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Gridlinked (Agent Cormac 1) [Paperback]

Neal Asher
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
Price: 8.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

2 Oct 2009 Agent Cormac 1

In outer space you can never feel sure that your adversary is altogether human.

The runcible buffers on Samarkand have been mysteriously sabotaged, killing many thousands and destroying a terraforming project. Agent Cormac must reach it by ship to begin an investigation. But Cormac has incurred the wrath of a vicious psychopath called Pelter, who is prepared to follow him across the galaxy with a terrifying android in tow.

Despite the sub-zero temperature of Samarkand, Cormac discovers signs of life: they are two 'dracomen', alien beasts contrived by an extra-galactic entity calling itself 'Dragon', which is a huge creature consisting of four conjoined spheres of flesh each a kilometre in diameter. Caught between the byzantine wiles of the Dragon and the lethal fury of Pelter, Cormac needs to skip very nimbly indeed to rescue the Samarkand project and protect his own life.


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Gridlinked (Agent Cormac 1) + The Line of Polity (Agent Cormac 2) + Brass Man (Agent Cormac 3)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Tor; Reprint edition (2 Oct 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330512544
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330512541
  • Product Dimensions: 3.8 x 13.3 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 176,411 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

Gridlinked is the talented Neal Asher's first full-length SF novel, an accomplished rapid-action thriller crammed with high technology, obsessed characters, and the glittering boys' toys of advanced weaponry.

Cormac is a legendary Earth Central Security agent, the James Bond of a wealthy future where "runcible" transmitters allow interstellar travel in an eye blink. Unfortunately Cormac is nearly burnt out, "gridlinked" to the AI net so long that his humanity has drained away. He has to take the cold turkey cure and shake his addiction to instant online access, even while investigating the unique runcible disaster that's wiped out the entire human colony on planet Samarkand in a 30 megaton explosion ...

Hot on Cormac's heels is vengeful terrorist Pelter, backed up by his unstoppable, psychotic android killer "Mr Crane" and a goon squad of mercenaries. Other trouble has been brewing since 27 years earlier, when Cormac was humanity's ambassador to a vast, incomprehensible alien that called itself Dragon. Deep beneath Samarkand's surface there are buried mysteries, fiercely guarded. And is it true that Cormac's enigmatic boss is an immortal who's lived half a millennium and was born in the 20th century?

Asher's galaxy is full of colour and sleaze, and his story rattles along at speed. There are surprises, double-crosses, elaborate lies to be seen through, astonishing escapes from certain death, and last-minute reversals. Though the ultimate fates of the lesser villains seem mildly anticlimactic, the true bad guy is dealt with in spectacular style. Sequels are hinted. Fast-moving, edge-of-the-seat entertainment. --David Langford --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

In outer space you can never feel sure that your adversary is altogether human.

The runcible buffers on Samarkand have been mysteriously sabotaged, killing many thousands and destroying a terraforming project. Agent Cormac must reach it by ship to begin an investigation. But Cormac has incurred the wrath of a vicious psychopath called Pelter, who is prepared to follow him across the galaxy with a terrifying android in tow.

Despite the sub-zero temperature of Samarkand, Cormac discovers signs of life: they are two 'dracomen', alien beasts contrived by an extra-galactic entity calling itself 'Dragon', which is a huge creature consisting of four conjoined spheres of flesh each a kilometre in diameter. Caught between the byzantine wiles of the Dragon and the lethal fury of Pelter, Cormac needs to skip very nimbly indeed to rescue the Samarkand project and protect his own life.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book - shame about the ending. 10 Nov 2003
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
My first Neal Asher novel (and his too, I subsequently found). It was a good read - full of nice ideas, good tech, good settings and nice plot twists (though I did guess some bits in advance of reading them). It got me involved in the characters to the extent that I cared if they lived or died, even causing a stir of emotion when one or the other occured. It even made my me laugh out loud a couple of times (at genuine humour, rather than in ridicule)
I liked the settings of the novel, and the future that Asher describes; I like the hero, Cormac, and his companions the Sparkind soldiers, the golem androids, and his shuriken; I liked the lead villain Pelter and HIS companions, Mr Crane, Stanton and the mercenaries; Hell, I even liked the runcible AI's.
But did I like Dragon or The Maker? No way - I found them a bit "unbelieveable", even in this future context, and a bit too "comic book". And did I like the ending of the book? Even more "no way". In fact, did I even understand the ending of the book?
I read the last few pages again and again to try to figure it out. When I started reading the sequel "The Line Of Polity" I had to read the end of "Gridlinked" yet again, because I still didn't get what happened with the Dracomen! And I'm happy (I guess) to read other reviewers here who were equally confused.
Well, I think it's with some dismay that I find Dragon and a Dracoman in "The Line Of Polity", but hey, onwards and upwards and lets see how the plot develops.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fast paced and refreshing debut novel 7 Mar 2004
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
In Asher’s glittering future galaxy, Earth is at the centre of a ‘Polity’ of AI-governed worlds, connected by various ‘runcibles’ (portals which instantly transport matter to another portal elsewhere in the galaxy) so called because the interface adopts the shape of a reflective spoon.
Asher’s ‘Polity’, which is in effect a benign AI dictatorship, is seen in the novel as a safe, happy place to live, although the ‘quotation’ chapter prefaces gradually make us aware that AIs are capable of the manipulation of data and have, in effect, rewritten history to suit their own purposes. No system is perfect, as Asher subtly and cleverly points out.
Outside the Polity are other human-colonised worlds which have been supplying Separatists with arms and explosives. Ian Cormac a ‘gridlinked’ ECS (Earth Central Security) Agent, has infiltrated a Separatist cell and is forced to kill Angelina Pelter when his cover is blown, leaving her vain and psychopathic brother Arian vowing vengeance.
Meanwhile, on the planet Samarkand the unthinkable has happened. A runcible has exploded, destroying most of the AI controlling it and ten thousand people.
Cormac is recalled and advised by Horace Blegg (a strange Japanese and apparently immortal human) to relinquish the augments and AI links which he has been relying on for the last thirty years; to regain his human responses and investigate the disaster.
It’s an extraordinarily impressive debut novel, one of those you wish was longer. Most novels of 500+ pages tend to be inflated with extraneous fluff. This however, is dense, tight and wastes not a word.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fast paced page turner 25 Sep 2006
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed this book from the start even though I thought the ending was a little too obvious. I'm looking forward to the next in the series (on order) and will "make do" with another of his books - "The Skinner" which I have only just started.

Some of the other reviewers have said that Asher's writing falls short of the mark, but I found the book fine and it stands on my shelf next to Iain M Banks and Peter F Hamilton, and just one shelf up from Elizabeth Moon.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great story (but how does it end?) 12 Jun 2001
By TobyTxt
Format:Paperback
This book I just grabbed at a bookstore, while I was in Copenhagen. Didn't know what to expect. The result however was quite convincing. Great scope, thrilling storyline and a nice crop of characters. And it all flows through at a breathtaking pace. I allmost thought of Banks ... So why not 5 stars: Well, would someone please explain to me, how it all ads up. Asher either ran out of battery on his laptop or just decided, that two and a half page would be quite enough to explain 400 pages of complicated and intruiging storytelling. I read the ending again - and again. And I still don't quite get it (very annoying). But other than that I'll have to say: what a ride!
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Straight to the point... 10 July 2006
Format:Paperback
Neal Asher certainly won't be winning any awards for descriptive prose or deep characterisation, but all of the novels in this series - starting with Gridlinked - are worth reading if you enjoy undemanding, plot-driven sci-fi.

Ian Cormac, the 'hero', is pretty two-dimensional, but it doesn't really matter in the context of a book like this. The characters are mainly shallow and obvious, but with a bit of imagination, the gaps are soon filled in. They serve their purpose, which is to prop up the constant stream of action, and they do it well. If you've got a good imagination, Asher makes for quite a compelling author, within limits.

However, it's a real shame that the more interesting ideas and characters aren't developed more fully. Superhuman 'Golem' androids walk around everywhere, but the question of whether they are self-aware or just good emulations of human behaviour is only touched on once or twice, with no real depth. For example, in the next book, Line of Polity, a solider who dies in Gridlinked is resurrected by means of retrieving his 'memplant' and putting it in a Golem body - but this potentially fascinating character's thoughts about his situation are seemingly non-existent, and the issue of whether or not he is the same person, self-aware or not, is left completely untouched. Asher also doesn't describe physical appearances at all, beyond a couple of cursory lines when characters are introduced, so a lot of the male soldier characters in particular end up blending into one another.

So, overall, this is a great book for killing time with, a bit like the literary equivalent of the Terminator films - but it's a real shame that Asher doesn't have the skill to take it to the next level.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars surprisingly gripping
A futuristic Bond, with attitude battling against inhuman (sic) foes to save a world that is difficult to comprehend. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Uncle H
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it
Love reading Neal's books about the polity, he brings the characters to life, particularly the AI's, makes them seem human almost, his character Ian Cormac I really like, and this... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Eric Whitmore
2.0 out of 5 stars Lacking in originality and a little quality
would give it two and half if I could. Just cant compare to Banks, Reynolds or Hamilton etc in terms of imagination or writing quality. Read more
Published 7 months ago by C. A. Jarvis
3.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining
Entertaining sci fi. I like that humans are being ruled by AI's and the explanation as to why this is. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Bookloverxx
5.0 out of 5 stars well written and draws you in
Really well written. I thoroughly enjoyed this book' in fact I enjoyed it so much I'm reading the next in the series.
Published 10 months ago by Steve
5.0 out of 5 stars Naked ape
A solid start to a great series of books. Mr Asher has the skill of attaching personalities to A.I's and droids while keeping their otherness. Read more
Published 10 months ago by M. James
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book, good read
This is another great book form Neal Asher; with a great plot than can be guessed somtimes. there are some people saying that the chators aren't very real; but if you read shadow... Read more
Published 11 months ago by J.smith
3.0 out of 5 stars Gridlinked
I liked this, but it's difficult to ignore the Culture overtones. If I wanted to read a Culture novel, I'd stick with the Iain Banks original, not a pale imitation. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Ellsea
5.0 out of 5 stars Hidh speed action
Fantastic aliens, technology (particulary the Runcible) and lots of gory violence. Asher has got some fantastic ideas but in this book his characters are a bit wooden but dont let... Read more
Published 15 months ago by Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars Not bad but not great either
Although i made it to the end, the book felt like a slog half the time. Events seemed to just happen with no particular conection to an overriding story so while generally... Read more
Published 17 months ago by ByWoodland
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