1997 Locus Award Nominee
City of Golden Shadow is the first in the four book series Otherland and is followed by River of Blue Fire, Mountain of Black Glass, and Sea of Silver Light.
The story takes place in the near future where the internet has expanded to the point it has literally become Virtual Reality. But even with the major advances in technology, humanity still has to deal with Real Life poverty, disease, food shortages, war, and now more than ever, corporate domination. When children all over the world begin fall into comas for no reason that can be determined, a small group of people start to investigate any and all possibilities that may help their loved ones. But, when it is discovered the children's illnesses are connected to Net usage, things become even more complicated as it is slowly revealed that a society called The Grail Brotherhood may be behind it all. And they are willing to do anything, to kill or even worse, to keep their plans secret.
The book follows several different people and story lines throughout that are more or less brought together by the end. Of course, since it is the first of four books, the reader is still left hanging with more questions than answers. It is quite lengthy, but I think ultimately worth it for the great story and concepts that allow the author to really let his imagination loose and bring the reader along for the ride.