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3.95  ·  Rating details ·  9,410 ratings  ·  876 reviews
A terrifyingly plausible, million-copy selling debut about an international blackout perpetrated by a hacker attack.
One night, the lights go out across Europe. The electrical grids collapse on an epic scale and unleash a devastating chaos in the total blackout. And unbeknownst to the general population, nuclear reactors are starting to overheat…

When a former hacker and

Paperback, 448 pages
Published February 9th 2017 by Black Swan (first published March 19th 2012)
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Average rating 3.95  · 
Rating details
 ·  9,410 ratings  ·  876 reviews

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Apr 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a thought provoking debut thriller which bleakly and realistically depicts the meltdown of the world as we know it when a hacker attack instigates a power blackout in Europe. On a cold dark winter's night in Milan Pietro Manzano is thrown out of his car as traffic lights no longer work and the electricity grid collapses. A former hacker, Manzano joins the efforts of those entrusted to restore power and tries to chase down who is behind it. To his dismay, his past has turned him into a pr ...more
Aug 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: public-library
Smart cars, smart TVs, smart phones. Has it ever crossed your mind that our society has become rather too dependent on these things? Shoot, those phones have practically taken root and grown to the hands of millions of users. There are few things that cannot be done on smart phones. For those of you who do your banking, your shopping, and everything else with those gadgets, you are about to be dead in the water.

Blackout presents a frightening look at what happens when the power grids collapse o
The Hook - We’ve all been there. We depend on it, yet we take it for granted, electricity. In my head I can hear the sound I make when I lose power, the dread I feel that it could be hours or even days without, and the elation I feel when I hear the whir of my home coming back to life. I still remember the Northeast Blackout of November 1965, when my neck of the woods suffered an outage for thirteen hours. Though awful just for the magnitude of this event things can and have gotten worse. Living ...more
Apr 19, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
How come this book has such high notes? I find it pretty boring. There are absolutely no surprises or moments of terror. I haven't connected with a single character nor felt sorry for people suffering. The dialogues are dumb as heck. What was the most interesting part are the technical specifications of power plants (whether they were true or not).

I got this book through a radio contest, so at least I haven't paid for it, but before the contest I had a chance to listen to the interview with Marc
Liz Barnsley
Nov 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Blackout is banging – a cool, surreal techno thriller that imagines societies reaction to a Europe wide blackout – and follows hacker Manzano (as well as other characters) as he races to find those responsible and restore order to the chaos.

It fairly rocks along – and really does keep you thinking – I love the scenario’s the author creates to show us just how reliant we all are on technology and Blackout manages to be both a thriller and a commentary on the vagaries of human nature, as such it i
May 16, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: yuck-bleh-arrgh
This book started with a great premise and a "thriller" promise. It failed to deliver on both counts. Although the premise is interesting, the execution was dismally boring. There is NO thrilling action whatsoever. Instead of employing the "show not tell" narrative writing technique, the author repeatedly told the effects of a power grid meltdown over and over ad nauseam. Therefore, there was little propelling the plot forward. The book could easily have been trimmed .The author skipped around t ...more
May 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What would happen if a group of terrorists orchestrated a successful strike at the technology that operates all electric and nuclear power sources in Europe, causing its power grid to crash? That is the premise of Blackout, and frankly, this book is almost terrifying to read because you realize that such a scenario (maybe not on such a large scale) might just be plausible. Elsberg very deftly goes from the blackout to the horrifying consequences that can be the result of just a few days without ...more
Dec 06, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Thanks to NetGalley for access to this book.

The power goes out all over Europe, causing all sorts of hardships. No one can figure out how it's happening, except one hacker and the reporter he finds. The two go on the run, as nobody believes them, and such knowledge is dangerous.

Very good disaster movie type soap opera with a lot of tension, though it seems very European in prose style.
Tanja Berg
Mar 10, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller, german
The premise for this book is great, a Europe-wide black-out in a clever and well-planned act of terrorism. We are desperately dependent on electricity for our lives to function. Without it, there is no water out the tap, it's not possible to fill your car with gas because the pumps won't function and you can't pay with your credit card. The food in the fridge goes bad, there is no way to cook what you have anyway (unless you have access to fire and coal). So absolutely, a book of the calamity th ...more
Apr 15, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley, thriller
Blackout was a fast-paced read with an interesting premise but ultimately didn't work for me.

When the power goes out one night, no one thinks anything of it and they simply wait for it to come back. However it soon becomes clear that something is wrong. The power grid across Europe never comes back online and any attempts to restore it, fail. When former hacker Piero Manzano begins investigating the cause of the outages, he turns his findings over to the authorities. Unfortunately they don't bel
Kathi Defranc
May 31, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow...What a story of international disaster..the electricity goes out in Europe- cars crash, heat fails, water or gas cannot be pumped, accidents add up as there are no traffic lights..And then it starts the same way in the USA, in England, and on and on. You really do not think of all that can happen if a power grid fails, and with everything on a computer did you think of what 'hackers' can do?! This story is right out of something that could definitely happen today. The author does a wonderf ...more
Book Him Danno
Blackout was translated into English from German and while I had high hopes this book would be as it is described it fell flat. The author goes into lot of detail about the electrical grid in Europe that takes up way too much times bring the book to a complete and utter stop. 800 page story that could have been told 400 pages or even less.

The story\ thriller\Mystery gets lost in the details of meetings, how would cars work and cities function and how life would come to a stand still unable to
Joanna Park
When the power suddenly goes out, everyone thinks it is a temporary power cut and that electricity will soon be restored. As the hours and days go on however it soon becomes clear that something much more sinister is going on. Working with those in charge of restoring the power Manzano, a former hacker, must try to unravel the mystery and try to find out who is responsible. Due to his background suspicion soon turns to him as the power continues to stays off and panic begins to set in. On the st ...more
Jan 03, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Blackout is one of those books I was rather excited to read, only to be disappointed by the story I was given. Marc Elsberg had a wonderful idea, one that will make people think about the world today, but it did not hit the spot I had been hoping it would. In other words, the potential was there but it failed to deliver.

The story itself was interesting, I cannot deny my interest in the story. I was left wanting to find out more, wanting to see how everything came together, but there was a signif
Aug 11, 2018 rated it did not like it
So tedious. All dry meetings face-less people recounting disaster predictions but no human element to make the threat real. It's all reports from different locations with no glimpse of people on the actual street, no emotion. There's not enough personality to make any of the characters stand out or for their situation to matter. They're simply not interesting or developed enough to be worth keeping track of.

How would a nation react to a loss of power? How quickly would chaos ensue? Well we don't
Jan 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fast and gripping story,that will keep your interest,read in two sittings,an awesome novel
From the cover: One night, the lights go out across Europe. The electrical grids collapse on an epic scale and unleash a devastating chaos in the total blackout. And unbeknownst to the general population, nuclear reactors are starting to overheat… When a former hacker and activist who knows a thing or two about infiltrating networks starts investigating the cause of this disaster, he soon becomes a prime suspect. As threats to the United States start to emerge, he goes on the run with a young Am ...more
May 31, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc-netgalley
I received this ARC from in exchange for a review.

From the book description, "When the lights go out one night, no one panics. Not yet. The lights always come back on soon, don't they? Surely it's a glitch, a storm, a malfunction. But something seems strange about this night. Across Europe, controllers watch in disbelief as electrical grids collapse."

Translated from German, the author goes into extensive detail about the electrical grids in Europe. But I felt it was a bit too much
Nov 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
Intense thriller about what might happen if the lights were to go out and everything that we rely on turned off....

May 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A terrifying but gripping electrical outage disaster, one that is hard to forget.

The lights go out all across Europe. Hackers have infiltrated the interconnected electrical grid software through smart meters. The grid collapses. Fires are destroying substations and transmission towers are being blown up. Power generation units cannot be restarted. A nuclear unit in France is overheating. And that's just in the first three days.

It's February and it's cold in Europe. Germany is hovering a
Mar 31, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Have you ever been in a blackout? I don't mean a 2 hour "fun" day but a major blackout like the Northeast blackout of 2003. I was in the 2003 blackout and it definitely gave me food for thought as to what might happen if there was a major power outage that lasted more than 2 days (as it lasted for me). At that time, no one knew when the power would come back on and I clearly remember a quick run to the corner store to get food and water that did not rely on using technology (stove/oven/toaster/r ...more
May 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc-galley
3.5 stars...

What if the power went out? What if the power went out in not only your neighborhood, or in your city but in your entire country and then the entire continent? The is the premise of Blackout. Terrorist have infiltrated the electrical grid and all across Europe the power goes out and the power suppliers can't get the electricity back online. It's amazing how much our infrastructure relies on electricity. It is scary to think about what could happen if we lost that one thing, worldwide
Dec 30, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great book, way too real, very scary, a must read, I am forever paranoid now, but one little question: Why the romantic subplot? Why is there always a romantic subplot? People are dying I don't care about romance right now. ...more
"RESET: bringing the system back to zero...taking away the foundation of our civilization."

Desperation, chaos and anarchy ensue when the power grids start failing and people all over Europe are plunged into darkness. Without the basic amenities provided through the use of electricity, without communication, and without transportation -- collapse of society is quick. In a race against more devastation, exhacker Piero Manzano collaborates with authorities to find out who and what caused this devas
Chandra Claypool (WhereTheReaderGrows)
When the lights.... go out... in the city.... and don't come back on.. and then Europe finds that threats in the United States are also occurring.... you know there's a real problem. Cities are being evacuated - there's proof that there are bombings happening and threats to nuclear power plants are imminent. Former hacker, Manzano, thinks he is being sought after to help with figuring out how these acts are happening, but soon finds, he's one of a few suspects. Running with American Journalist, ...more
Aug 04, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Barbara by: Carol
Shelves: suspense
“Blackout” is a “techno-thriller” that portrays ways in which terrorists can destroy civilization without firearms or explosives. From the comfort of their home, using their computer, hackers get into the mainframes of various countries’ power grid. Soon, most of Europe is in a blackout and can’t restart their grids.

This has occurred historically. But in this novel, the grids can’t be rebooted. A clever bit of code makes the reboot impossible. We’ve all experienced a bit of time when the electri
Lisa Aiello
Jun 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller
I received a copy of this book through NetGalley for an honest review. Thrillers are not my typical genre, but the blurb caught my eye. The premise of this is terrifying because it truly could happen, and I don't know that I ever really thought long and hard about everything that would be affected if the electric grid just ceased to exist. Hell, I was without power a couple weeks ago for several days and barely survived...but I had options. It was inconvenient, but didn't impact my survival. I f ...more
Katie Grinsell
May 16, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: english
also bad
Jun 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ex-hacker Piero Manzano is driving home one night in Milan, Italy and finds himself in the midst of a disastrous traffic accident when all the street lights suddenly stop working. It's the first day of Winter holidays and Europe is plunged into darkness as electricity grids begin collapsing due to an attack of cyberterrorism. Fuel pumps no longer work and many are stranded without transportation. There is no TV, internet or heat and water stops flowing through pipes. This is going to become the ...more
Apr 29, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: in-french
Blackout by Marc Elsberg is an interesting book, easy to read despite the elevated number of characters, the many locations where the story takes place, and all the technical details.

One night, a huge blackout turns off the light in Europe causing widespread panic and devastation. Piero Manzano, an Italian ex-hacker, in collaboration with François Bollard, a French policeman, and Lauren Shannon, an American reporter, (and many, too many other characters) will found the responsible for that.

The c
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Marc Elsberg is the pseudonym of Marcus Rafelsberger.

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