I was desperate to read this book after having come into contact with "The Difference Engine". I like Sterling's writing style and the plot kept me hooked all through. Not a standard kill-fest, as a lot of this genre can be, so if that's what your looking for - go elsewhere.
The Artificial Kid appears to be a young man - but has actually led many lifetimes - all of which have been devoted to the pursuit of excellence in the sphere of combat. This gives him a huge edge in his chosen career. That of "combat artiste" - very popular in the media.
The book begins with very cyberpunk origins, enters something of a traditional sf phase - dabbles in philosophy and carries the reader with it on an enjoyable ride. Don't worry, the plot is easy to follow and isn't too eclectic - its just not standard fayre - a big plus in my book.