This will make a wonderful movie, I'll get that out of the way right now. Spielberg will make a fantastic job of this (at times) truely horrifying material.
At some point in the near future - a future where humans heavily rely on robots and computers, one human succeeds in creating a powerful AI engine (on the 14th attempt). This creation bears the name Archos and he's not happy that his previous incarnations were so easily destroyed. He's not happy at all. So at a certain point (after biding his time and laying the groundwork) he assumes control of all computerised and robotic systems. From smart cars to mobile phones, shutting off electricity and making planes drop out of the sky, his one aim is to wipe humanity out. How do you fight that? How do you survive that?
There were warning signals, but they were written off as glitches. Then it's too late, elevators with minds of their own, cars that run people over, robots designed to protect that decide to kill.
My problem with this book? From the very start you know how the war ends, the book basically then tells you how it all happened, it just doesn't go into enough depth. This is told from a number of different perspectives, recorded by robots/CCTV and recorded in a kind of "Hero File" which is then documented by a surviving soldier. Archos recorded it's own history/evolution/downfall, whether it was the chaos of Zero Hour or the destruction of the BT tower by a teenage hacker. It could have gone into a lot more depth - it was a movie treatment, but it could have been so much more.
Another issue I have is the huge holes in the story - eg. how the humanoid robots suddenly become "aware" by one robot singing ("I also know the secret of awakening" - where the hell did that come from, the last time you were online honey you tried to strangle the old man you lived with).
I also wanted to know what happened to some of the characters - like Nolan, Dawn, Marcus, Lonnie Wayne and Paul. A lot of things felt unresolved.
Don't get me wrong there are some great ideas and haunting images, like little Mathilda who looses her eyes in a robot labour camp, but gains the ability to see inside the machines and tap into their communication. The moment when her mother rescues her children really got to me. The idea that Archos evolved his machines as he learned more about humans/whoever he was up against was very clever. Some of those little buggers were nasty.
It does set things up for a follow up though, did Archos survive? Where could the author possibly go with it?