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Hilldiggers (Polity Book 2) [Kindle Edition]

Neal Asher
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)

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Book Description

During a war between two planets in the same solar system – each occupied by adapted humans – what is thought to be a cosmic superstring is discovered. After being cut, this object collapses into four cylindrical pieces, each about the size of a tube train. Each is densely packed with either alien technology or some kind of life. They are placed for safety in three ozark cylinders of a massively secure space station. There a female research scientist subsequently falls pregnant, and gives birth to quads. Then she commits suicide – but why?



By the end of the war one of the contesting planets has been devastated by the hilldiggers – giant space dreadnoughts employing weapons capable of creating mountain ranges. The quads have meanwhile grown up and are assuming positions of power in the post-war society. One of them will eventually gain control of the awesome hilldiggers . . .


Books In This Series (4 Books)
Complete Series

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    Review

    Asher has an axe to grind, but what a shiny, well-honed and beautifully weighted axe it is... He's on top of his game with this one and his confidence entwines a fibrous thread throughout the plot. Multiple narratives occurring in different timeframes, shifts between first-and third-person perspectives, a detailed and convincing description of planetary ecosystems...In lesser hands, a rambling wayward text could well result. What we have instead is a wonderfully rich and complex tale that happily flips between giving the mind something weighty to mull over and pleasing its baser, thrill-seeking desires... Asher's skill is making it all seem wild, wonderful, politically provoking and fresh. --.

    The world of the AI-run Polity civilisation has been building to a ferocious level of complexity over Asher's past seven books, but Hilldiggers is an ideal jumping-on point, being relatively sefl-containted, packed full of intrugue, and - most importantly - one of his most ambitious and gripping novels yet...Hilldiggers is both inventive and expertly paced, navigating an incredibly complex story without losing any of the clarity or momentum...if there's a more enjoyable and provocative sci-fi action saga this year, we'll be seriously surprised. --.

    One of his most enjoyable novels yet --Starburst

    Death Ray

    'An excellent tale to Asher's usual exhilarating action standards...'

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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
    10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars Bloody good read but... 7 Aug. 2007
    By Ed.F TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
    Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
    Deeply enjoyable, page turner with great characterisation from on of my favorite novelists, but it doesn't get 5 stars from me because I couldn't shake off my nagging concern that this book was shared just a little too many concepts with "Inversions" by Iain M Banks, which isn't that great a book. I know it's ridiculous but my "familiarity" with these narrative devices took the edge of the book for me, even though Asher treats the concepts he shares with Inversions, like the low(er) tech civilisation viewpoint, the hidden agent/observer in a more accessible manner than Banks did but I couldn't help shaking off the feeling of deja-vu as each shared concept clicked into view.
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    17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
    3.0 out of 5 stars A very boring book 3 Mar. 2008
    Format:Hardcover
    "Hilldiggers" is very much unlike other Asher's books. It is as if it's written by a different person. It's boring.

    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.
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    1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
    3.0 out of 5 stars Excellent premise tapers off in last half 11 Oct. 2011
    By 2theD
    Format:Paperback
    Hilldiggers is an Asher novel which takes place in his unique Polity universe but does not follow the Cormac series or the Spatterjay series. Asher makes this novel distinctive by combining a good chunk of the Polity plot line with a savory chips from the Spatterjay line. The result is a rousing read for a seasoned Asher reader (this being my 10th Asher novel) but only for the first half. Throw in two planets with distinguishable race races, an ongoing war between them and a mischievous drone scouting the system... the first half is just a gem of a plot setting.

    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.
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    4.0 out of 5 stars Plenty of Polity Politics and Background... 23 Jan. 2011
    Format:Paperback
    The current fashion for `show, don't tell' that writers keep being nagged to follow by editors has clearly by-passed Asher. The opening pages of this book are groaning with information about the world, political situation and the main characters. That said, given just how background goes into making this story work, I'm not sure how else he could have communicated all this stuff. But, if you're on the verge of tossing the book to one side, my advice is to hang in there. It gets better - and is seriously worth it if your taste runs to space opera. And I mean the real deal, with epic battles involving space-going juggernauts - the hilldiggers of the title.

    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.
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    Most Recent Customer Reviews
    3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
    Great intrigue. Ashers usual amazing vision. Does require a little extra concentration.
    Published 2 months ago by robert hunt
    4.0 out of 5 stars A very enjoyable addition to the polity series
    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 2 months ago by P C Brickwood
    4.0 out of 5 stars Another excellent book from Neal Asher
    Hilldiggers is an efficient sci-fi thriller set in the polity universe. This usually means big mean aliens, cool supertech and superpowers. Read more
    Published 3 months ago by Julien Declercq
    5.0 out of 5 stars Neil at his best, a great read and I suspect we will ...
    Neil at his best, a great read and I suspect we will see a return of the alien causing all the problems in the future.
    Published 3 months ago by Eugene Beirne
    5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
    like the author you will like the book...
    Published 4 months ago by asher
    5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
    I loved this book. Keep reading one after another. They addictive ☺
    Published 4 months ago by Radek
    2.0 out of 5 stars story dragged
    Good story at heart but dragged on with lots of useless descriptions and and felt stretched. Needed to be shorter or contain more plot.
    Published 5 months ago by Jag
    4.0 out of 5 stars Addicted to this author
    Since discovering this author via a friend's recommendation I have become addicted. I started with the Agent Cormac series book Gridlinked, but then found that the third book in... Read more
    Published 10 months ago by AllisonTheTech
    5.0 out of 5 stars Another Asher masterpiece.
    once again Neil Asher has produced an exciting and riveting story. Set in the Policy universe we once again entertained by artificial intelligences ruling the human race and at the... Read more
    Published 14 months ago by K. Newell
    1.0 out of 5 stars not his best
    Probably my least favourite book, I like the ideas but it dragged on way to long. You can't expect perfection in all of Neal's books and this is certainly one of them.
    Published 16 months ago by Simon Harris
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