The main protagonist was a genius game designer / CEO of a computer game company, who knew where the minable resources in the game were, because he was the one who created the very realistic geology of the game world. Since the in-game ores / currency became quite valuable in real money he was under attack / taken hostage or something in that vein. He had to hide for a while and later tried to get back to his estate to claim his company back.

I remember there was a big finale where he traveled over some mountain range to get back to his estate (he lived close to the Canadian border, I think), but he was finally ambushed in a valley a few miles from there. He knew a shepherd or local farmer of sorts in the area and also had a young girl in tow if I remember correctly. So, when the gunmen finally came for him (which he expected and therefore was prepared somewhat), he took them out with the help of said farmer, despite one of the baddies using grenades or a missile launcher or something similar at the very end.

I also vaguely remember another scene -- if I'm not mixing this up with a completely different story -- where he put his car in a parking garage. This car / security system had a peculiar name and was described in some detail: it warned everyone who even came near it with a booming voice, threatening severe countermeasures if anyone so much as looked at it a few milliseconds too long, resulting in a wide area around it ending up free of other cars when the owner finally came back...

There's not much more in my (admittedly foggy) recollection of this story.

  • You could improve this question by going through the checklists here and editing in any relevant info you can think to add.
    – Valorum
    May 16 at 21:44

1 Answer 1


Based on the middle paragraph alone this is almost certainly Neal Stephenson's Reamde (2011).

The protagonist, Richard Forthrast, spent the tail end of the Vietnam war as a draft dodger smuggling drugs from Canada to the family ranch in Idaho over a little-known mountain pass. It becomes important in the final act as some terrorists try to force him to use it to help them sneak into the U.S. The "young girl," Richard's adoptive niece Zula, isn't that young; she's in her mid 20s, but she's dragged along by the terrorists as a hostage when she accidentally discovers their plot. (The terrorists don't really plan very well on the trail ending in a very heavily armed community...)

Forthrast is rich because of an MMORPG called "T'Rain" that he partially wrote. His part of the plot initially kicks of with a Chinese virus that infects computers running T'Rain (clients and servers), payment for which is required to be dropped at a specific place in-game. This may be where your memory of riches in the game comes from; there is an immense pile of ransom loot piled up, and two factions of players fight each other and the ransomware crew to retrieve it. I don't remember Richard being a geologist, but Zula definitely was.

  • There is another character who is the geologist who created the geological model for the game, i agree that this is Reamde
    – Andrew
    May 16 at 22:29
  • 2
    The geologist who designed T'Rain is "Pluto" Olszewski. Zula is another geologist.
    – Andrew
    May 16 at 23:46
  • 1
    Thanks, I vaguely remember having read this. Will have another go at it soon :)
    – WookBorm
    May 17 at 0:48
  • 4
    @WookBorm Please merge your accounts so you can accept the answer.
    – Null
    May 17 at 2:54
  • 7
    The last paragraph is describing the Cerberus car alarm, featured briefly in Cryptonomicon: another Stephenson novel.
    – ryanm
    May 17 at 9:15

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