- Paperback: 560 pages
- Publisher: Tor (4 April 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0330441531
- ISBN-13: 978-0330441537
- Product Dimensions: 3.8 x 11.4 x 17.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 82,384 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Hilldiggers (Novel of the Polity) Paperback – Unabridged, 4 Apr 2008
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'An excellent tale to Asher's usual exhilarating action standards...' -- Death Ray
'If there's a more enjoyable and provocative sci-fi action saga this year, we'll be seriously surprised.' -- SFX Magazine
A massive SF drama from one of Britain's most popular new talents --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
I love his "Skinner" and still re-read it every now and then; the "Voyage..." is almost just as good. His Cormac books are also finely written. This one, I could barely finish it. The plot is predictable, all characters are flat and the writing style is extremely boring: page after page of monotonous narrative, irrelevant details and dry dialogs. No sense of humor whatsoever, and in fact very little emotions at all.
Despite his obsession with details, Asher doesn't bother to be consistent with his prior Spatterjay books (one example: in both the "Skinner" and the "Voyage..." hoopers occasionally get dunked into the deadly Spatterjay sea and, while being eaten alive by various creatures, they do keep afloat like any normal human would. In "Hilldiggers", the Hooper character McCrooger is for some reason much denser than normal people and would instantly sink to the bottom). Not to mention the idea of sending the Hooper, twice-infected by conflicting viruses, to make first contact with a paranoid and warlike civilization... Not to mention the silly "tiger-on-the-ball" Tigger drone... Or the four obviously suspicious "worm children" so easily allowed to raise to the top of the society...
If you like Asher and don't want to be disappointed, stick to his earlier Spatterjay books and avoid this one.
The book's synopsis sounds a little corny as `four exceptionally talented orphans' have been born through mysterious circumstances surrounding four `cosmic superstrings.' This initial cheesiness had me suppressing a gag reflex commonly experienced which reading synopses of self-published authors. While the ultimate motive for the conception is discussed, I found it a weak link in the plot chain.
The second half sees bad start when the protagonist Old Captain McCrooger begins to lose the Spatterjay virus and hence become weak, fragile. The weakening of the strong main character is a little demoralizing for the reader, as any Asher reader knows that the Old Captains are quirky, strong and a highlight in the Spatterjay series. The humanization of McCrooger is drawn out as he is injured over and over again without much direction.
Additionally, the predictable yet difficult to visualize space battle eventually takes place but doesn't seem as prominent as other battles in Asher's novels. The general plot direction is really predictable and no surprises were had except for a minor smile-worthy disclosure in the last two pages.
Hilldiggers is a good addition is the Polity universe with strong links with the Polity sub-plots but really tapers off in the last half to leave the reading unsatisfactory.
Told in multiple viewpoint with the majority of characters in third person POV, the main protagonist, David McCrooger, an ambassador from the Polity, tells his slice of the story in first person POV. Although a slightly unusual mix, I think it works. McCrooger's character leaps off the page with more vividness than the rest and his cussed attitude towards authority figures - and almost anyone else who gets in his way - starts to make sense when we learn that he has spent time on Spatterjay and was one of the Old Captains. Which revisits one of Asher's other worlds outstanding by its wholly bloodthirsty fauna.
Although writing believable three-dimensional characters isn't his particular thing, Asher does excel at rolling out a complex political situation with colliding social customs and taking the reader on a roller-coaster ride through events when the inevitable fireworks start. And to be fair, I think that McCrooger is probably one of Asher's best characters to date, partly because he proves to be more physically vulnerable than most of Asher's posthuman creatures.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
An excellent story from the Polity series which is something of a departure in that contact is made with a lost colony which is at war with its near neighbour. Read morePublished 10 days ago by Keith
Having been recommended these books started with Prador moon and thoroughly enjoyed that, found Hilldiggers good but maybe went on too long then finished abruptly. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
Honestly, I think I was underwhelmed by this book. It did not feel connected to the previous book in the series, and the universe in which it is set feels quite dry. Read morePublished 4 months ago by David
Great intrigue. Ashers usual amazing vision. Does require a little extra concentration.Published 8 months ago by robert hunt
The book is the second in Neal Asher's Polity series. It was a good read if a trifle long winded. I liked the Tigger..Published 9 months ago by P C Brickwood