About The Siege

The Siege by Mark Alpert

Several peaceful months have passed since the Pioneers’ last battle against Sigma, the artificial-intelligence program that’s determined to exterminate the human race. But in The Siege, the second Young Adult novel in the Adam Armstrong series, Adam and his fellow Pioneers know the war against the AI isn’t over.

In The Six, the first book in the series, the U.S. Army created the Pioneers. It recruited six terminally ill teenagers and gave them a chance to outlive their dying bodies by converting their minds to software. Using a procedure invented by Adam’s father, the Army scanned their brains and transferred all their memories, emotions and personalities to combat-ready robots. The human-machine hybrids -- Adam, Jenny, Zia, Shannon, Marshall and DeShawn -- were designed to fight Sigma, which had escaped from a computer-science laboratory and taken over a nuclear missile base. The Pioneers won that battle, but their victory came at a terrible cost, and Sigma escaped again into the tangled wires of the Internet.

As The Siege begins, the Pioneers are trying to locate Sigma, which is apparently building a mechanical army for its next attack. The team flies in a Stealth bomber to North Korea, where Adam and his girlfriend Shannon transfer their minds to snakelike robots equipped to spy on Sigma’s automated factories. The Pioneers are ambushed and nearly destroyed, but for Adam the bigger blow comes after they return to their new headquarters in New Mexico. Shannon tells Adam that she doesn’t want to be his girlfriend anymore. The breakup devastates him, because his relationship with Shannon was one of the few things that reminded him of being human.

Then Sigma launches its attack, and the AI’s first target is Yorktown Heights, New York -- Adam’s hometown. The sickening casualties scorch Adam’s circuits. What makes it even worse, though, is the revelation that Sigma built its weapons using the Pioneers’ own designs. Someone on the team is sharing engineering plans with the AI. Adam realizes with horror that one of his friends is a traitor. And as suspicion corrodes the Pioneers from within, Sigma seeks to grasp the ultimate prize from Adam, a hidden power that’s linked to the mightiest forces in the universe.

The Siege is a thrilling work of speculative fiction that explores the consequences of ever-accelerating technological progress. For more information about the real science and technologies described in the novel, go to The Science Behind The Siege.