The answer to the question: "What makes a great book?"
I surely don't know... But the best c'punk books are a good mix of technology, plot and person, all melded together to make a twisty turny voyage of a story.
This certainly is true of Grimwood's work to date.
With the previous series Grimwood set Clare Fabio up against the world... (even though she seems a minor character within each separate story, she is the main character - the driver)
In this latest series he has taken a character and put him at the head of the plot, with each of the two stories backed up by a series of minor plots. Like an episode of your favourite soap, you are immersed in the lives of each of the characters, from the cook in the 'aunts' house to the General and beyond. Each story lying bound to one another by the main story of one man trying to get on, to survive.
In this second book, after what appears to be an abortive engagement to Zara, we see Ashraf Bey still trying to do the 'right thing' with regards to his niece and failing abysmally at it. (you can disagree with that point if you like).
In comparison to other authors: In the same way that Chandler's character Marlowe mosied around his cases, allowing each case to solve itself, Grimwood's character in this series seems to be a catalyst for other characters to provide the story.
This latest book is an amazing novel, well worth the read, and certainly we should be thankful to the publishers for bringing this one out in hardcover. <applause/> Genious is infrequently recognised in it's own time.
As an aside - I am seriously looking forward to the next novel: (which I hear is due out in '03) and am trying to not succumb to the urge to pick up Pashazade again.