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Shadow of the Scorpion (Novel of the Polity) [Unabridged] [Hardcover]

Neal Asher
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
RRP: £17.99
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Book Description

3 April 2009 Novel of the Polity

Raised to adulthood during the end of the war between the human Polity and the vicious arthropoid race, the Prador, Ian Cormac is haunted by childhood memories of a sinister scorpion-shaped war drone and the burden of losses he doesn’t remember.

In the years following the war he signs up with Earth Central Security, and is sent out to help either restore or simply maintain order on worlds devastated by Prador bombardment.

There he discovers that though the old enemy remains as murderous as ever, it is not anywhere near as perfidious or dangerous as some of his fellow humans, some of them closer to him than he would like.

Amidst the ruins left by wartime genocides, he discovers in himself a cold capacity for violence, learns some horrible truths about his own past and, set upon a course of vengeance, tries merely to stay alive.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Tor (3 April 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0230738591
  • ISBN-13: 978-0230738591
  • Product Dimensions: 23.2 x 15.6 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 402,032 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.

Product Description


'Massively good fun... A top-quality adventure story.'
-- Deathray

About the Author

Neal Asher was born in Billericay, Essex, and still lives nearby. His previous full-length novels are Gridlinked, The Skinner, The Line of Polity, Cowl, Brass Man, The Voyage of the Sable Keech, Polity Agent, Hilldiggers, Prador Moon, Line War and The Gabble.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A (rapid) glimpse into Cormac's past... 1 Jun 2009
Being a polity-addict, i jumped on this one with anticipated pleasure. With a somewhat classic construction, featuring alternating periods of Agent Cormac youth, Asher brings us some of the milestones that founded his polity central character's background.
As usual with Asher, it's a page-turner that is quickly read, which is why i granted it 4 instead of 5 stars. The two tweened plots (cormac around 10 and cormac in his late teens making his first progress to agent-status) keep going faster and faster, with chapters getting shorter and shorter, reaching at the end a climax that is somewhat disappointing. As a final addition, we learn about Cormac's famous tenkian artifact in a 2 page hurried morsel, that probably could have been the subject of another novel.
Fast read, and i fear fast forgotten. But it stays that Asher's a master, so the read is compulsive, and the polity background is as pleasurable as in the other books.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another excellent novel from Asher 13 Jan 2009
Shadow of the Scorpion is another stand alone novel from Night Shade Books (the first was Prador Moon), this time focusing on the early years of Ian Cormac, the ECS agent we all know from the Gridlinked sequence. Neal has taken a character that has gone through many experiences and gone back to the beginning, to see what made IanCormac what he is. The story is told against the backdrop of the end of the Prador war, still ongoing while he was a child and the aftermath to deal with during his ECS training.

Cormac and his two squad mates are stationed on Hagren, a planet near the Graveyard of wrecked worlds from the Prador war. With a Prador dreadnought crashed on the surface they are given the job of routine sentry duty, a task that is considered both mundane and routine. That is until theseparatists try to sneak in and steal a deadly CTD, a bomb with devastating power. With surviving Prador aboard the dreadnought and the separatist threat, Cormac soon finds himself in a dangerous situation and an investigation into the separatist activities, one that leads him to discover just what he's capable of.

During this narrative we are given flashbacks to Cormac's youth, the unusual appearance of a scorpion shaped war drone and the experiences his family go through. Why this drone turns up is a question thatCormac asks himself, and will reveal a secret that has been hidden for years.

I will make no apology about being a huge fan of Neal's work, I love the way he can create believable and hugely enjoyable worlds and his story telling skills are second to none. When I found out that this book was to focus onCormac's earlier life, and that it was to be published by Night Shade Books, I got pretty excited.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A decent SF novel 1 April 2009
Although I'd heard a lot about Neal Asher in the past, I hadn't picked up any of his books until encountering the author himself at a signing in my home town. I picked up Gridlinked, his first novel and also the first in his Agent Cormac series, but hadn't gotten round to reading it before I was sent an ARC of his latest novel, Shadow of the Scorpion. Since Shadow of the Scorpion is a prequel to the other Cormac books, it seemed like a decent place to start.

The setting is many centuries hence, and Earth and its colonies are controlled by the Polity, an AI-controlled political entity. Humanity's attempts to rule itself have not worked out so well, so now control of human affairs has been (partially) ceded to the AIs, with humanity and AI constructs such as drones, androids and 'golems' (robots cloaked in human flesh who are almost impossible to tell from the real thing) working alongside one another in peace.

The Polity is put on the back foot when it encounters a hostile race known as the Prador, and is soon fighting a desperate war for its very survival. The novel follows two separate timelines. In the former, we follow the family crises afflicting ten-year-old Ian Cormac, whose father is fighting on the front lines and whose brother is serving in the medical corps. In the latter, we pick up Cormac's story ten years later as a fresh recruit helping mop up various worlds following the Polity's (costly) victory. The novel flips between the two regularly and the relationship between events in Cormac's childhood and during the events that first attract the notice of the Polity's ECS (Earth Central Security) agency.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another excellent novel 21 Nov 2008
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
As I've said elsewhere, I really enjoy Ashers work, and this second shorter work set in the earlier polity does not disapoint. Focusing on the eventful and traumatic early life of Ian Cormac, this is a story of vengance, growth, acceptance and a form of redemption, or at least a form of closure. This is a pacey narrative, with threads focusing on Cormac as a child and his first assignments with ECS. The narrative allows more insights into Asher's unstoppable assassin and how his character was shaped.

Not a long work, i read it in a single sitting of about 3 hours but very entertaining and highly enjoyable.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
As expected from Asher, superb story telling.
Published 2 months ago by StevanMP
4.0 out of 5 stars Welcome to Amistad
I jumped at random into the Polity books with "The Technician" which I very much enjoyed. I therefore decided to read more, and to take them in "chronological"... Read more
Published 5 months ago by DB
3.0 out of 5 stars joins the dots
Still not in the league of spatter jay but does give you the early history of Ian cormac . Once again Neal's detail and imagination is impressive , would have liked a longer ending... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Simon Harris
5.0 out of 5 stars Great
Love reading neals books about the polity, he brings the characters to life, particularly the AI's, makes them seem human almost.
Published 9 months ago by Eric Whitmore
3.0 out of 5 stars Where it all started
Did not enjoy reading about his child as much as his early years in ECS. Sure some will though.on the whole held my attention as usual.
Published 11 months ago by RO
4.0 out of 5 stars Shadow of the Scorpion
Shadow of the Scorpion is a straightforward action/adventure story with an underlying mystery. It's the sixth of Neal Asher's books that I have read to date and, whilst it possibly... Read more
Published 19 months ago by Steve D
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Sci Fi
Neal Asher does brilliant Aliens, Brilliant tech and Galaxy spanning wars. Violent and sometimes disturbing but always leaves you wanting more. Read more
Published 21 months ago by Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars Cormac prequel: all action and filler, no deeper sense to Polity
There aren't many authors in my library with the distinction of having been read a dozen different times through a dozen different novels. Read more
Published 22 months ago by M-I-K-E 2theD
3.0 out of 5 stars Good read.
The three points that consistently annoyed me throughout this book were that 1) I felt that some of the sentence construction and grammar was a... Read more
Published on 29 Aug 2011 by lankylil
3.0 out of 5 stars Not proof read but not bad
As a prequel to the Ian Cormac series, Shadow of the Scorpion was always on a hiding to nothing.
Had it been written in the same style as the books of the main series, this... Read more
Published on 31 Jan 2011 by gururob
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