Lexicon - Max Barry Lexicon is, at it's heart, a story about neurolinguistic programming and what happens when a group of people not only have access to its power, but keep it a secret from the rest of the human race. It's clever, weaving in recent politics and societal trends into the framework of conspiracy, and painting a Darwinian picture of the nature of such a society within society.

The neurolinguistic aspects of the story hark back to Neal Stephenson's brilliant Snow Crash, but this is a very different beast. Absent the futuristic dystopia, any reference to a cyberpunk like "cyberspace", this is a novel set very much in "contemporary" times with contemporary technology.

Absent too is much of the wry humour of Stephenson's Snow Crash, making this a much darker and far more brutal novel than the former.

That said, it is a thought provoking page-turner that grabs the reader with the initial questions and doesn't let go, dragging us through an adrenaline filled present interspaced with chapters of a fascinating past, and challenging us to guess how we got here from there - until all threads are tidily, and satisfactorily, resolved in the climax and denouement.

There is great tragedy in what is in some ways an epic, blood-stained love story, contrasted against another, very sad one.

In short, brilliant. Read it.