First things first, I love the cover of this book. It's got pixelated drawings of people like you'd find in games on Atari ST and Amiga's in the early 90's. Brings back fun memories.
Anyway, onto the story, it all begins with a robbery from within an online game. We follow a policewoman as she works with a game programmer to understand what's happened and why it really means anything. It means a lot when people start getting killed over it. The story twists and turns and reveals an innovative vision of the future. Scotland is an independent country, though it shares some of it's police computer system with England still. Online gamers play games in the real world unwittingly doing tasks for the government and children still go to school. That last bit is to let you know that as outlandish and creative as some Charles Stross books have been, this one is set in a believable near future. A great read, Rootie Rating 5 out of 5