cover image The Warehouse

The Warehouse

Rob Hart. Crown, $27 (368p) ISBN 978-1-9848-2379-3

What if the totalitarian regime controlling people’s lives was a mega-corporation rather than a fascist government? That’s the conceit of this intelligent Orwellian thriller by Hart (the Ash McKenna series), who imagines an all-too-plausible near-future in which an Amazon-on-steroids company called Cloud dominates retail sales and the labor market. The story is told from three perspectives: multibillionaire Gibson Wells, the founder of Cloud; Paxton, a newly hired security employee at a MotherCloud facility, where he also lives; and Zinnia, a shipping worker and resident of the same facility. Wells, who’s dying of cancer, presents Cloud’s history, which includes taking over the FAA from the federal government to help expedite Cloud’s drone deliveries. Paxton, whose business was bankrupted by Cloud’s monopolistic practices, hopes for a meaningful relationship with Zinnia, who’s actually on a corporate espionage assignment for an unidentified employer and looks to use Paxton to further her mission. Hart’s detail-oriented worldbuilding, which credibly extrapolates from the Trump administration’s antiregulatory agenda, makes this cautionary tale memorable and powerful. This promises to be Hart’s breakout book. Agent: Josh Getzler, HSG Agency. (Aug.)