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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Cormac series just gets better and better
Polity Agent is the fourth book in the Agent Cormac series, a series I've been catching up with and thoroughly enjoying. The second and third books in the series, The Line of Polity and Brass Man, dealt with the emergence of Jain tech and Skellor's use of it and was a fairly self-contained duology within the main story. Of course, just because that sub-story concluded it...
Published on 14 Feb 2011 by Mark Chitty

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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Polity Agent
As Asher's "Cormac" series of space opera novels continues, his scope of Polity space and the outlying worlds widens, drawing us further into the universe that he has created. A history begins to take shape that, seeded in the previous novel, soon begins to reinstate itself. This fourth volume, "Polity Agent", draws upon the framework that Asher had already laid without...
Published on 4 April 2008 by David Brookes


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Cormac series just gets better and better, 14 Feb 2011
By 
Mark Chitty (North Wales) - See all my reviews
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Polity Agent is the fourth book in the Agent Cormac series, a series I've been catching up with and thoroughly enjoying. The second and third books in the series, The Line of Polity and Brass Man, dealt with the emergence of Jain tech and Skellor's use of it and was a fairly self-contained duology within the main story. Of course, just because that sub-story concluded it doesn't mean everything is fine, far from it - Jain tech is still out there and Polity Agent hits the ground running.

As a runcible opens from 800 years in the future the team that were sent to return the Maker to its civilisation in the Small Magellanic cloud comes through in a panic, the Makers overrun by Jain tech. With runcible time-travel not recommended by the AI's of the Polity due to the huge power requirements and dangers it involves, this situation is used solely to destroy the Jain infested Maker civilisation and most of the Small Magellanic cloud. This event raises many questions, most prominent of them being the purpose of Dragon, the huge bio-construct that the Makers created and sent to the Polity. Meanwhile an entity called Legate is distributing Jain nodes to certain people within the Polity, one of these being Orlandine, a haiman who takes a whole different approach to studying the Jain technology she has in her possession, while another is a dangerous separatist leader on the planet of Coloron. Meanwhile Horace Blegg, the infamous immortal of legend, is slowly learning more and more about jain tech and of himself, while Cormac continues to discover more about Dragon while trying to limit and eradicate the spread of Jain tech. And then there is the King of Hearts, a renegade AI whose journey out of the Polity leads him to discover something very dangerous indeed.

Where to start? Well, Polity Agent isn't so much a build up of events like previous novels, but an instant hit of what to expect throughout. This really does help the novel, but then it's part four in a series so it shouldn't have to take too much time building up the story. With the future runcible opening early in the book it kicks off a chain of events that has a huge impact on the Polity, but it starts to raise more questions about Dragon, the Makers and the Jain nodes. These questions have been there in the previous novels, but it's only now that the dots are starting to connect and the bigger picture is becoming visible - and boy is it big!

The characters that carry this story forward are all interesting. We've got the returning characters of Cormac, Mika, Thorn, Scar, plus the AI Jerusalem, but it's the new ones I enjoyed reading. Orlandine is one of the main characters here, and her haiman heritage is a very interesting part of this. She's as close to a human-AI hybrid as is possible (a full meld results in the death of both within minutes), and because of this she's got much more knowledge and intelligence than humans and can apply it very specifically. With a Jain node in her possession she hides away to fully investigate it, a story thread that results in some interesting discoveries about the Jain tech. There is also Horace Blegg, the enigmatic immortal we've seen in previous books. This time he gets a major role in the story and we start to learn more and more about him and his status within the Polity, and it's a very interesting journey he goes on. We also meet an Atheter AI - awesome! As for the King of Hearts, well, its journey out of the Polity leads to some startling discoveries that really will effect humanity as it stands.

In my review of Brass Man I said this:

What is most enjoyable about Brass Man is the sheer feeling of threat that faces the Polity. While we only see this through the events on and around Cull, the implications of these events have far reaching effects.

Well, now that threat is wide reaching, and we see it. Asher has done a wonderful job of showing this in Polity Agent and it comes across very well. We aren't restricted to one place, although much of the story does focus on the Jain tech outbreak on Colloron, and it's because of this that Polity Agent steps up the game. The ending doesn't conclude this story at all and instead introduces more of the threat that the Polity will face very soon, and here's hoping Line War will deliver everything that it needs to wrap up this series in style.

So, Polity Agent is a big book dealing with big issues to the Polity. It's not the best place to start with Neal's work, simply because it requires prior knowledge of events that have occurred to get the most out of it. Fortunately Neal does take some steps to help the new reader here with his chapter introductions. These little snippets give the reader either a little reminder about events that have occurred previously, or fill in the gaps for anyone new to the series. These chapter introductions are a presence in all of Neal's novels and are hugely enjoyable to read. Some of them give general background of the Polity and it's technology while others are a direct reference to the story, to give that little bit of world building without being too in your face. I love them though, and enjoy these just as much as the story itself.

Polity Agent is another great SF novel and continues the Cormac series in style. Asher doesn't shy away from anything here and delivers everything you could possibly want in a science fiction story. Simply put, this series has got better with each new novel and Neal Asher is firmly establishing himself as one of the premier science fiction authors writing today.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another superb Cormac novel, 12 Feb 2007
By 
Martin Anderson (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Polity Agent (Ian Cormac) (Hardcover)
The forth book in the Ian Cormac series following on from Gridlinked, The Line of Polity and Brass Man is another fantastic book with Asher again showing that he is one of the few British authors that deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as Iain M Banks (who incidentally gets a nice acknowledgement in the foreword along with Richard Dawkins).

Set in a time where inter-stellar humanity is governed by enlighted AIs, this book sees Ian Cormac again thrown into the middle of trying to save the Polity from the threat of the Jain. To call Ian Cormac a super-agent undersells the character massively. He is no one dimensional futuristic James Bond but rather an interesting and flawed man with a hint of mystique that might explain why an unaugmented human is in charge of AI minds magnitudes more superior to his. Other previous characters are also back, such as Mika and Horace Blegg. The storyline of the latter is particularly good as it raises as many questions as it answers.

The Jain have been previously mentioned in this series as the source of Skellor's (a previous adversary) abilities. Polity Agent fleshes out more details of the threat these Von Neumann machine-like objects pose, the history of the Jain and who is orchestrating the current situation.

Polity Agent is a gripping read, both involving and exciting. All in all, this is another excellent book richly deserving of 5 stars
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 15 July 2014
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A great read
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5.0 out of 5 stars Hard, existentialist sci-fi at its best, 11 Jun 2014
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Loving this continuation of the Polity/Agent Cormac series! Still reading, but would heartily recommend to anyone who cares about good science fiction!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Quality Sci Fi, 29 May 2014
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Mr. D. Rickett "Doc" (UK) - See all my reviews
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Fantastic ideas - Asher at his very best. You could describe the main protagonist as an autistic James Bond but without the womanising.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Neal Asher writes excellent SciFi and the Agent Cormac series is some of the best., 2 April 2014
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If you like your SciFi to be a good long read then Neal Asher will definitely please.
The whole of the Polity universe is well plotted across at least 8 books each with over 500 pages.
I was finding that I was impatient to be home so I could immerse myself again each evening.
When you come to the end of one book you will just want to pick up the next.
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5.0 out of 5 stars amazon.....please read, 27 Sep 2013
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I loved the book....I enjoy most books I buy. What I don't enjoy is being forced to review a kindle book once I've finished it. Please turn off this really annoying "feature".
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant ., 9 July 2013
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The Cormac saga continues but its coming to the end , see my review The Line war for my thoughts .
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5.0 out of 5 stars bloody good, 11 Feb 2013
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read this book more than once and been reading neal asher for about six years and never read a bad story from him yet
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5.0 out of 5 stars Loved It!, 19 Sep 2012
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Amazon Customer (Ashington, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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I started reading SciFi at an early age with the likes of Poul Anderson and Isaac Asimov. I have bought every single one of the Polity books one after another reading them from cover to cover in a matter of days. I particularly like the fact that the AIs in Asher's books can be thoroughly vile. You won't be disappointed.
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Polity Agent (Ian Cormac)
Polity Agent (Ian Cormac) by Neal Asher (Hardcover - 6 Oct 2006)
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