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The Departure (Owner Novel 1) Hardcover – 5 Sep 2011

148 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Tor (5 Sept. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0230708730
  • ISBN-13: 978-0230708730
  • Product Dimensions: 15.3 x 4.3 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (148 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 460,952 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

Book Description

The beginning of a new series from a master of space opera --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Neal Asher was born in Billericay, Essex, and divides his time between here and Crete. 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, Shadow of the Scorpion, Orbus and The Technician.

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Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Longshot on 9 Mar. 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I read a lot of disappointed reviewers' comments on this book before I bought it. I've read all of Neal Asher's 'Polity' novels which I have enjoyed immensely so bought it anyway but expected to come away hugely disappointed.

Well, I didn't. I thought it was a good story in its own right and echoed many themes used in 'Polity' novels from a different perspective and within a more familiar framework.

I think many people may have been disappointed by the fact that the main character, Alan Saul, is not particularly likeable and is portrayed as something of an 'anti-hero'. In many stories, a person/entity such as Saul would be the bad guy. However, as a long time reader of the Thomas Covenant stories, I can deal with the 'anti-hero' concept and didn't feel it was a problem.

There's also been a lot of comment about the amount of violence in the book. I think it is more bloody than other works of his but it's hardly venturing into Shaun Hutson territory. It's there but it's not covered in minute detail.

However, it's not perfect. I would have liked more character definition, even if it only made me dislike them more. A lot of the characters, including the main ones, felt a bit shallow. I'm also not entirely convinced about the basic plotline right now but, given this is the apparently the first of a series, I would assume that there's a bigger picture to be revealed and I'm certainly interested enough in what happens to buy the next instalment and find out.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Adam Saunders on 10 Oct. 2012
Format: Paperback
Are we all reading the same book? Reading some of the negative reviews I wondered if perhaps The Departure had been re-written and re-issued prior to my purchasing a copy?

The Departure is very dark.

It really is.

Pretty distasteful in places, but the writing effectively paints a frankly disturbing picture of a society that has surrendered its scary freedoms to the safety of governmental dominance. It seems to me to be a critique of over-reliance on the state, something you can see happening in this country whatever the colours of the ruling party. I certainly didn't read it as a socialist bashing diatribe. In fact to me it reads more like a warning of how a society can fall into subservience to a fascist like governmental/corporate system. A society where things have gone horribly wrong largely through inaction and apathy rather than through subjugation by some overarching bond-like villain. What I think gets under your skin is the link Asher makes between this horrifying future and the actions (or lack thereof) of ordinary people (just like us) in the present day.

As an opening book in a series I feel it sets the scene very clearly. It's quite different to the other works by Asher, which to my mind is a positive. It's an impressive author who can create totally separate immersive worlds and not rely on constantly going back to safe and reliable ground. I normally only read on the Metro on my journeys to and from work (about 15 minutes each way) so it takes me a while to finish a book. I found that I was so engrossed in this one that I had to read through it rather more quickly. Now I'm going to have to buy the second book on the kindle and then probably despair at how long it takes before the third book is ready, not that Asher is slow, heck I've waited for George R R Martin, but just because I'll really want to know how it works out.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By G. D. Waddell on 20 Aug. 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I felt a had to write a review as a counterpoint to the very negative reviews I read on Amazon. They put me off reading for some time, but this book is interesting and well paced. It isn't his best work but is certainly an easy and entertaining read. Comments about the main character lacking depth are a bit misplaced IMO. He is meant to be detached and lacking in emotion. Where I think Neal Asher has missed an opportunity is in development of secondary characters, who had the potential to provide some contrast to the Saul but aren't really developed - perhaps in the next book. To sum up: Glad a bought it and will read the sequel but won't be paying the hard-back premium (which lets face it, is an complete rip-off when buying for Kindle anyway)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Rob on 10 May 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am a big fan of Asher, this new novel is not up to his usual standard.

There is the trademark Asher blood and violence, but in this novel the body count is in the hundreds of millions.

Saul seems to be a great great grandfather figure for agent Cormac and appears to be an early incarnation/ prototype of a gridlinked human.

Anyway it is readable, but the characters are forgettable , even the main character Alan Saul is not particularly interesting.

Probably the best character is Saul's sister who was shipped off to Mars and fights to take over from the government thugs.

Not a book I would want to read again.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By action sci-fi on 10 Aug. 2012
Format: Hardcover
The Departure marks Asher's most recent venture away from his polity novels. It also happens to be one of his most concise and focused narrative story's to date. The story follows Alan Saul on his mission for vengeance in a totalitarian regime world.

The setting feels very distinctly 1984 inspired and feels seriously believable and engrossing. Unlike most of Asher's previous books this novel essentially is centred on two main characters. I have to say this is certainly one of my favourite books by Neal, the violence is as ultra as ever, his world building as grand and down to earth (no pun intended) and he never seems to run out of ideas. My particular highlight of this book was perhaps the main character as he is essentially a remorseless sociopath, but that's the whole idea, he is ruthless and resourceful and someone you would never want to piss off, but he is actually a lot deeper than I said above but I won't spoil anything.

Like I said Neal never seems to run out of ideas and one particularly gleeful action sequence on a space station has to be one of the highlights. To top this all off Asher has managed to envisage a very believable world with some cleverly designed monstrosity's such as "adjustment" and the committee itself. It puts forward some intriguing moral dilemmas such as what would you really do when the world population has reached 18 billion! Some people have put forward the criticism that the other story set on mars is simply not interesting, but I completely disagree with this and I say that as someone who personally found Asher's detours to less interesting characters annoying, because Asher doesn't spend to much time in this little detour plus I reckon you'll be clamouring to get back to it during some really cool set pieces.
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