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Biased and superficial Science Fiction reviews


Copyright 2001 by Neal Asher

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SOJALS rating:     
one SOJALS point one SOJALS point one SOJALS point one SOJALS point no SOJALS point    Very good (4/5)

I first read this on the 24th January 2003 and most recently on the 19th July 2003

On the planet Cheyne III Separatist terrorists are fighting against the rule of Polity, the benevolent interstellar government. These separatists are well financed, well armed and particularly vicious. Arian Pelter and his sister Angeline lead the rebels, and John Stanton, a experienced mercenary provides professional support.

Ian Cormac is a top agent of Earth Central Security, He has infiltrating the Separatist network on this planet. Now he commences its break-up, beginning with the murder of Pelter's sister.

However, he has to cut short the wrapping up of this case due to an urgent order to travel through the runcible stargate to Samarkand. His mission is to investigate the shocking murder of that world's entire population. This very rapidly leads him to an unwanted, and very violent, association with the Dragon, a ancient, giant and immensely powerful alien.

Meanwhile, Adrian Pelter has not forgiven Cormac's murder of his sister. The terrorist leader, injured and deranged, is now pursuing Cormac with vengeance in his heart and murder in his eye.

Neal Asher's second novel "THE SKINNER" won the SF Reviews Best Book of 2002 award. I was expecting great things from "GRIDLINKED", his first novel, and read this book at the beginning of 2003 with some degree of excitement. I enjoyed the book, but felt it was weaker than "THE SKINNER". I inexcusably failed to put the review together at that time. Forcing myself to reread the book a mere six months later, I found I enjoyed it rather more. Now I am no longer certain that "THE SKINNER" is better. "GRIDLINKED" is on its way to becoming a favourite book, the sort of book you reread time and again, so familiar with the story that you know precisely what will happen next and knowing you are going to get just as excited as every time before.

It's great. Neal Asher has packed this book full of drama, humour and excitement. There's violence, torture, robots ripped apart, bodies mutilated, merciless mercenaries, big guns, space battles, anti-matter explosions and monstrous aliens, super-strong androids and super-smart AIs. There is a four-hundred-year old Japanese dude. There is a sexy space pilotess and her bad boy lover, tough as nails but good as gold inside, of course. There are even gigantic alien pseudopodia trying to claw a spaceship out of the sky And above all this is ice-cold Ian Cormac, straitlaced and straightfaced hero par excellence. He is going up against some really evil monsters. He's no longer augmented; he's been stripped of his direct neural link to the interstellar computer grid. He's down to his own brain; his own two hands and feet. Plus, of course, he's got the full support of Earth Central, top troops and some very heavy weaponry to back him up.

Now at last I can read "LINE OF POLITY".

Loaded on the 1st August 2003.
Cover of Gridlinked
Cover art by Steve Rawlings and Debut Art

Reviews of other works by Neal Asher:
The Skinner
Polity Agent
Prador Moon
The Departure
The Soldier

Reviews of other works with covers by Steve Rawlings:
Angel Stations
Polity Agent

Reviews of other works with covers by Steve Rawlings and Debut Art:
The Skinner