-turner for me. I am reading this book after seeing the movie several months ago. I notice that many parts were interpreted in the movie and I am recieving a whole new insight on the plot of the story. It is interesting to see the differences between the film and the book. Limitless is a great example of the word Automaton. The dictionary definition for Automaton states the followin...more
Laura Freed
When I first started this book, I wrote: Wow. This book is blowing me away. If the movie is half as good as this I'll be surprised!
Then I got mid way through (maybe not even midway) and while the action scenes were page turners, the author had a tendency to give excruciating details about what Eddie Spinola (great character name!)was learning about when he took the "limitless" drug. It was like a condensed history lesson about things I could care less about and that did not further the story alo...more
Sonia
I saw the trailer to the film Limitless some time ago, and thought “Cool – that looks excellent” and then didn’t get a chance to see it at the flicks, so when I saw the book cheap on Kindle (a cool £1) I thought I’d give it a bash.

I didn’t realise that the book had actually been re-released under a different name to tie-in with the film. The book was originally published in 2001 and was called The Dark Fields.

I have to admit, I was completely drawn in right from the very beginning.

Eddie Spinola...more
Prakash
I decided to read the novel because I enjoyed the movie so much. I had taken my family to the movie and they really enjoyed it too. Had the movie been true to the book, I don't think that would've been the case. I believe the changes were done intentionally so that the movie would have much more entertainment value.

I agree wholeheartedly with the reviewer who praised Alan Glynn for the research he did on the various subjects touched on in the book. It very much feels when you read the book that...more
Lone Automaton
I picked the movie tie-in version of this novel at a secondhand store under the title "Limitless". I had seen the film when it was in theatres and decided to give the book a go.
I went into it not expecting much. It was a great film, but somehow I couldn't see it being a compelling read, but I was pleasantly surprised.
the book reminds me a little of "American Psycho" or "Fight Club". It's hip, sleek, addictive.
Despite his obvious flaws I found the main character immediately likable and wanted him...more
Jennifer Willis
If you were offered a pill that would make you smarter, more focused and infinitely more productive, would you take it? Would you bother to ask about the side effects first?

Protagonist Eddie Spinola isn't initially told what this tiny pill will do for -- or to -- him, but he knocks back the MDT-48 anyway, and his life immediately becomes a thrilling (and unmanageable) roller coaster.

I've not seen the movie, "Limitless," based on this book by Alan Glynn. The film previews got me interested in the...more
Jenny
I'm wavering between 2 and 3 stars on this one. I love the premise, the idea - and it's not far-fetched at all - that a pill could help us utilise our full mental potential. How addictive that would be! Glynn's writing is good as are his characters. If anything he overdid the research in my opinion: there's way too much information regarding how his MC conquered the stock market - pages of it. For me he should have summed this all up in one paragraph: For the next couple of months I analysed and...more
Angie
Feb 25, 2014 Angie rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: SciFi urban mystery fans
Recommended to Angie by: Christmas gift
This was very similar to the movie. I had actually seen Limitless before I read the book and as I'd loved the film wasn't sure at all how the book would hold up. I loved it.

The books about a new super drug that allows you to preform 200% but there is a major downside. The come down is a total bitch! I loved the characters, and its was wonderful seeing in my mind Bradley Cooper as Eddie Spinola. The book moves at a fast pace and when the deaths and confusion start it go from good to excellent.
Michael
I think having seen the movie, made the book less enjoyable, all the key plot points are in the movie; minus all the long drawn out jargon that the author uses. There are some interesting things in the book that didn’t translate in the movie, but its too simlar. In the end the movie is much more enjoyable.
Internet
Basically a modern retelling of Flowers for Algernon, moreso than the movie.

I enjoyed the inspiring "zero to hero" story in the first half. One or two moments struck me as a neckbeard's fantasy such as when Eddie impresses a girl by telling her about the mechanics of wind and how it's formed. Yet it has a merit of truth to it, because depending on how you say something--the more charismatic you are, the more interested the listener is.

In the second half I was questioning almost all of Eddie's ac...more
Rebecca
I didn't see the movie, though it looked somewhat interesting. I'll catch it when it's on FX in like 3 years. In the meantime, I found out that the movie was based on a book! So instead of waiting for the movie, I picked up the book for free to see what the plot was all about. Yeah, it was pretty much what I expected. I actually thought the book would be worse then it was and it really wasn't awful. I wish the author dove more into the history of the drug or what happened to all the people that...more
Josh
A vivid imagery of time lapsed reality distorted by fragmented moments both out of body and out of character. MDT-48, a designer drug for the intellect and recollection becomes the quick addiction of Eddie Spinola transforming him from a struggling author of sorts into a high powered stock market trader and broker of multimillion dollar company mergers.

I couldn’t put this down, speed reading with vivaciousness akin to Eddie’s own reading ability whilst consumed by MDT-48. I simply couldn’t wait...more
Jared
(SPOILER ALERT!)


This book is the literary basis of the highly likable movie "Limitless" starring Bradley Cooper and Robert Deniro. The book and the movie are that rare breed of identical twins that are actually easy to tell apart. They share many of the same players, or people who add up to the same players, and the paint largely the same picture.

However, the book for me is actually lacking when compared to the movie. 1. You know the outcome, through the storytellers own devices, after the firs...more
Carmen
This wasn't a very good book, because it was not very well-written, not because the concept was poor. There is a drug that makes you all you can be. You are productive, driven, creative, and you can learn very fast. This makes you (usually) rich and powerful and thin. But if you ever stop taking the drug, you don't just “go back to normal”. You suffer blackouts (well, you do this even while on the drug, and sometimes get aggressive and kill people and don't remember it), have headaches, insomnia...more
Anouilh M Buckley
Big pharma is big news these days. The story of Eddie Spinola, drugged and flying high, is a cautionary tale.
Told in first person narrative and with a tight inner structure the story leads from hamartia to peripeteia in a very satisfying way. The characters he meets are memorable and have distinctive voices. Interiors seem real.

No need to take a trip abroad when reading this book.
I feel that I've been to New York and back again.


Reviews
Heather
The Dark Fields was strangely appealing. The main character, Edward, is given a free sample of a new smart drug and becomes addicted. The drug makes him a wall street genius, foreign language expert and a thrill to talk to. He finds a stash of this drug and goes for a ride. The Dark Fields follows Edward's ups and downs and adds an unexpected twist in the end. Although parts of this book were dry and dull most of this story was full in pain, desire, and intrique. Enjoyable.
Silpa Parmar
I couldn't stop turning the pages on this one; I absolutely loved it.


We’re introduced to Eddie Spinola, a copywriter at a small-time publishing house in NY. After being given the ‘smart drug’, MDT-48, by his ex-brother-in-law (Vernon), Eddie is taken on a frenetic whirlwind journey through the initial glory of his new-found intellectual prowess to the final scenes within the Northview Motor Lodge, where his addiction to the drug reaches a climax.


The development of Eddie’s character was excellen...more
Lexi Nicole
While this is nowhere near a favorite of mine, I can absolutely appreciate this book. I watched the movie prior to reading it and I do have to say that as far as pacing goes, the film was superior. There are whole chunks of text in the book that I feel could have been left out; all of those figures? The ins and outs of stocks? They didn't really add much to the story. In fact, there were a few times where it was just exhausting to read and actually distracted me from the larger plot.

What I reall...more
Megan
I read this book under the 2011 title Limitless. I had recently seen the movie Lucy, and learned that there was another similar movie, Limitless, that had been made several years before. This in turn lead me to the book. I have yet to see the movie. This book was intense. As I read it I continued to get the feeling that this book might not have the happiest of endings, but I still felt the compulsion to read more. This book does a good job of making you want to see where the story ends. That bei...more
Jane
What a great fantasy: Guy stumbles on a drug that makes you smart. Not just smart, but able to acquire knowledge instantly. Learn Portuguese? Spend a few minutes skimming a dictionary. Quantum physics? Read a couple of books in an hour or two. Anyway, it's dark, manic, bad things happen, bad guys show up -- I loved the first three-quarters. But that's not a bad score.
Talea
This book wasn't what I would normally read. Kind of dark, a bit technical in some points, but it was written so amazingly well that I couldn't put it down.
It was so absurdly interesting that I gave it to my boyfriend, who never reads. Even HE liked it and still raves about it to this day. Awesome book and I found it totally by accident on a library shelf.
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Alan Glynn is a graduate of Trinity College. His first novel, The Dark Fields, was released in March 2011 as the movie Limitless by Relativity Media. He is also the author of Graveland, Winterland and Bloodland, for which he won the 2011 Irish Book Award.

http://us.macmillan.com/author/alanglynn
More about Alan Glynn...
Bloodland Winterland Limitless Graveland Limitless: A Novel

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