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Cowl
 
 

Cowl [Kindle Edition]

Neal Asher
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £9.99
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Product Description

Product Description

In the far future, the Heliothane Dominion is triumphant in the solar system, after a bitter war with their Umbrathane progenitors. But some of the enemy have escaped into the past, intent on wreaking havoc across time. The worst of these is Cowl, an artificially forced advance in human evolution but one who is no longer human. Polly, desperate to obtain funds to support her habits, is unprepared for her involvement with Nandru Jurgens, a Taskforce soldier, and the killers pursuing him. Nor can she resist the the alien 'tor' which she feels impelled to attach to her arm. But she must learn fast, as she is dragged back through time, not least that to the denizens of some earlier eras, she is little more than a convenience food. Initially, the fragment of tor imbedded in Tack's wrist sums up his value to the Heliothane - a point brought home to him with bloody abruptness. But, as a vat-grown programmable killer employed by U-gov, he is no stranger to violence. His long journey into the lethal world of the Heliothane is only beginning, the extent of his mission just becoming apparent. Meanwhile, hunting throughout time and the alternates, Cowl's pet, the tor beast, grows vast and dangerous. And the beast continues to feed.

Book Description

In the far future, the Heliothane Dominion is triumphant in the solar system, after a bitter war with their Umbrathane progenitors. But some of the enemy have escaped into the past, intent on wreaking havoc across time. The worst of these is Cowl, an artificially forced advance in human evolution but one who is no longer human. Polly, desperate to obtain funds to support her habits, is unprepared for her involvement with Nandru Jurgens, a Taskforce soldier, and the killers pursuing him. Nor can she resist the the alien 'tor' which she feels impelled to attach to her arm. But she must learn fast, as she is dragged back through time, not least that to the denizens of some earlier eras, she is little more than a convenience food. Initially, the fragment of tor imbedded in Tack's wrist sums up his value to the Heliothane - a point brought home to him with bloody abruptness. But, as a vat-grown programmable killer employed by U-gov, he is no stranger to violence. His long journey into the lethal world of the Heliothane is only beginning, the extent of his mission just becoming apparent. Meanwhile, hunting throughout time and the alternates, Cowl's pet, the torbeast, grows vast and dangerous. And the beast continues to feed.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 637 KB
  • Print Length: 484 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0330512552
  • Publisher: Tor (21 Aug 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003GK21BC
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #109,745 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Neal Asher lives sometimes in England, sometimes in Crete and mostly at a keyboard. Having over eighteen books published he has been accused of overproduction (despite spending far too much time ranting on his blog, cycling off fat, and drinking too much wine) but doesn't intend to slow down just yet.

http://theskinner.blogspot.com/
http://freespace.virgin.net/n.asher/

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
At just over 400 pages, Cowl certainly deserved credit for being a sleek, self-contained little book, that doesn't commit you to buying another endless series of novels just to find out what happened. The book never outstays its welcome, the pace is brisk and nothing seems extraneous. The plot, hackneyed though it might be, has enough polish to feel fresh and comes with enough new ideas to persuade you that Cowl is original.
Asher has sat down, come up with a series of fabulous SF ideas (biological time machines anyone?), thought up two lead characters that you care about - and yes, might even like and then put them up against a truly diabolical baddie. It sounds simple - but so many books don't get these basics right.
Enjoy the rollicking good pace, the superb action and the novel characterisations - Cowl is a fine book that stands apart on shelves filled with derivative bloated monstrosities.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Cowl 17 April 2004
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
Not sure I entirely agree with the other reviewers. The time travel concept is well handled and works. The author has really thought it through. Also there's some very good twists in the plot and an interesting resolution. But Cowl's motivation doesn't really stack up and there are a lot of unanswered questions by the end.
A good read nonetheless but I don't think it's as good as Gridlinked or The Skinner, both of which are absolutely excellent.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
I bought this (though not on Amazon) as an impulse purchase knowing it wasn't related to Asher's excellent Polity series. While I agree with other reviewer's opinions in that it is good, I do feel that much of Polly's journey back through time was just padding. This story was in need of tighter editing.

A good read, but not a patch on The Skinner or Polity Agent.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pay attention I will say this only once 23 Mar 2004
Format:Hardcover
Neal actually does a good job of revisiting the complicated time travel concepts (something about a pool table, a cue and a sheet) but this is not a book for the tube. You need a quiet corner and a chunk of time to get your head around mantisals and vorpal constructs and the probability slope.
The core of the book is the story of two characters in our future who travel back into the distant past. Chronologically they travel a long way but geographically most of the story is set in Essex. You'll probably only appreciate this if you live in East Anglia.
To comment further would risk spoiling the book - buy it and enjoy it. I love reading books a second time and I think this book will get even better when re-read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars My 100-word book review 19 Mar 2007
By A. J. Cull VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
From the writer of the Polity series, Cowl is a stand-alone novel, which nonetheless has all the elements that make Asher's other books immense fun to read. Human factions from the future are fighting each other on a shifting battleground that encompasses all of recorded history, and most of prehistory too. The two vulnerable protagonists, from our near future, are caught up in the action and find themselves drawn back to the dawn of life on Earth - where the formidable Torbeast lurks. This is a fast-moving rollercoaster of a science fiction thriller, chock full of twists and clever touches.
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Format:Paperback
Cowl, the genetically modified preterhuman of the title, has travelled back to beyond the Nodus (where life first began) in an attempt to change the future of life on earth to suit his views. He checks his progress by sampling DNA from humans of the future that are bought back through time by use of a tor. These tors are distributed by the torbeast, Cowl's pet, a huge monster that has been created to travel through time at will - providing it has enough energy, which it gets from devouring humans of the future.

Of course, when something is changed in the past/future, that timeline is pushed down the probability slope. Once moving down the probability slope it requires more and more energy for a traveller to return to the correct timeline. If a traveller has gone too far down this slope, they may never be able to return to the correct timeline and be stuck in the alternate they created forever.

The story focuses on two main characters, Polly and Tack. Polly receives the tor after being pulled into the sights of U-Gov by Nandru Jurgens. Once attached to her, she starts moving back through time, jump by jump to her destination: Cowl. Tack is a programmable killer that is chasing Nandru, and in turn, Polly, trying to get that which Polly already has: the tor. He is caught in the field when Polly first moves back through time, although she manages to lose him and shift again. Fortunately (or unfortunately) for Tack, he also manages to get a tor growing on his arm and also gains the power to travel backwards through time.

Although the story may sound complicated, it is so much more readable than I was expecting.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Who needs Ian Cormac? 22 Mar 2007
By J. Lyon
Format:Paperback
Asher takes a slightly welcome break from the Polity and gosh.

Draawing on some of his earlier short stories he takes an alternitive view of humanities future, this time with eugenic ssuper-humans in charge instead of Benevoloant A.I (HAH!) Alot of its setting of it rings true with the modern world, increasingly toltalitarin centeral government, endless taxes, and over reliance on things that aren't really that good for us, and where this may end up.

The characters are abcolutly fantasttic, who needs a super villian when you have Cowl or the Umbrathane who seem to live by a hybrid of Spatan, Dawrinist and Macivellian ideals. There are no good guys, they are all shades of grey, and thats what makes Asher's work so compelling, his characters have depth, they may do good, but that doesn't mean that they are nice people.

This is a great book, so why the 4 stars, well because there isn't a four and a half option, and this nearly scrapes a five but isn't quite there. The ending feels a little bit too rushed but this does leave room for a sequal.

I too just want to see dinosaurs.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars a time travel concept that'll hurt your brain
Not one of Neal's best and whilst I could just about grasp the time travel method, the beast was just plain silly. Read more
Published 3 days ago by S. Harris
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Another marvelous Asher novel
Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Good story well told
Not quite classic Neal Asher but a good story well told. I liked his exploration of time travel and loved the descriptions of the encounters with different people and animals on... Read more
Published 16 months ago by Mr. Mark A. Laborda
4.0 out of 5 stars arrived promptly.
well packaged, good condition, birthday gift for husband, he seems to be enjoying it. If you are a Asher fan this one is for you.
Published 18 months ago by J M Reynolds
4.0 out of 5 stars Stand-alone, fast-paced and fun
I have come to the conclusion that Neal Asher is quite mad - or, at least, his books are insane. In his hands it's science fiction with the dial turned up to 11, in a Spinal Tap... Read more
Published on 6 Mar 2012 by Steve D
3.0 out of 5 stars Counter-chronological parallel plots confusing and tedious
Cowl is my sixth Asher novel to date and the only one to not be a part of either the Spatterjay series of the Ian Cormac series. Read more
Published on 11 Oct 2011 by M-I-K-E 2theD
5.0 out of 5 stars Asher is a god
He is.

Really.

Ok....maybe not...but a very good author who has writen another brilliant book.
Published on 27 Nov 2010 by Bear Brain
4.0 out of 5 stars Lost in Time
As A fan Of ashers Work, reading all his work in the last six months, i deliberately left this till last as the premises did not excite me and I'm always a little weary of time... Read more
Published on 24 May 2007 by Mr. J. E. Butler
3.0 out of 5 stars Average for anybody least of all Asher
It's okay but no more than that. When compared to the superb Polity/Ian Cormac series it's a real let down; the superlative Grindlinked, Line of Polity and Brass Man (The Skinner... Read more
Published on 11 May 2006 by Amazon Customer
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