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Zero Day Code

Narrated by: Rupert Degas
Length: 12 hrs and 32 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (108 ratings)

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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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  • Overall
    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!

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

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.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Tony N
  • Melbourne Australia
  • 07-07-2019

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 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Slow burn 'splodey

I've been a big fan of JB's for many years now having worked my way nearly completely through his back catalog over the last few years.

Zero Day Code I think is definitely up there with his best. It doesn't jump in boots & all like maybe some of his other work, instead doing more of a slow burn to establish and build a creeping sense of dread that things are going to not go so well for humanity The interludes scattered through the story to introduce varied different story lines helps build that sense that things are right royally ... messed up and some hero of the day isn't going to be able to simply step up & set things right (cue applause and happy ending). The extremely plausible nature of the catastrophes/triggers make Zero Day Code that much more terrifying.

As a Patreon supporter of JB's I got an early read of this while he was working on it - so I already knew the story and had already read what was coming, but the performance by Rupert definitely helped build the story. I think that this was the first Audible title I basically didn't stop listening to once I started it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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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 of 1 people found this review 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 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Hawk
  • Newcastle
  • 08-07-2019

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 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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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 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

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.

1 of 1 people found this review 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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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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!

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 15-07-2019

Another great story from John Birmingham.

Loved the narration... Good voice.
If you are not familiar with this author and like a good 'end of civilisation' story, this is a well written one. No zombies 😁
Hopefully there is more to come soon.

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  • Abby
  • 12-07-2019

Everyone sounds like they are trying out for FARGO

I love the story and can't wait for the next book. I'm a big fan of stories that focus on the beginning of an apocalypse, present a realistic story, and are smart about current affairs. This book is all of that.

But the next book in this series deserves a better narrator who can perform both men and women, Most of the American characters sound like they are trying out for a remake of the movie Fargo, If the characters were from that area of the US, it would be fine. But the accent doesn't fit characters from Washington, California, or even Montana.

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  • Vallon Davis
  • 07-07-2019

A Chilling Story

Great story, interesting characters. Please let there be a sequal or two to thia story.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Michael E. Murray
  • 06-07-2019

Excellent

Maybe his best so far. All too plausible plot, and well developed characters. As with the rest of his series, I cannot wait for the next one.

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  • conemaugh
  • 05-07-2019

The audio is amazing. The story, too.

I couldn't quit listening to this! Both the story and the narration are top notch- worthy of a listen anytime. Zero Day Code is a scary exploration of our world's vulnerability; give it a listen and some thought. Birmingham has done his bit in terms of world creation; Degas has brought it to life. Worth every cent. A perfect companion on long road trips. If you're considering purchasing this, don't dither. Hit the "buy" button. You won't regret it.

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  • David
  • 05-07-2019

great book, good performance what happens next????

Please tell me the next in the series is in the pipeline. I need to know what happens next.

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  • Howard Wetsman MD
  • 04-07-2019

As good as I thought it would be.

I love John Birmingham stories, and he did not disappoint. In fact there’s only one problem. I listen to audio books when I’m on my way from one place to another. This book has ruined my schedule. I keep walking around the block instead of walking straight in when I get somewhere because I can’t turn it off. I hope this is the start is a new series because I want more!

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  • Edward J. Chadderton
  • 04-07-2019

Bang up job!

Waited patiently for this to drop! almost finished and can't wait to hit play to move to the next chapter.

For me it is a new and different take on the end of civilization... but a rich cast of characters to surf that wave with, like a summer blockbuster or a roller coaster - just enjoying this well crafted ride!

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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.

13 of 17 people found this review 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...)

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 23-07-2019

Good story

very good, enjoyable and will look to see if a next one is available yet.

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  • Jon H.
  • 22-07-2019

left wanting more!

A great story, I just wish it didn't end where I did. really hoping there is going to be a second book so the story can continue!

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  • Carolina
  • 19-07-2019

Recommended

One of the best I have read in the genre in a really long time. I'm REALLY hoping for a sequel.

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  • Patricia
  • 18-07-2019

A good read

I havnt read any other of John's books bit I enjoyed this. The ending didnt wuite work for me but its a good solid tale with tonnes of research, good characters and lots of suspense

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  • Anonymous User
  • 16-07-2019

Awful

Having listened to roughly 20 books so far this year, I can honestly say this was my worst purchase to date. After an hour I had to turn it off.
The narration is painful - the accents are comical at best.
I was on a roll for a while - book after book.
This has me taking a break for a while.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful