The Ghost Network: Activate by Gillian Philip, with series creator Aleksi Delikouras
Despite coming from different ends of the world, John, Slack, Akane and Salome, aged 13, have plenty in common. They share an extraordinary level of intelligence. They love computers. Coding, hacking, gaming – it flows through their veins. Literally. One more thing: they’re all technically dead. John has recently moved to Alaska with his family after the mysterious disappearance of his father, world-famous surgeon Mikael Laine. He seeks solace in his online friendship with Akane, an adrenaline junkie who lives with her long-suffering grandmother Obasan and parents in Tokyo. Together with Slack, the group goof around online with minor online hacks. Once day, however, a practical joke goes wrong and John and Slack are sent to the Wolf’s Den, a top-secret school for technological excellence based on the westernmost tip of Alaska. There they meet Salome, and initially flourish among the technological geniuses they compete against on a daily basis. But when a virus infects the center’s hardware and causes chaos, the group starts to suspect something strange is going on. John overhears a conversation about a mysterious venture known only as Project 31. He soon realizes that the group are the subjects of this mysterious project – and they are being hunted. While John, Slack and Salome are planning their escape from the Center, Akane discovers documents revealing that all of them would in fact be dead if it weren’t for John’s father. He saved them all as young children by implanting Artificial Intelligence in their bloodstream. Slowly but surely, the group realize their would-be guru at the Wolf’s Den, Roy Lykos, brought them to the center and seeks to benefit from them. Military personnel arrive on the island and Salome hijacks a helicopter to enable an escape across the brutal Alaskan tundra. After a dramatic journey, the group unites with Akane on the mainland before a bombshell arrives. Mikael makes contact with John to tell them he is still alive – only to vanish again with just a final cry for help lingering in the air.As the series continues, the group’s newfound role takes them all over the world in a white-knuckle adventure series where they take down wrongdoers in the Dark web and beyond. All the while they need to avoid detection from their own enemies, search for John’s dad and find out if there are more kids like them in other tech schools across the globe.
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