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Change Agent

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New York Times bestselling author Daniel Suarez delivers an exhilarating sci-fi thriller exploring a potential future where CRISPR genetic editing allows the human species to control evolution itself.

On a crowded train platform, Interpol agent Kenneth Durand feels the sting of a needle— and his transformation begins. . . . 

In 2045 Kenneth Durand leads Interpol’s most effective team against genetic crime, hunting down black market labs that perform "vanity edits" on human embryos for a price. These illegal procedures augment embryos in ways that are rapidly accelerating human evolution—preying on human-trafficking victims to experiment and advance their technology.
With the worlds of genetic crime and human trafficking converging, Durand and his fellow Interpol agents discover that one figure looms behind it all: Marcus Demang Wyckes, leader of a powerful and sophisticated cartel known as the Huli jing.
But the Huli jing have identified Durand, too. After being forcibly dosed with a radical new change agent, Durand wakes from a coma weeks later to find he’s been genetically transformed into someone else—his most wanted suspect: Wyckes.
Now a fugitive, pursued through the genetic underworld by his former colleagues and the police, Durand is determined to restore his original DNA by locating the source of the mysterious—and highly valuable—change agent. But Durand hasn’t anticipated just how difficult locating his enemy will be. With the technology to genetically edit the living, Wyckes and his Huli jing could be anyone and everyone—and they have plans to undermine identity itself.

416 pages, Hardcover

First published April 18, 2017

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About the author

Daniel Suarez

19 books4,113 followers
DANIEL SUAREZ is the author of the New York Times bestseller Daemon, Freedom™, Kill Decision, and Influx. A former systems consultant to Fortune 1000 companies, he has designed and developed mission-critical software for the defense, finance, and entertainment industries. With a lifelong interest in both IT systems and creative writing, his high-tech and Sci-Fi thrillers focus on technology-driven change. Suarez is a past speaker at TED Global, MIT Media Lab, NASA Ames, the Long Now Foundation, and the headquarters of Google, Microsoft, and Amazon -- among many others. Self-taught in software development, he is a graduate from University of Delaware with a BA in English Literature. An avid PC and console gamer, his own world-building skills were bolstered through years as a pen & paper role-playing game moderator. He lives in Los Angeles, California.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 673 reviews
Profile Image for Mario the lone bookwolf.
797 reviews3,631 followers
November 13, 2022
Take a short glimpse into a disturbing, designer baby, illegal black genetic engineering lab, body horror accelerating, future.

Is biopunk still to come or already there?
With visionary power, Change agent imagines a 21st century most likely to come in many places, using some extremely interesting plot lines and settings with great brain food potential. Because it´s pretty new land, there are endless trope and plotting options for both intuitive and planning writers, social sci-fi with characters, hard sci-fi with real, future, and completely fantastic tech, and why not a biopunk focused space opera without much physics and electricity addicted technology, instead imagining the different fractions that could develop heavily biopunked over centuries and millennia on earth or elsewhere.

Visualize this in the year 10.000
My ultimate dream would be a nano biopunk hybrid novel or series in this style, again completely new land, using all the amazing tropes and ideas sci-fi has offered over the decades in context with these 2 most important disruptive future key technologies, genetic engineering and nano/ quantum technology. It´s of course also the readers´ and book market´s fault that such new experimentations, that aren´t including the full, expected sci-fi package, are nothing a writer would
bet his success on. The hard sci-fi part is generally a niche market and social sci-fi is just lifting off, nobody wants to risk too much, but hey, hundreds of ideas that could be reimagined, combined, extended, and lead to first, new reading experiments should motivate the one or other aspiring author. Love and relationship topics alone could be used for dozens of new, first time pairings, opening the cold, plot based, template stereotype character, worldbuilding, info dump, male hard sci-fi for emotional, real, female author´s protagonist descriptions.

Could have been better
Back to the show, this one doesn´t feel as great as some of other of Suarez´ works, I deem that he simply didn´t invest, or had, so much time into character development, maybe because he had to get the thing finished. If the world and character would be more fused, in combination with the action thriller travel around setting plot, this could have been the immediately best piece of a new kind of biopunk, genetic engineering sci-fi.

The EU rant begins

But there are no substitutes, so it´s still the best stuff. And owns and ridicules conservative thinking
It´s one of the best descriptions of a future awaiting many of us, especially in countries not delaying the development with stupid, restrictive, conservative, and technophobic laws, looking at you, EU, with some of the most damaging consequences such as completely losing connection to amazing research and applications, developed on other continents, still to be awaited. It´s like not using fire for stupid reasons, not just the population, that is already used to suffer because of political incompetence and anachronistic thinking, but especially the corporations will suffer, go to other continents, and weaken the whole EU´s economy. Dinosaurs die out, they are unable to get it, no matter how much they talk about ethics and morality, it´s just ridiculous technophobia fueled by the sad Catholic past.

It will be done, no matter how much avoidance behavior and lack of contact with reality politics and faith invest
It´s even completely useless to criminalize and stigmatize a groundbreaking, disruptive technology, that´s nothing that can be banned by law, it´s a part of technological evolution and by not legalizing it and any research, both market competition and organized crime are laughing about how easy it is to make even more money. Because the EU likes to continue the great unsuccess story of any new, extremely important technology like in the past with software, internet companies, smartphones, consoles, computer hardware, etc. Just lol, man. Accompanied by facepalms, of course, and with the paradigm shift free icing on the irony cake that the green, alternative parties are working together with the conservative, republican parties for different, illogical reasons.

A wiki walk can be as refreshing to the mind as a walk through nature in this completely overrated real life outside books:
Profile Image for Stephan .
32 reviews40 followers
July 31, 2021
★★★! I was looking foward to this techno thriller - and it turned out boring and predictable scifi. What made Suarez's books fun and special was his take on what our current technology can look like just a few years into the future. Daemon & Freedom™ were a terrific take on AI, Kill Decision a okay take on drones and Influx was a cool idea and just fun. So basically he had a tremendous start and it was downhill from then on - for me. I have to say, I've removed him from my favorite authors. If he writes a new book I might read it at some point, but I won't be waiting for it like I have been in the past.

The first few pages were a bit bumpy for me, I didn't get several of the 3-letter abbreviations. The story takes place in 2045 and Suarez explains how the world has changed, what tech is currently being used and what happened to get it there. Some things I might agree with, others absolutely not. You might say it's his story to tell and nobody cares for my agreement (and you'd be right), but that's my point. He used to tell a story that technologically felt real but to me this is just a scifi thriller amongst others.

I did enjoy the side blows he was passing out to nationalists (Trump) by showing how the US took themselves out of the game of front-players completely on their own accord.

Then at around page 40 Suarez uses a classic tech trope. I don't want to spoil so I won't go any deeper. Suddenly it turns very thrilling indeed. Unfortunately the ending seemed totally obvious to me and the progress in the story felt very railroaded, so there were few surprises. It turned out worse and anticlimactic. Repetitive even.

An okay book that I just couldn't connect with I'd rate with 3 stars, but I had several issues, so it has to be 2 stars in my world. I'm really sorry, I was expecting a 4 star read, hoping for 5. Sorry to disapoint!

edit: I added a star because looking back I feel my personal disappointment shouldn't discourage others from reading this. After all it isn't 'bad', it's just that I was expecting more.
Profile Image for Bradley.
Author 6 books3,977 followers
April 25, 2017
I have no problems raving about this book!

It has everything I'd ever want in a rip-roaring Hard-SF Thriller: a huge amount of genetic modifications and therapies gone wild and under the power of gangsters and the law, alike.

Ah! But this isn't just another cat and mouse hunt for wrongdoers. This is Daniel Suarez.

That means a lot of great tech and implications of tech and what's even greater? Great locations to get lost in, from Singapore to Thailand to Burmese jungles and even more.

Biotech has taken off in a really big way. Between automatic cabs made of shrimp shells to a flock of young Scarlett Johansens, Suarez keeps us on our toes and if you're not reading carefully, you'll miss a ton of these brilliant additions scattered throughout the ostensibly Thriller-esque text.

Who are you to completely edit my genetic code into a super-baddie? lol I want my desk job BACK! :)

Honestly, this is a fantastic hard-sf novel, people. It's perfectly engineered to feel like a police procedural turned nearly revenge-esque with a burly man with chameleon tattoos and a dwarf, both traveling through high-tech and squalor through countries much changed from our current ones, feeling a lot like Babylon Babies and The Minority Report the entire time.

Virtual realities that are beamed right into logical light structures for programming? Hell yeah. Laws and implications for such? Hell yeah. That's on top of the main genetic plot.

This is a rich idea novel as well as a fun-as-hell adventure. :)

Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC!
Profile Image for Kemper.
1,390 reviews6,828 followers
March 18, 2017
I received a free advance copy of this for review from NetGalley.

In 2045 the world has shifted to an economy based on synthetic biology rather than electronics, and the United States is now a third world backwater because of its stubborn clinging to the past and refusal to recognize and adapt to a changing reality.

Yep, that math checks out.

Genetic modifications are all the rage, but while it’s OK to prevent a disease in an embryo it’s illegal to tinker with the DNA to turn your kid into a hybrid of Stephen Hawking and Tom Brady. Kenneth Durand is a researcher for Interpol in Singapore who tracks down illegal labs. Durand and his group receive intelligence that a powerful crime syndicate run by a man named Marcus Wyckes is the main player for all genetic crime, but before Durand can act on the information he is injected with something while in a crowd. He wakes up from a coma weeks later, but now he has an entirely different face and body, and even his DNA has been altered to change him into a Marcus Wyckes doppelganger. Durand manages to escape, but now he’s the most wanted man in the world. If that’s not bad enough he also has the crime syndicate after him including a terrifying hit man who can kill with a touch.

My first thought on hearing the premise for this is that it sounded like the Nicolas Cage movie Face-Off, and there’s certainly a little of that film’s DNA present here. (See what I did there?) However, Daniel Suarez is a writer capable of looking at the current state of technology and coming up with concepts for what happens next that seem all too plausible. He thinks big, and here he’s done an impressive job of building a world that certainly seems like it could be where we’re heading. While Suarez is a champion of science and technology he also sees some of the often horrifying implications of how unregulated processes and unrestrained greed could turn new developments against humanity.

While he’s created a detailed and intriguing society for Durand to be hunted through the downside is that main story really isn’t much more than your average thriller plot about an innocent man on the run. There’s even the standard issue wife and child in order to provide Durand with extra motivation and make him seem more sympathetic. I lost track of the number of times that Durand broods about trying to get back to his wife and baby girl. (And if you want another Nic Cage reference pretend that you can hear me doing my best imitation of him in Con Air saying, “My baby girl.”)

Like Suarez’s other work the characters are one-note stereotypes for the most part, and he can be can be repetitive as well as downright comic booky. During one critical confrontation Durand says some variation on “You’ll never get away with this!” at least three times. I was more interested in this world where furniture, car frames, and knife blades are grown than I was in the fate of Durand who was just another bland lead character to me.

Still, a Suarez thriller always gives me new ideas to think about as well as several terrible things to keep me up nights, and that’s why I continue to look forward to reading whatever he comes up with.
Profile Image for Tim.
2,133 reviews200 followers
August 11, 2021
Very well done 2017 story about a possible and realistic future full of action. 8 of 10 stars
Profile Image for Michael Hicks.
Author 35 books434 followers
June 14, 2017
My original Change Agent audiobook review and many others can be found at Audiobook Reviewer.

Change Agent, by Daniel Suarez, is a frustrating pop-sci thriller, more focused on whiz-bang tech than telling an original story. At its core, this Crichton-esque soft-serve is a generic lone hero on the run chase book, set in the near-future where the threats of illicit genetic modification are rearing its ugly head and Interpol is working on cracking down on underground biohackers. After shutting down an illegal gene shop, analyst Kevin Durand becomes the target of Eurasian gang boss, Marcus Wyckes. Durand is injected with a “change agent” and wakes up in the hospital five weeks later, his entire genetic structure altered so that he is now the spitting image of Wyckes, the Most Wanted Man In The World! Durand, on a mission to reclaim his identity, has to elude police, escape from his own team of Interpol agents, and go deep, deep, deep, deep undercover to secure the help of some of those underground biohackers he’s been tracking for arrest.

If you’ve seen the movies Face/Off and Minority Report, you’ve basically read this book already, and Saurez fails to inject many change agents into the formulas established by so many other body-swap and hero on the run thrillers. While it’s clear Saurez has certainly done his homework and there’s plenty of next-gen sci-fi tech to go gaga over, the story itself is too derivative for me to muster up much enthusiasm. There were also too many moments that ripped me right out of the narrative with how clumsily they were handled. In one instance, we’re introduced to a strange villain who is so evil a guard pees himself at the mere sight of the man, a scene that reads far more goofy than threatening. On another occasion, Durand has to flee a building swarming with cops by rooftop and surrounded by drones. He leaps off the roof and onto one of the drones, whose far-away pilot registers the error, but it never occurs to anybody to turn one of the other nearby drones to examine the “glitch” their sensors are reading. Later, Saurez details an underground slavers club where people have been modified to look like celebrities. It found it rather odd that people nearly 50 years in the future would still be modifying themselves to look like young Brad Pitts and Scarlett Johanssons rather than their current contemporaries, but maybe that’s just me. At other times, Saurez stops to linger for far too long, bearing the story down with a lot of exposition and infodumps on current affairs, the tech of the day, and detours into the Malaysian jungle that serve to slow the narrative to a crawl when it should be racing full speed ahead.

While Saurez’s writing failed to sell me on Change Agent, Jeff Gurner’s narration was at least well done. Gurner has a rich timbre and is able to provide a wide range of voices and accents to keep the large cast distinct. At times the reading felt a little too much like the voice-over work of a documentary, but it’s a solid enough listen overall. Given the flaws in pacing and Saurez’s been there, done that narrative choices, though, this was hard a audiobook to really sink into and enjoy, which made keeping my attention focused on the material all the more difficult. On the production end of things, the audio comes through clear and consistently, as one should expect of a major publisher like Penguin Audio.

(Audiobook provided for review by the audiobookreviewer.com.)
Profile Image for Kitty G Books.
1,551 reviews2,937 followers
October 13, 2017
So I enjoyed the concepts in this book more than I enjoyed the actual story, but it has left me wanting to know a whole lot more about CRISPR and gene-editing so thats a plus! I would classify this as a near-future sci-fi thriller, it's definitely heavily researched in terms of science, but it also certainly plays with the reality of what could happen and pushes things to the extreme in order to make a more crazy story.

This is a story about a man called Ken who works for Interpol. His job is hunting out gene-editing labs around the world and closing down the illegal ones where it's dangerous and radical changes are being made. He's a coder, and he's the enemy of many big gene-editing gangs who are very powerful. Suddenly he gets pricked with a needle whilst at a busy station, and his whole DNA is edited to turn him into the very criminals he hunts... After that, he has to go on the run...

So what I most liked in this story was the fact that it was pace-y and entertaining throughout, but it also made me think about the whole nature vs nurture debate. Imagine a world where everything that was 'you' could be radically changed...how would you react, would your personality change, or just your appearance and the feeling that you were trapped in someone else's body... It's a creepy thing to think about when you think deeply, but it's also pretty fascinating, and I liked that element a lot.

The things I was less keen on were the 'thriller' elements. Of course we have the criminal gang who are after our main character when their plot goes wrong and he doesn't end up dead. We also have a man on the run for the majority of this book so we follow him doing ludicrously unbelievable things in order to escape from the authorities and sometimes this all just became far too unbelievable for me.

Overall, it's a fun read and it's a sci fi where I really enjoyed the science. I would say it's very easy to get into, and if you're looking for something light but thought-provoking you may want to give this a go. 3*s from me :)
Profile Image for Quirkyreader.
1,514 reviews41 followers
March 15, 2017
I received this as an ARC from Penguin. Am I glad I ever did. It takes Science Fiction to a whole new level. After reading this book you will never see DNA and gene therapy in the same way.

Get ready for your mind to be blown.
Profile Image for Faith.
1,849 reviews520 followers
March 23, 2017
Kenneth Durand works for Interpol tracking down illegal genetic labs. Millions of migrants are fleeing crop failures, there are civil wars and rising ocean levels. The gene revolution has bypassed America because of its backward anti-science ways and so Singapore has become the center of the new technology. (The author is a little heavy handed with his social commentary.) Genetic engineering is restricted, but an unscrupulous company has devised a way to completely replace the DNA of an adult human. They inject Durand with the change agent and he awakens in the hospital as an exact copy of Marcus Wyckes, the head of the company. What follows is a very prolonged chase scene, with both Interpol and Wyckes trying to capture Durand (who Interpol thinks is really Wyckes - it's complicated).

There's a lot of world building, in fact there was too much for me and I wound up skimming. To me, a lot of this was just technobabble (like "photonic computing clusters" and "synbiotoxins"). There are also many intriguing details. "The car was a two-seater, a popular low-budget model called a Shrimp (because the body was grown from the same chitinous material as shrimp shells)." Meat is lab produced. Tattoos come and go. However, there was no character development and the only plot element is that Durand wants to get his own DNA back and to keep from getting killed in the process. This book was just OK for me.

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.
Profile Image for Rose.
795 reviews46 followers
February 12, 2020
I don’t know how someone can write something as good as the Daemon trilogy and then put this out there. It wasn’t ‘bad’ but it was so boring for a story with such great ideas. I’ve been trying to read it for a month...A MONTH. Dear lord, I would normally read 6 or 7 in that kind of time but I dreaded picking this up for the sheer boredom of it. I’m sure other people will like it, and it may be a good story in the end but life’s too short to not enjoy a book you’re forcing yourself to read. NEXT...
Profile Image for Brandon Forsyth.
891 reviews146 followers
November 25, 2016
CHANGE AGENT's rough DNA: the heaving lungs of a Dan Brown thriller, FACE/OFF's brain (such as it is), and MINORITY REPORT's soul. There's a lot to like here, but it's hard to love.
Profile Image for Rob.
848 reviews535 followers
April 9, 2017
Executive Summary: Despite a bit of a bumpy start, I think this is my favorite book by Mr. Suarez since Daemon.

Audiobook: Jeff Gurner continues to be a good fit for Daniel Suarez books. He reads well, and does a few voices to add that little extra something to the audiobook. These are exactly the kind of books I think are well suited to doing in audio.

Full Review
I picked up Daemon a few years back on the recommendation of a co-worker. It was kind of remarkable that I hadn't found it on my own earlier. That book was totally in my wheelhouse. A near-future sci-fi thriller about a computer program gone crazy? Yes please. However unlike many people I found the sequel Freedom™ to just be too over the top for me to read it without constantly rolling my eyes.

In fact, I've found most of his work after Daemon just a little too ridiculous at times for me, but always good for a fun quick listen. I'd say this book is no different, except I found myself enjoying this one a lot more by the end than the last few.

Bioengineering seems to be a pretty popular topic for near-future science fiction recently, but I found Mr. Suarez's take on things to be pretty interesting and unique. I did struggle a bit in the beginning with the whole "Wrongfully accused Fugitive" trope. It felt too generic for me, and I found myself starting to grow bored.

However once things got past the setup, I found that the sci-fi elements that Mr. Suarez added in made his spin on the story unique enough to be quite enjoyable. As with most of his books, things start of in the realm of believability and end up veering into the realm of ridiculousness at times.

I sometimes struggled with Kenneth Durand as a protagonist, but overall I thought his story does a good job of posing interesting questions about how much of who we are is biology vs. our upbringing. The whole nurture vs. nature debate. The book as a whole brings up some interesting ideas of what should be allowed and what should be illegal in terms of biological engineering.

I don't pretend to have the same level of comprehension about biology and what's possible in that field as I do in computers, but some parts of the story were just a bit too much for me to not to roll my eyes. I'd be curious to find out if Biology folks will have the same kinds of issues with this book that I had with Freedom™. Maybe they'll tell me that Mr. Suarez isn't too ridiculous after all. I sure hope not, because it would be pretty terrifying.

Like all of his books, he takes interesting science, extrapolates on what might be, and uses that to frame an over the top thriller story. It was a fun book, and I'll be eager to pick up his next book when that comes out as well.
Profile Image for Tom LA.
595 reviews224 followers
February 25, 2018
A near-future thriller about everything that can go wrong with genetic manipulation. Interesting South-East Asia locations, mainly Singapore, which in this fictional future has become the new technological hub of the world.

I liked his previous A.I. thrillers better, but this was also good. Great fun and stimulating speculative fiction in parts, too slow and boring in other parts. I would have edited out a good 1/3 of the book, if not more. Overall, I would give it 3 and 1/2 stars.
Profile Image for Sam (Clues and Reviews).
684 reviews160 followers
April 18, 2017
In the year 2045, Kenneth Durand, an Interpol agent who leads a team against genetic crime, feels the sting of a needle and his transformation begins. Durand finds himself identified by a cartel in charge of some of the most exclusive black market genetic labs and wakes up in the hospital, completely transformed as Interpol’s most wanted suspect. Now a fugitive, Durand must go deep into the underground world and evade police capture to try and retain his own DNA.

I wasn’t really sure what to expect when I started Change Agent by Daniel Suarez.

I loved the general concept; black market labs that perform “vanity edits” on human embryos for millions of dollars? I was intrigued immediately. From the first pages, I was hooked. I was completely sucked into this futuristic world and was completely horrified when Durand found his DNA stolen. Human trafficking, human experimentation, cartels and high stakes business, made this one especially complex. In fact, initially, this sci-fi thriller reminded me a little bit of Dark Matter, which was one of my favourite releases of last year

Unfortunately, I struggled a bit with the execution. As mentioned, I loved the beginning of the novel. I would say this one had me until about the 60% point where I found things got jumbled, the pace slowed and then I felt confused. The language became more technical and I found myself not being able to connect fully with the story.

Overall, I feel like anyone who likes a military thriller will enjoy this one; it does feel like a military thriller with a twist. I also feel like anyone who enjoys a futuristic or sci-fi novel will love what Suarez presents.

Overall, I felt it was a solid read and gave this one a 3.5/5 stars.

Profile Image for Chandra Claypool (WhereTheReaderGrows).
1,553 reviews320 followers
April 19, 2017
It's 2045 and Interpol's Kevin Durand is shutting down bioengineering hot beds that are changing the DNA of embryos in order to make "children to order". While some are doing this for the pure sense of not having their child be born with an illness or deformity (as he's guilty of with his own child), others are manufacturing kids in a more immoral way and he's out to stop as many as possible. Because he's good at his job, one of the most notorious international criminals, Marcus Wyckers, is out for his head. But why take his head when he can use Durand's entire body? An unfortunate prick in a crowded area sends him into a coma for weeks and when Durand wakes up, he doesn't understand why he's handcuffed. Asking for a mirror, his reflection shows Wyckers, as does his DNA. How did this happen and how far will he go to get back to his family and try and change his DNA back to his own?

What the ever living hell. This was somewhat plausible and somewhat crazy! Personally, I had the best time reading about how gene manipulation could work... and how it could also be abused. I was utterly fascinated with Durand's journey. And genetic tattooing... GIMME. Reminiscent of Face Off (the movie, not the reality show) with a Total Recall futuristic feeling, I found this novel entertaining. Some may get a little turned off with all the scientific jargon, which can make certain parts feel a little drawn out. I can see this absolutely being made into a movie adaptation. I think it should - I'd buy it.

Love your sci-fi with some gene splicing and dicing? Take a chance on this read and be careful in crowded areas.
Profile Image for Cynthia.
633 reviews43 followers
June 12, 2017
I love the science fiction genre but I often feel let down by such books because some authors put a lot of effort on world building and not enough in creating strong characters. Suarez doesn't have this problem because his Change Agent characters are well drawn and their dilemmas are real as well.

The action in this book revolve around genetics. Suarez begins with our current manipulation of DNA and imagines a world where parents can alter their children in utero are beautiful and intelligent. The action happens in a future Asia where people are allowed only one child which helps the parents justify such exploitation, this is their one shot and they want the best. It's easy to sympathize with this however there is a black market that flourishes outside government regulation and their agenda is dark. The main character falls victim to them when they alter his DNA. (He's involved in regulating gene manipulation.). HE wakes up literally not himself. The story takes off with his odyssey to track down why and how the bad guys changed who he is on the outside but they can't touch his thoughts and feelings. This is science fiction at its best.

Thank you to the publisher for allowing me access to the e-book.
Profile Image for reherrma.
1,685 reviews29 followers
April 12, 2020
In diesem Buch widmit sich der Future-Science-Thriller-Spezialist den Entwicklungen der Bio- bzw. Gen-Technologie in einer nahen Zukunft, die vieleicht schon begonnen hat, nur wissen können wir das (noch) nicht. In seiner Welt sind Eingriffe in genetische Codes längst zum Standard geworden– naheliegend streng beschränkt auf die Korrektur von wenigen Krankheiten, die genetisch bedingt sind. Pech hat der, dem das zu teuer ist oder der zu früh geboren wurde, noch bevor es solche Möglichkeiten gab. Wer genügend Geld hat, kann immerhin Schlimmeres vermeiden, wogegen niemand ernsthaft etwas sagen kann.
Aber es gibt eben auch die, die noch mehr Geld haben und für die es keine Grenzen gibt. Für die ist biologisches Design, auch wenn es strengstens verboten ist, nur eine Frage des Geldes. Denn wo es eine Nachfrage gibt, findet sich immer jemand, der sie befriedigt – in diesem Fall eine den chinesischen Triaden nachgebildete Organisation mit dem Namen Huli jing. Deren Chef, ein gewisser Marcus Demang Wyckes, zieht mittlerweile die Aufmerksamkeit einer internationalen Spezialeinheit auf sich. Kenneth Durand ist einer der wichtigsten Mitglieder dieser Einheit, die Jagd auf Wyckes macht.
Eines Tages wird er Opfer eines Überfalls, verschwindet für Wochen von der Bildfläche und erwacht wieder – als Marcus Demang Wyckes. Offensichtlich sind die Huli jing in der Lage, lebende Menschen durch Gen-Edits soweit in andere zu verwandeln, dass sie selbst bei näherer Untersuchung nicht so einfach von ihrem Vorbild zu unterscheiden sind. Das erklärt auch, weshalb die Führungsriege der Huli jing in relativ kurzen Intervallen Mordanschlägen zum Opfer zu fallen scheinen. Ein grandioses Ablenkungsmanöver: Anscheinend nehmen die Köpfe des Kartells in regelmäßigen Abständen andere Identitäten an, um für die Behörden nicht greifbar zu werden. Weder Fingerabdrücke, Augenscans oder DNA-Abgleiche können sie überführen, denn alles kann ja geändert werden. Auch wenn das Bewusstsein der Führungscrew dasselbe bleibt, dingfest zu machen sind ihre Mitglieder nicht mehr. Ohne klare Identität gibt es auch kein Schuldprinzip, an dem die Rechtsverfolgung sich festmachen kann...

Ab jetzt kann man sich entscheiden, wie man den Roman jetzt weiterlesen will; einerseits als rasanter und ungemein spannender Action-Thriller, für den ein Daniel Suarez eine ausgezeichnete Wahl darstellt, oder als Parabel auf eine Welt, in der das Menschsein, ja die ganze Evolution, bedroht ist durch das Herumpfuschen am jeweiligen genetischen Material, es ist eine Zukunft, in der es keine Identität mehr geben wird. Und wie man den Menschen kennt, wird das von bestimmten Mächten ausgenutzt werden in der die Grenzen, die für Eingriffe in genetische Codes gezogen werden, immer weiter verschoben werden. Eine Zukunft, in der das große illegale Geschäft nicht mehr Drogen sind, sondern die Genetik.
Daniel Suarez hat hier m.E. einen SF-Thriller geschrieben, den man aber auch getrost als ein neues Standardwerk in Hinblick auf die Zukunft der Biotechnologie sehen kann, ich sehe auch die absolute Notwendigkeit, für eine solche Zeit eine weltweit agierende Polizeitruppe, ähnlich wie in diesem Roman, aufzustellen um die Probleme irgendwie in den Griff zu bekommen. Denn der Eingriff in den Genpool betrifft die ganze Menschheit und kann nicht lokal gesehen werden.
Ein wirklich großer Roman den man wirklich diskuttieren sollte...
Profile Image for Trike.
1,467 reviews153 followers
January 21, 2018
The ideas and their presentation here are great, but the story is formulaic in the extreme. I found myself wanting to read an article theorizing potential uses (and misuses) of an epigenetic “change agent” rather than the actual book itself. Which is not to say the story is bad, not at all. It just has a been-there-done-that feel to it.

The main character, Kenneth Durand, is an Interpol analyst who tracks down illegal genetic engineering labs which offer to edit embryos, tailoring children to the exact specifications the parents desire. Super genius? Done. Extremely athletic? Done. Taller than average? Done. Problem being, only minor corrections to serious genetic faults are allowed per international law, resulting in organized crime offering to tailor children. Enter folks like Agent Durand.

Durand’s analysis is so successful that the Huli jing (aka the Nine-tailed Fox) criminal organization is feeling the pressure. So they figure out who he is and inject him with the change agent, which turns slender distance runner Durand into the spitting image of the Huli jing’s muscular and imposing boss. Even to the point where Durand’s DNA now matches the crimelord’s.

So he goes on the run to prove his innocence and get changed back. Downshift into formulaic chase story.

Which is fine, it just pales by comparison to the fascinating and terrifying notion of genetic editing of human beings. Suarez incorporates tech from his previous books here, synthesizing a frighteningly probable world of 2045, complete with sex slaves edited to look like celebrities, simpleton children genetically engineered to be perfectly docile workers or perfectly obedient soldiers, and a village of children suffering from terrible mutations, cast off by the Huli jing once they proved to be failures.

Along the way Agent Durand enlists the help of criminal doctor and half-rate genetic manipulator Bryan Frey, who suffers from achondroplasia dwarfism. It feels like Suarez is aiming this story directly at Hollywood by casting Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as changed Durand and Peter Dinklage (Elf, Game of Thrones’ Tyrion Lannister) as Frey. Which is a pretty good gambit, but it feels derivative of the movie Twins, where Arnold Schwarzenegger is the result of genetic experimentation and Danny Devito plays his brother. It also feels a bit like Face Off, where John Travolta and Nicolas Cage switch faces and identities.

Like I said, formula.

But it is definitely an easy read for all that, and the possibilities of such genetic engineering are decently explored. The scariest thing about it is that a lot of this stuff is being worked on right now. We’ve had the basic technology for close to 20 years now. It’s only a matter of time before this stuff becomes real.
Profile Image for Brian's Book Blog.
735 reviews55 followers
April 24, 2017
A terrifying look into our future

I really enjoyed Daemon by Daniel Suarez so when I saw that Change Agent was coming out, I had to get it. I pre-ordered it from Audible (something I rarely do) and the day that it arrived I was lucky that I was just about to finish the last book I started.

Change Agent is a story about Kenneth Durand an Interpol agent who is mysteriously changed into someone that he is not. Not just a small change either, but a full change. So much so that he quickly realizes that he is a wanted man and that this will forever change the way that the police will be able to solve crimes.

There are two authors that I read that remind me of Michael Crichton. Douglas E Richards and Daniel Suarez. Suarez is able to weave what is going on today with what he thinks will come in the future and it's terrifying. I work in a technology firm and he's not wrong with what he's thinking. I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of what was written in Change Agent comes true at one time or another.

Durand as a character allowed the reader to follow along with someone as their own opinions of people and things they fought for so long was changing. Kenneth grew many times throughout Change Agent and really became one of the more dynamic characters I've read in a long time.

The overall story was one of the best I've read this year. It kept me wondering throughout and I honestly couldn't put this book down. I kept saying "one more chapter" late into the night. Each chapter brought me closer to the end, but I promise that this book will have a hold on my mind for a while.

A fast-paced technothriller on par with every Crichton novel I've ever read, maybe even a little more terrifying. Suarez took things that are real today and showed us what could happen in the future if we're not careful.
Profile Image for Andy.
1,377 reviews467 followers
July 17, 2018
Enjoyable for Suarez fans, but not as good as his first books. The novum/premise is not scientifically possible. That could still be OK if he just let it go and then spent the book following through on the implausible premise's implications for society. Unfortunately, he has the characters keep telling us over and over how impossible the premise is and then, instead of showing us how it transforms society, the characters keep telling us about how it will change everything some day. Except that it's not that different from gangsters in old movies getting plastic surgery, so I never quite got why it was so mind-blowing.
Profile Image for جادی میرمیرانی.
Author 3 books337 followers
July 17, 2017
Suarez is able to shock you with his bright ideas about the future times and times in this book. If you are into technologoy, if you are interested in security and if you follow hckrnews, this book might be a good choice for you.
Profile Image for Aleshanee.
1,412 reviews98 followers
May 21, 2023
Von Daniel Suarez hatte ich vor längerer Zeit eine ganz tolle Dilogie gelesen: Daemon und Darknet.
Als ich dann "Bios" entdeckt habe, hab ich ein ähnlich spannendes Szenario erwartet. Grade das Thema, mit Genen zu manipulieren ist aktueller als wir es wünschen würden - zumindest gehe ich davon aus.

An sich ist der Forschung im Hinblick auf die Heilung von Krankheiten auch nichts entgegen zu setzen, aber ich frage mich schon immer, inwieweit man sich hier in die Natur des Menschen einmischen sollte und darf.
Der Ansatz, vorhersehbare Krankheiten im embryonalen Stadium mit dieser Technik im voraus zu heilen ist eine großartige Zielsetzung und der Wunsch, Menschen vor Schmerzen und Leiden zu bewahren ein ganz tief verwurzelter Wunsch.

Wie wir Menschen aber nunmal leider meistens sind, fällt es uns schwer aufzuhören. Es gibt immer wieder Personen, die die Möglichkeiten sehen und aufs äußerste treiben, egal welche moralischen Bedenken lauern. Die Profitgier spielt wohl eine große Rolle und vielleicht auch das Gefühl, Gott zu spielen.
An sich ein sehr spannendes Thema, doch leider hat mir die Umsetzung gar nicht gefallen.

Der Anfang hat ganz gut in die Geschichte geführt. Wir befinden uns hier im Jahr 2045 in Singapur, die in dieser Zukunftsvision eine wichtige Metropole darstellt, was technische Visionen auf dem Markt betrifft und weltweit eine hohe Position einnimmt.
Kenneth Durand, der Protagonist, arbeitet bei Interpol und ist dafür zuständig, verbrecherische Gen-Labore aufzuspüren. Durch diese Arbeit gerät er ins Fadenkreuz eines skrupellosen Kriminellen, der sein Leben völlig auf den Kopf stellt! (Hier gibts leider einen Spoiler im Klappentext, der nicht hätte sein müssen und die Überraschung vorweggenommen hat, was mit Kenneth passiert. Ich hab diesen Teil oben rausgelassen)

Das liest sich alles auch sehr flüssig, auch wenn einiges an technischen Details erwähnt wird und ich nicht immer alles verstanden habe. Nach dem ersten Drittel entwickelt sich das ganze aber in eine endlose Wiederholungsschleife und hat mich ein bisschen an die letzten beiden Bände der Robert Langdon Reihe von Dan Brown erinnert: Interessantes Thema am Anfang - ständige Flucht vor Verfolgern - und ein erwartetes Happy End zum Schluss.

Das fand ich wirklich schade, denn die Thematik hätte echt Potenzial gehabt, aber für mich ist es einfach nicht so spannend, jemanden von A nach B, nach C usw zu folgen, ohne große Überraschungen oder dass sich etwas verändert - vor allem da man weiß, worauf das ganze herauslaufen wird.

Die Figur von "Otto" fand ich allerdings sehr interessant. Leider war die Aufklärung über ihn am Ende für mich nicht wirklich schlüssig, bzw. hab ich sie wohl einfach nicht verstanden.

Eine Szene gab es allerdings, die mir wirklich ans Herz gegangen ist. Ein Gespräch zwischen Kenneth und einem Mönch. Ich kann hier natürlich nicht den ganzen Abschnitt zitieren, aber eine Aussage, die den Kern ziemlich trifft:

"... Alle bedingten Phänomene unterliegen der Veränderung: materielle Dinge, Annahmen, Theorien, Wissen. Nichts ist von Dauer, weil alles mit allem verbunden ist. Und wenn sich eines ändert, ändert sich alles andere. Der Wunsch, diese Veränderung aufzuhalten, erzeugt das zweite Daseinsmerkmal - Dukkha. Leiden."
Zitat Seite 457

Wer Actionfilme mag, könnte hier durchaus auf seine Kosten kommen ;)

2.5 Sterne von mir

Rezensiert auf dem Buchblog Weltenwanderer
Profile Image for Enzo.
732 reviews1 follower
May 10, 2017
I am a huge fan of Daniel Suarez. His first two books were exhilarating and he seems to have found his niche. Yes, I'll happily compare him to Crichton. But lets go back to the book.
"Change Agent" deals with genetics and it might be a little overwhelming for most (include me here) but Suarez makes you feel at home even then. The story revolves around Kenneth Durand an agent for Interpol. He deals with Genetic crime in the future and believe me we will need someone policing that even if people think this is only SciFi. Interpol is fighting what seems to look like a losing battle. Genetics in our first world countries has been banned and it has moved to Asia and South America to not only flourish but to create huge economies. Now Silicon Valley is no longer the leader but a struggler vs the genetics in South East Asia. The main culprit of genetic trafficking is the Huli Jing and they are powerful hiding from Interpol and making illegal edits to Embryos and to Food staples. Their leader Marcus Wyckes is a classic evil character.
The Huli Jing decide to go after Interpol and its main investigator Durand. They create a "Change Agent" and modify Durand genetically to be Wyckes. How can Durand first prove he is Durand and how can he survive now that he is the man most wanted in 190 countries. This is a great book filled with lots of action and thrills.
I can easily recommend this book for all SciFi lovers. Action junkies and why not everyone.
Profile Image for Gernot1610.
215 reviews2 followers
July 11, 2022
Gute Unterhaltung mit ein bisschen Science und ein bisschen Fiction
Profile Image for Gendou.
585 reviews264 followers
September 30, 2017
This is an action-packed story that doesn't disappoint with lots of creative fictional uses for biotechnology. If you know Suarez you know the kind of gritty world he likes to create. This one is set in our not-too-distant future. We follow the goody-two-shoes protagonist through an arc where he both literally and figuratively struggles with becoming the bad guy.

I have a small beef with a couple themes in the book. There's a worldwide controversy over humans making germline genetic changes. This is presented with a very silly special pleading argument about how this can have unintended side effects. But what about the unintentional side effects from sexual recombination? That results in more unforeseeable changes both in number of individual changes and overall number of base pairs changed. It's not ridiculous to be concerned about unknown side effects resulting form an human action. But it is irrational to then be less concerned with unknown side effects that happen without any specific human action just because they seem "natural". This idea that nature is always benign is an anti-science myth. It seemed like Suarez was using this special pleading argument from nature to show who were the good guys. This is troubling to me because to me they sounded like the bad guys.

Another theme that troubled me was slavery. In the Change Agent world overt slavery is tolerated. I get that he's trying to build a gritty world but this seemed a step too far and ruined the suspense of disbelief for me.

There was also a couple rather hand-waving magic in what the future genetic technology could accomplish.

54 reviews
May 20, 2017
This book could have been amazing but it is NOT... Its possible I went in with high expectations but I quickly realized my hopes would not be met...

The idea is great, and the last 15% of the book was very good; capturing the essence of Daemon/Freedom. To get to this point is painful though on so many levels...

The world and technology itself feels like a mash up of daemon/kill decision/influx, giving this book a lost identity to start with. The Michael Crichton'esque "data dump" happens early on, but feels so forced that it lacks the emotional punch that his other books had.

The fact that other reviewers claim this book has more character development is shocking.. There is almost no character development in this book... The main character states that he misses his wife and daughter numerous times, but this is stated, never actually proven or felt.. Sure he is fighting to regain his identity, and he takes actions that he never thought he was capable of. But more time is spent having him run from one locale to another rather than building upon the emotional turmoil he must be undergoing. The moments this is described feels tossed in and lackluster. Daemon on the other hand had a slow build-up of how power and money could corrupt an "innocent" party and how far he was willing to go to keep that power. It was well done and proved through the whole book. This book is one long chase scene with short flashes of brilliant ideas that are rushed past too quickly.

I found myself skimming through sections, bored out of my mind, and numerous times wanted to not finish... I was set on rating this book 2 stars, but it did get better including a few scenes that are very memorable near the end. I figured I may have been pretty hard on it, so 3 starts really is all this book deserves...
Profile Image for Ryan.
1,155 reviews150 followers
June 6, 2017
This is a very good book 9/10, exploring issues of genetics, human enhancement, refugees, and transnational crime. Suarez is one of my favorite authors, and this is another good book from him. It wasn't quite up to Daemon/Freedom level for me, but beat Kill Decision, and was far better than Influx.

He really missed out on a chance to make the book great, like the best PK Dick books, when he made explicit the plot twist/ambiguity in the first few chapters, in a fairly artificial introduction of the antagonists detached from the rest of the story. If he had left the ambiguity for the reader until the very end of the book, it would have been a bit more challenging, but a far better book.

The audiobook performance was excellent, and due to the style, probably superior to the written book.
Profile Image for Starfire.
896 reviews27 followers
July 25, 2020
If I had to sum this book up in a sentence, it would be, "I think it's fair to say that Mr Suarez likes his tech."

That's because it took me a LONG time to get into the story or start getting a sense of the main character, Ken Durrand, as a character (as opposed to simply a POV to explore and get to view all the tech of 2045 from). In fact, there was a point - somewhere around 10-15% of the way in - where I wondered if this book would have worked better as a non-fiction essay on where Mr Suarez thinks the future of various types of tech is heading and why.

BUT. I'm happy to say that sense passed eventually, and at some point, I did actually start to feel invested in Durrand's quest to get his own genetic identity back. And along the way, the author did raise some interesting questions about how much of who we are is down to our genetic code. For what it's worth, I think it may be less than this book appears to say it is - there's evidence to show that at least some of our likes and dislikes around food, for example, are tied to our experiential associations with that food.

On the plus side, I think the book got immeasurably better once Dr Bryan Frey came into it. (Apropos of nothing, I have to wonder if he's some kind of homage to Tyrion Lannister - he has all of Tyrion's competence in his field, pragmatism and occasional scathing wit - so combined with the character's dwarfism, it's not a stretch.)

However, the sense of it being a book about exploring tech first and of the characters really just existing in service of exploring that tech never really went away for me.

And there are other elements of the book that didn't quite work for me too. There were some truly horrific graphic scenes I had to pretty much skim read or skip over altogether. It also felt like a bit of a sausage-fest at times: while there were two highly competent female characters in the lineup - Aiyana Marcotte and Bo Win - they got very, very little actual page time between them. I'd have loved more scenes from one or both of their viewpoints.

Overall verdict: while it's probably not something I'd have picked up if it weren't an SF/F book club pick, I'm not sorry I kept going until I finished it. At the same time though, if there's a second instalment (and the final scene with 'Mr Taylor' seems to imply there will be), I don't feel in any kind of hurry to get hold of it and read it.
Profile Image for Steve.
96 reviews5 followers
August 15, 2021

Good start. Entertaining thriller for the first half. True to a lot of sci-fi it had an interesting idea bogged down by poor plotting and pacing. There was a 40-50 page stretch later in the book that was as uninteresting as this book could have possibly been.

Multiple times a character would get "introduced" solely as a plot point. Like their character would the whatever their job was. Oh you're plant geneticist? You're just what I need! You're going to stick with me for a couple chapters and then disappear forever, sound good? Good. That's basically every character except for 2.
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