Top positive review
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Another great book from Neal Asher
on 16 February 2007
Following on from The Skinner and an off-shoot of Asher's 'Ian Cormac/Polity' series we are returned to the world of Spatterjay, where life on the planet is insanely vicious due to the regenerative effects of a common virus which gives those infected a massively increased resistance to pain and damage.
The Sable Keech of the title is a boat built for 'Reifications'. These 'Reifs' are people who have been killed but their bodies and minds held together by technology. The name of the boat refers to the only reification who ever successfully 'rose from the dead' through a combination of the Spatterjay virus and nanotechnology and whose re-animation has inspired a cult to follow in his footsteps.
Nothing is quite as it seems however: the WindCatchers getting 'auged' and waking up to the possibilities of their world, the re-appearance of a Prador adult, the robot drone Sniper getting his new (and fully militarised) drone body after 10 years as the planets AI warden and a coup amongst the Reifs and, of course the normal everyday issues of trying to survive on a planet where pretty much everything is lethal.
Neal Asher is one of the few British sci-fi writers that can be mentioned in the same name as Iain M Banks. He has a fluid writing style with a great sense of plot timing that makes for a gripping and exciting story set in an entirely believable possible future. If I have any issues with this book, it's the authors tendency to rely a little too much on the lifeforms of Spatterjay and other Polity planets at the expense of the developments of the main characters but that is really a minor gripe compared to the excellence of the book.
You will enjoy this book more if you have read the previous book [...], but this book is certainly good enough to stand on it's own. A definite 5 stars.