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Zero Day Code

End of Days, Book 1
Narrated by: Rupert Degas
Series: End of Days, Book 1
Length: 12 hrs and 32 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (418 ratings)

Non-member price: $29.95

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Publisher's Summary

Every modern city has one week’s worth of food to feed itself. Then it will collapse. 

Cut off the resources to New York, Sydney, or even a mid-size metropolis, and millions will soon starve. In Zero Day Code we see those immense and open, hyper-complex, networked supercities of the new millennium die. And in the last moments we see their vengeance take form as all the best and worst traits of humanity bubble to the surface. 

Zero Day Code is set in a realistic near future with dwindling global food supplies under increasing pressure from worsening droughts, floods and extreme weather events. Written by prolific Australian writer John Birmingham, the thriller follows a handful of survivors from the first day of society’s descent into violent, uncertain futures. 

James, a consultant to the US National Security Council, is the first to suspect that the worldwide emergence of a crippling computer virus is actually a cover for something else - a devastating cyber-attack by China on the food distribution system of the United States. The attack is a bid for the Middle Kingdom to distract America as it seizes the food bowl of South East Asia and feeds its starving population. But Beijing has miscalculated.

Follow the missions of an embittered activist chasing salvation, a single mum rescuing her child from a frantic San Francisco and an army veteran who has long retreated from society, as the world they knew crumbles around them.  

Please note: this audiobook contains mature content and listener discretion is advised.

©2019 Audible Australia Pty Ltd. (P)2019 Audible Australia Pty Ltd.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Nobody can destroy the world like John Birmingham

John Birmingham keeps finding new and interesting ways to destroy the world, and lemme tell you, he’s really refining his technique. In Zero Day Code the world ends with a shudder, and no one realises... until it’s too late.

JB gives us an array of cleverly drawn but all too human heroes and villains in this great opening story to a longer saga of the world ending, but humanity having to survive the fall. Don’t hesitate, download this now!

14 people found this helpful

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Birmingham does it again

Another one knocked out of the park. I don't know what John Birmingham has against humanity, but he revels in destroying the world. And with this book, his latest effort, he delivers global mayhem and societal collapse through the eyes of the people caught up in the middle of it, and he does it with a real emotional punch. He's created characters that are believable and sympathetic - one of Birmingham's strengths.

With Zero Day Code Birmingham presents an idea that's both outrageous and entirely plausible. Frightening actually. He pulls at the loose threads of the fabric of our civilisation and, with a gentle tug, reveals how fragile it really is.

And Rupert Degas does an amazing job as the narrator - his Aussie accent is brilliant, cuss words and all. He brings this story to life. So much so I sat still for the whole 12 hours while I listened. Loved it.

Looking forward to the next in the series.

11 people found this helpful

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Still thinking about it two days later

Without doubt some of the best work from JB to date. The characters are (as usual) colourful without being caricatures. The technical aspects are (again, as usual) well researched and so well written that you dont even notice them. No CSI style exposition here, folks.

Dialogue feels natural and is genuinely engaging, even during the "slow" set pieces. The pacing is absolutely superb, with a ratcheting tension that begins immediately and refuses to let up for the whole journey.

The most impressive thing about ZDC, however, is the effortless way in which JB weaves his trademark wit into what is a genuinely chilling story.

All up, an absolute banger of a read.

4 people found this helpful

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Feels all too plausible...

Another fantastic bit of world building (and destroying) from JB. He does his usual great job of introducing a compelling group of characters to provide different viewpoints on the unfolding drama, as well as to make the events intimate and personal. This makes the cascading failures feel all too real, as you can easily put yourself in the characters' place.

The narration quickly becomes very immersive, making you feel part of the world that JB has created. Very easy to listen to, and nice differentiation between the different voices of each character.

Really looking forward to seeing how this plays out over future books. Feels like an epic in the making.

2 people found this helpful

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An apocalypse just around the corner

I've been a John Birmingham fan for a long time. He's always thoroughly entertaining and with Zero Day Code he's raised the bar again. As the reviews roll in for this one, I'm guessing the word we'll see repeated a lot will be 'plausible'. The ideas and overall plot put forward just feels very real and like something that could happen today, right now.

Nothing that Birmingham lays out in this tale of the world in crisis feels in any way like it couldn't take place exactly as he describes it. There are no zombies, aliens or asteroids throwing the world into chaos, just the very real threat of what could happen when people get desperate and use our own technology against us.

Global threats aside, I also can't recall any novel I've ever read, or movie for that matter, that is so well hooked in to the way we communicate and consume information in the digital age. I'm not just talking Facebook and Twitter here, every mention of a social media platform or cloud based app or tool, no matter how obscure, has had me thinking John must have had big brother style cameras and snooping software watching my house and devices for the past few years.

What holds this story together though is the characters. John has always been great at giving you characters that you feel for and believe in, and with Zero Day Code he's raised the bar there as well. I can't help feeling these guys and girls will be sticking with me for a long time to come, like all great novel characters should. They all feel like real people I know, the good and the bad.

That predominantly comes down to Birmingham's storytelling skills, but Rupert Degas also does a fantastic job at not only narrating this story, but also giving every character, large or small, their own unique voice. Literally. That's quite as feat.

I can't wait for the next book in this series. I want to know what happens next for each and every one of these people and the wider world around them.

2 people found this helpful

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Tense and Believable

Great characters who, with one exception, you're generally rooting for.


It's horrifying in how you could see this really happening.


Well worth a read

1 person found this helpful

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This is a good book

Read this book. It is a good book.
I endorse this book to any and all

1 person found this helpful

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Riveting - could not put it down

What a great modern political thriller reminescent of the original Tom Clancy novels - including a tongue in cheek acknowledgement as such. Very hard to put down and featuring great narration.

I will have to read more of John Birmingham now - his writing has changed a lot since 'falafel'....

Thank you so very much for this novel, it is like a breath of fresh air. This was a seriously good read and I really want more. Oh please can we have some more.

I shall now start John Birmingham's Axis of Time series.....

1 person found this helpful

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John Birmingham leaves us wanting more

Rupert Degas's performance was brilliant; I thoroughly enjoyed the narrative and character acting throughout, with many a wince & not a few laughs at situations portrayed almost flawlessly in a very listenable voice.

And I can't forget John Birmingham's writing, obviously; a very plausible premise presented in a well fleshed out tale which is only just beginning. Romance, weapons, sex, drama, violence & of course, explosions, are all just parts of the palette John employs to paint the narrative. And A Very Good Dog.

Do yourself a favour, grab John Birmingham's Audible Original Audiobook 'Zero Day Code', today, before the world comes to an end.

1 person found this helpful

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JB Is My Master Now

You like Post-apocolyptic Science-fiction? You've come to the right place. I'm stoked that this has launched, and as an Audible Original no less.

Birmingham has some serious form for setting up an all-too-believable world and then burning it all down around us as we realise that while everything initially looked peachy-keen, everything we know has suddenly gone to hell in a hand basket and we're spectators along for the ride.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Oldy
  • 10-07-2019

Magnificent double-threat.

Full disclosure: I read the first draft chapter by chapter on JB's Patreon page. You should consider doing the same, it's absolutely worth every cent.

I grabbed this book on audible as soon as it came out. I've found audiobooks to be a mixed bag in the past, some have been fantastic, others not so. Much of this has to do with the voice talent, and Rupert Degas is wonderful. He commits to the material and performs it more than reads it - and his pronunciation is excellent, something that can take you out of the story if they get it wrong. The only problem is that Rupert now has to come over to my place and read every JB book to me from now on.

If you're a Birmo fan, then this is all the best things you love about Axis of Time, The Disappearance and Dave and the Monsters rolled into one. Great characters, tight, well-researched plot, a sprawling picture of the end of the world, told in vignettes all over the world, and in the main story through the eyes of eight or so expertly-drawn POV characters.

The story itself is a creeping horror, a slow-dawning and inevitable ending to everything we know - and it's relevant to today, right now. There are places in the world already experiencing the beginnings of this, and the despairing adult in me knows it's too late to turn away from the course we've set.

As always, the dialogue is brilliant. Even knowing what was coming I still laughed out loud at parts even funnier in the telling than the reading. Given the plot it's weird to laugh at parts, but man they're funny. And Damian "Damo" Moloney has to be the funniest character I've ever read, boisterously moreso when played by Rupert Degas.

I can't think of a better advertisement for Audible itself than this excellent book.

16 people found this helpful

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  • Phoenician
  • 27-10-2019

Entertaining World War 3 Novel

This isn't a post-apocalyptic novel, like with aliens or zombies. It's a World War 3 thriller seen from the various third person perspectives of several people from different walks of life - a wanna-be podcaster, a chef, a Dollar General cashier, a NSA analyst, others -- surrounding a cyber attack and the subsequent events that domino after it. It was very well done and the narrator did a terrific job voicing each character in a distinctive manner. This was one of the better audiobooks I've used a credit on this year.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Elizabeth Crawford
  • 27-07-2019

No equal in apocalyptic tales.

Birmingham has masterfully authored a riveting, paranoia-inducing narrative that follows current events to a sobering, logical conclusion. The events that unfold may be only as far away as the next news broadcast. I absolutely loved the breadth of characters and the attention to detail that brought each to life. An absolutely brilliant story.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Thomas
  • 18-07-2019

Rollicking good fun!

Birmo can always be relied upon for an interesting, laugh out loud, action packed read. Rupert Degas has been able to elevate the whole shebang into something you won’t want to take out of your ears. The man has a million voices and you’ll forget it’s one person telling the story. Well worth a listen!

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • lynnkoliver
  • 12-11-2019

Truly engaging audio book that held my attention.

Truly an engaging audio book. Great story explaining a collapse scenario. Great narration for a truly gifted author. Can't wait for the next installment.

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • christopher johnson
  • 10-10-2019

Good and plausible end of civilization plot unlike some others.

The book use of government sponsored cyber attack and its setup was plausible and not over the top.

If you can get past the author’s bias that conservatives in America must be racist , stupid , sinister, gullible, and/or all of the above , it’s a good end of the society story.

8 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • D. Lalande
  • 30-07-2019

A good start.

Cool characters. I look forward to a continuation of story in the next book. At least I hope there is another book.

2 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 30-07-2019

If Bernie Sanders’ wrote about the apocalypse...

Global warming, overpopulation and food shortages with out of control ICE agents as the bad guys attacking innocent lesbians. Not my cup of tea. He is a talented writer but his politics tend to seep into his stories.

24 people found this helpful

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  • Kevin
  • 27-12-2019

Sleeper Hit

Bought it because it was cheap, thinking it would serve as good background entertainment during a long holiday drive. Immediately realized how wrong I was. Amazing writing, realistic and likeable characters, natural dialogue, and meticulous research from John Birmingham, all delivered by Rupert Degas, who is nothing short of a prodigy, not only keeping the dialogue conversational and natural, but moves through a wide array of characters of different genders, nationalities, and regional backgrounds without a trace of difficulty. He is clearly the John Birmingham of narrators. Would not only recommend, but encourage anyone with an audible subscription get this book, especially now, with the price so reasonable.

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  • Sean Dustman
  • 21-12-2019

Spooky realistic apocalypse novel

I'm a fan of end of the world fiction and this plays as something that could happen tomorrow. I stayed up late and woke later dreaming about it. Government, if you're watching, this is what you should be guarding against, we as the human race is moving towards a society that is dependent on cyberspace and what happens when that is used to attack us? This novel is a logical look at what happens and it does it well, I will be thinking about it for years to come.

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  • Mark Regan
  • 09-07-2019

I am not even 1/4 through and...

I CANT GET ENOUGH.

the performance is heavyweight, as good as the story. It is like the story, writing and performance was specifically for me.

Smart, modern and entertaining AF!

Where has the performer and author been all me life, why am I only discovering them now? Nevermind, I'll seek answers once I'm done with this and everything these chaps have ever done.

Edit: I finished it, couldn't put this book down, everything I said I sand by and I really hope we get more.

15 people found this helpful

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  • Mikey D.
  • 14-08-2019

Amazing story that just kinda stops

Some really great characters, realistic plot and great atmosphere which is ruined when the author just kinda stops writing when it starts getting really good. I felt a bit cheated to be honest.

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • J. James
  • 20-07-2019

Half of a great book...

I really enjoyed this. However I felt cheated at the end, because this book came to an abrupt end just when everything is just kicking off. It’s not a cliffhanger, it really is more like getting half way a through book to the point that you’ve been introduced to the world and the characters in it, then discovering the rest of the pages are blank.

The cynic in me might think that this is just in order to make you pay for the next book... let’s just hope it gets published otherwise I’ll never know what happened next!

Good performance from the narrator but marked down for stupid telephone voice sound effects. I really hate it when audiobook producers feel the need to chip in with either music or silly effects. That sort of thing always brings me back to reality.

All of that said I’ll be buying the next one as the story is engaging (and after all I need to know what actually happens...)

5 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-09-2019

Excellent

One of the best I’ve listened too on audible. Story and narration are first class

1 person found this helpful

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  • A. Mitchell
  • 17-08-2019

Exciting book

Really enjoyed the multiple story lines. Hopefully there's a sequel as I'd like to know what happened to the characters - they were interesting and felt I knew them!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Andy Williams
  • 07-08-2019

You B*******ards One of the most gripping stories

How can i put this. I can't remember the last time i listened to a story all day for 2 days on the trot. Absolutely stunning.

The narration is off the charts, totally believable men and women all different and separate.

BE WARNED this is only half the story, it stops dead, "Audible hopes you have enjoyed this performance" Wha...? Oh come on, really, yep end of story.

You will not regret this purchase.

3 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • rustyb
  • 01-08-2019

Very good, deserves a follow up

very good, maybe a little slow, improved throughput the story. Certainly deserves a follow up.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Suetpud
  • 24-07-2019

A chilling tale, very much of our times.

Different to the other John Birmingham's I've read but equally riveting. A little too much modern-speak at the start but I guess that was to place it firmly in the now. I liked the author's way of conveying a microcosm of what was unfolding through the eyes of a few, very different, characters and I didn't want that to stop when it did. No prizes for guessing the madman who wreaks revenge at the end. A little too close to our darkest fears perhaps!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Traveller49
  • 18-01-2020

Interesting storyline, but....

Interesting storyline, but a little bit choppy, with a few too many deviations from the main characters. I thoroughly enjoyed Zero Day Code though and look forward to the next instalment.

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  • AReader
  • 15-01-2020

Slow moving, unoriginal, pleasant enough

A very slow leadup to some of the usual zombie antics. The characters are quite cardboard, and the former London policewoman has an accent which sounds not exactly wrong, just somehow inappropriate to me - and I'm a Londoner. Maybe people of her supposed age don't sound like that any more? But quite a pleasant story to have going in the background while doing something else.