- Paperback: 480 pages
- Publisher: Tor; New edition edition (15 April 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0330411586
- ISBN-13: 978-0330411585
- Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 10.8 x 17.1 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,372,449 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Cowl Paperback – 15 Apr 2005
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More About the Author
TEST The latest high-octane galactic adventure from Britain's new master of wide-screen science fiction --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
About the Author
Born and still living in Essex, Neal Asher started writing SF at the age of sixteen. Since then he has had numerous stories published in magazines and book form, most recently his full-length novels GRIDLINKED, THE SKINNER and THE LINE OF POLITY.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
I have no idea how to even start describing 'Cowl'. Most of his novels are set within his 'Polity' universe, but 'Cowl' is that awkward beast that is the stand-alone story. Set on Earth, we first meet Polly, a 22nd century prostitute, whose friend Marjae has recently died. When Marjae's brother Nandru, an ex-military type, turns up blaming Polly for his sister's death, he implants her with an AI device. When she awakes he tells her (in her head, through the device) that some people will turn up looking for her and he will tell her what to do when that happens. Sure enough, within minutes, U-Gov agents, led by a genetically engineered super-assassin called Tack, turn up and demand to know where Nandru has left a particular item. Through the AI device, Nandru gives Polly directions and she leads the agents to a mysterious item that looks something like a thorny vambrace, called a tor. Mayhem ensues (naturally), and she grabs the tor, which immediately (and bloodily) fixes itself to her arm and promptly drags her and the nearby Tack back in time.Read more ›
A good read nonetheless but I don't think it's as good as Gridlinked or The Skinner, both of which are absolutely excellent.
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.
A good read, but not a patch on The Skinner or Polity Agent.
Asher's luxurious niche in the world of sci-fi makes his novels predictable in some ways. Firstly, the sheer amount of weaponry is always staggering. Cowl is no exception to this rule, where there are hand-held missile launchers, rifles, daggers, grenades, displacers, beam weapons and the always user-friendly/enemy-unfriendly nuclear weapons. This arsenal is unloaded upon the foe like manure on a corn field. There are numerous headshots, blown off kneecaps, chest-burrowing penetrations, brain oozing batteries and the pleasant exchange of hello during a torturous de-limbing. These are the action sequences which are present in all Asher novels that I've read and it's also why I keep coming back to Asher- no one quite like him can make me giggle as characters slosh through each other's gelatinous disembowelments.
Amongst the splattered brains and swift decapitations, Asher lets his vocabulary get the best of him. His word choices, while impressive, are entirely out of place in a novel which doesn't seem to merit the usages. I rarely need to consult a dictionary (maybe once each book) but Asher had me reaching for mine about a dozen times. The names of some ancient species didn't interest me much so I typically just ignored those Latin-prefixed names of animals which only appear in obscure non-fiction. Among the best words Asher used: thixotrophic, adipocere, promulgate, entelechy, pellucid, sylph and exigent.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Really enjoyed this one. Too late to say much more. Really should be getting some sleep . . . .Published 2 months ago by William
I love Neal Asher's Polity universe and it took me a while to get used to this book. As with all time travel stories you need to keep your head screwed on kid!Published 4 months ago by Anonymous Coward
Not one of Neal's best and whilst I could just about grasp the time travel method, the beast was just plain silly. Read morePublished 16 months ago by S. Harris
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 morePublished on 4 Jun. 2013 by Mr. Mark A. Laborda