“Asher is a modern master of sci-fi.” —Starburst magazine
The thrilling saga of Agent Cormac continues as a rogue alien technology begins its devastating spread through the worlds of the Polity. . .
From eight hundred years in the future, a runcible gate is opened into the Polity, allowing a ragged tide of refugees through as they attempt to take the alien “Maker” back to its home civilization. But the gate itself is rapidly shut down and dumped into a nearby sun—something alien is pursuing them.
From the refugees, Agent Ian Cormac learns that the Maker civilization has been destroyed by a virus: the Jain technology. This, of course, raises questions: Why was Dragon, a massive bioconstruct of the Makers, really sent to the Polity? Why did a Jain node suddenly end up in the hands of someone who could do the most damage with it?
And all the while, an entity called the Legate is distributing pernicious Jain nodes . . . and a renegade attack ship, The King of Hearts, has encountered something very nasty outside the Polity itself.
Night Shade Books is proud to reissue Neal Asher’s Agent Cormac series, a fast-moving, edge-of-your-seat science fiction adventure from one of today’s most exciting SF talents.
About the Author
Neal Asher is a science fiction writer whose work has been nominated for both the Philip K. Dick and the British Fantasy Society awards. He has published more than twenty books, many set within his “Polity” universe, including Gridlinked, The Skinner, and Dark Intelligence. He divides his time between Essex and a home in Crete.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This another fantastic addition in the Polity series. I liked the action and the twists of the plot. My only reason for the three stars is due to the numerous misspelled words and incorrectly split words. Also there are absolutely no chapter breaks, and the shifts in plot between characters happen in the next sentence with no breaks. One minute you are reading about one set of characters and then BOOM you are thrown into another set. I am wondering "could I get a job with B and N as a proofreade?
Equally prolific, Asherâ¿¿s new book on the other hand is a cracker. This is the fourth book featuring Ian Cormac, a future super-spy sort of type, working for the mighty Earth Central Artificial Intelligence that controls and shapes events in human space.As with Stross, this is a future where humanity has spread through the stars, Artificial Intelligences benignly work with â¿¿ and effectively administrate â¿¿ humans throughout the Polity, the area of space colonised by humanity, and characters enjoy semi-immortality as they copy, edit and back-up their mental states. Unlike Stross though, Asher remembers that the ideas are only part of what gets people drawn into a book, and he thoughtfully includes a plot that bounds along, full of fairly major action sequences.In previous books, Cormac has gone up against various threats to the Polity, including human terrorists trying to strike against the ruling class of the Polity, an enigmatic alien entity called Dragon and a rogue scientist with access to some particularly nasty alien nanotechnology, all while slowly seeing that the Earth Central AI, and its enigmatic chief agent, a seemingly immortal Japanese man called Horace Blegg who was a boy at Hiroshima, appears to have plans for him.With this book, Asher starts to draw the elements from the three previous books closer together. From the opening chapter, where a group of human refugees from the future flee from a time where aggressive alien nanotech has wiped out entire alien civilisations, through the attack of the same nanotech on a Polity world, and on to the last third of the book, where a rogue Polity AI discovers something truly awful lurking beyond the line of Polity, Asher grabs you and keeps you reeled in. Plots from previous books are looped together, allegiances of old characters shift, and the true nature of the threat facing the Polity becomes apparent.Itâ¿¿s a hell of a lot of fun. When Asher started this series, I was only vaguely convinced â¿¿ he started off with Cormac as a very obvious 007 riff, and I wasnâ¿¿t sure there was going to be anything more to him. Over the following books, heâ¿¿s developed both the plot and the characters well enough that now Iâ¿¿m not only convinced, but Iâ¿¿m eagerly awaiting the next instalment.Like Stross, Asher is not miserly with ideas, and while he puts his own spins on now-familiar hard SF tropes â¿¿ benign all-controlling AIs with sardonic senses of humour, post-Singularity humans, unstable war drones, nanotech â¿¿ he also puts forward plenty of his own ideas. There are some great throwaway ideas here â¿¿ I loved the ecosystem Asher casually describes in passing about two thirds through the book, and his explanation of why the AIs havenâ¿¿t truly reached a Singularity point is great.The book is complete in itself, but itâ¿¿s going to make a lot more sense if youâ¿¿ve read the first three books before this one. If you have read and enjoyed those, Iâ¿¿ll be very surprised if you donâ¿¿t love this one and â¿¿ ending as it does with a very Empire Strikes Back like feel â¿¿ end up keenly anticipating the inevitable fifth book in the sequence.