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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well developed character in a disfunctional future
If you like a book where an author creates a memorable character then you really have to try this title by Simon Morden. Within this title you'll meet Petrovitch, calculating, logical and above all else selfish, until the day he breaks his own rules and puts his life in danger. It's a great story of human development as the tales hero has to adapt to the changes and...
Published on 3 April 2011 by Gareth Wilson - Falcata Times Blog

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fast-paced and thoroughly enjoyable thriller.
The world of Equations of Life is set two decades after 'Armageddon'. The world has been hit by a number of nuclear attacks leaving London as England's sole surviving city. The rest of the world hasn't fared much better; may people have been left radiation scarred by their experiences in the Armageddon. The Japanese have fared even worse. The islands have been, by the...
Published on 13 May 2011 by R. Palmer


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fast-paced and thoroughly enjoyable thriller., 13 May 2011
This review is from: Equations Of Life: Metrozone Book 1 (Samuil Petrovitch Novels) (Paperback)
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The world of Equations of Life is set two decades after 'Armageddon'. The world has been hit by a number of nuclear attacks leaving London as England's sole surviving city. The rest of the world hasn't fared much better; may people have been left radiation scarred by their experiences in the Armageddon. The Japanese have fared even worse. The islands have been, by the start of the novel, completely submerged and all Japanese are forced to live elsewhere.

This sets up the novel for the introduction of Samuil Petrovich. Living in the now - even more crowded - city of London where the parks are now made up of shanty towns constructed from old shipping containers, Petrovich is apparently a young and bright postgraduate student. Early on, he save Sonja Oshicora from kidnapping and finds that his quiet life is about to be disturbed as Sonja is the daughter of the head of the powerful Oshicora corporation.

From this point on, the pace is unrelenting. Over the next few days of Petrovich's life, after nearly dying from the shock of his exertions in saving Sonja due to a weak heart, he is caught up in a complicated war between the Oshicora corporation and a Ukrainian mobster, who models himself on Stalin.

This could all seem a little on the small time good guy takes on the bad guys and WINS. But that would be unfair. For starters, we can infer early on that Petrovich is perhaps not quite all that he seems. As the novel progresses, it becomes clear that his background needs a little explaining. In amongst all this, I think it is really only Petrovich's character that is fully developed. This novel is the first part of a trilogy, so hopefully Simon Morden can imbue the supporting cast with a little more character over these novels.

Throw in quantum computing and a Petrovich's scientific work and you have a heady mix of SF and action.

By no means perfect, it is perhaps a little on the light side (the reverse of that, of course, is that the action is non-stop and great fun), and the characterisation beyond the main character is a little weak. These are forgiveable, though. Simon Morden writes well and if you fancy a SF thriller you could do far worse than this. I'm looking forward to the second part.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well developed character in a disfunctional future, 3 April 2011
By 
Gareth Wilson - Falcata Times Blog "Falcata T... - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Equations Of Life: Metrozone Book 1 (Samuil Petrovitch Novels) (Paperback)
If you like a book where an author creates a memorable character then you really have to try this title by Simon Morden. Within this title you'll meet Petrovitch, calculating, logical and above all else selfish, until the day he breaks his own rules and puts his life in danger. It's a great story of human development as the tales hero has to adapt to the changes and it's a title that really is fascinating purely for the fact that it relies as truly great tales do on few other characters which allows the reader to really get to know them. So much so that crazy is as crazy does in a world gone mad with full throttle Petrovitch in survival mode with his million to one shot plans.

Add to this a post-apocalyptic world where life is cheap and a fistful of people who'd do anything to maintain control backed with great storytelling alongside decent prose and you know that it's a story that will thrill, excite and keep the reader entertained to its conclusion which made this a seriously great find from our friends at Orbit and a series that will have a lot to live up to.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good start, leaves you wanting more, 24 Mar 2011
By 
Keris Nine - See all my reviews
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The strength of Equations of Life lies not so much the writing style, which is rather plain and straightforward, as much as in its wealth of ideas. As the first novel in a series of Samuil Petrovitch books, the success of this opening instalment, with all its potential, holds out a great deal of promise for the subsequent parts.

The potential is immediately apparent in Equations of Life's post-Armageddon setting of a London unrecognisable but for the place names that now bear no relation to present-day reality. You don't want to venture too far above Oxford Street in the new London Metrozone, and as for Hyde Park, well, it's a hotbed of strange cults and tribes. Samuil Petrovitch is a Russian immigrant student in the Metrozone, working on nothing less than a Grand Unified Theory with his colleague Pif, a piece of work that is nearing completion and which holds out huge possibilities for space travel and unlimited energy sources. Unfortunately, his work is cut short when he gets involved in a street crime and saves a young woman from being kidnapped.

This opens up another avenue of interest, to say nothing of danger, when Petrovitch is introduced to her father, Oshicora, an important Japanese businessman (ie. yakuza gangster) who is working on a project to build a VirtualJapan, detailed down to the last blade of grass, after the original nation was destroyed in the great disaster (this book was available in proof long before the recent real-world events in Japan that now make that seem not so far-fetched). Petrovitch, whose shady past remains something of a mystery (as does just how Armageddon came about), has however also made some enemies through his actions, has the chief of police interested in him, has an assassin on his tail, and has some rather pressing health problems.

I say that the writing might not be all that brilliant in terms of style, descriptiveness or dialogue, but truth be told, its rather straightforward approach only serves to make the rather ambitious ideas it grapples with much easier to get along with. The story is never short of incident, there is plenty of imagination on display here - perhaps a little too much, with the Metrozone all too quickly descending into the complete anarchy of the New Machine Jihad by the mid-point of the book. Petrovitch however turns out to be an intriguing character, as do most of the other characters he meets - including a 19 year-old warrior nun (Ted McKeever's graphic novels Metropol, Eddy Current and Industrial Gothic come to mind frequently). It all comes together towards a thrilling conclusion that leaves that potential for the series to go just about anywhere, and I for one would be very interested to find out where this series goes next.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Plenty of action but didn't quite add up for me, 25 Mar 2011
By 
Ripple (uk) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
The first of a trilogy of action-packed, cyberpunk adventures to feature Samuil Petrovitch, a clever Russian with a dodgy heart and a dodgier past, set twenty years after Armageddon in the London Metrozone. Gangsters, gang warfare, virtual reality and an unfeasibly large nun all feature.

It's a book that is certainly not short of action. We are not told what the Armageddon event was, although aspects of it are hinted at. Perhaps that will become explained later in the series. What we do know is that it has wiped out Japan, and one of the first victims of the event in London appears to have been the Congestion Charge as it is now a heaving metropolis with gridlock traffic (although this and the masses of people seem to mysteriously evaporate as the story unfolds).

Petrovitch is an entertaining and endearingly horrible central character. He's brilliant, he's self-centred and he has a nice line in sarcastic put downs. He also has a dodgy heart - so perhaps not the greatest person to pin the hopes of the future on. He also has a rich line in swearing - although this is always in Russian. To start with, this is amusing but soon begins to become a little annoying and a bit childish. In saying that though, it's a book that reads much like the storyboard for an action packed software game rather than a book or a movie and so perhaps that young, probably male, teen to adult market is where this book best fits in and therefore perhaps the toning down of the language is to be admired.

The future London is depicted as in the grip of competing gangs of gangsters - the efficient Japanese, the rather seedier Russians and the urban ghetto poor gang based on the Paradise housing estates. Somewhere in the middle is the almost equally corrupt and morally bankrupt police, represented by the bumbling Harry Chain. When Petrovitch breaks his golden rule of not getting involved by rescuing the daughter of the head of the Japanese syndicate from being kidnapped by the Russian gang, he sets off a chain of rapidly unfolding events that drives the plot of the book. Fortunately Petrovitch benefits from the protection of a two metre tall warrior nun (it's best not to ask, I think).

I'm not going to tell you any more about the plot as that is the essence of the book. And there's no doubt that it rattles along and keeps you turning the pages to see how the plot is going to work itself out and to enjoy more of Petrovitch's cynical put downs.

Ultimately though I found it all a bit lightweight. Fortunes swing this way and that but it all gets a bit repetitive as the action ramps up. There are some genuinely interesting ideas, particularly in a virtual reality world, but I never got the sense that it was in a richly imagined world. The ideas seem more plonked into our world as if some things have advanced but others not and there's a lack of explanation of the underpinning ideas. Perhaps these are explained more in future books. Let's hope so.

I'm not the most easily offended of readers, but there are several aspects of this book that I found, at best, in bad taste and, at worst, somewhat offensive in being used to generate action that isn't particularly central to the plot development. At one point there's a Hatfield-esque train crash and another 9/11 style drone-flying-into-high-rise-building event. And in a world where there is no mention of Arab or Islamic influence, why is the machine uprising referred to as a Jihad? It struck me as gratuitously sensationalist and in questionable taste.

But for all these issues, I won't deny that Petrovitch is an entertaining central character and it may well appeal to a young adult market keen for a high octane, action-packed, cyberpunk romp.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful imagination, 27 May 2013
By 
David Johnson (England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This is a tremendous book.
A new hero (or anti-hero) is born!
Petrovitch is a wonderful invention and a great new character.
Anyone who likes S-F and imagination will love the series.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Geek Gumshoe?, 9 May 2013
By 
Patrick Shepherd "hyperpat" (San Jose, CA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Equations Of Life: Metrozone Book 1 (Samuil Petrovitch Novels) (Paperback)
Perhaps the first lesson to be learned from this book is that being a Good Samaritan can lead to horrendous consequences. Petrovich, a young college student, is the Samaritan, even though he tells himself at the time that helping a young lady apparently being kidnapped is a bad idea. The lady happens to be the daughter of one of the Metrozone's (post-Armageddon London) main crime bosses, and the would-be kidnappers are henchmen of one of the other crime bosses, so this immediately leads to Petrovich becoming deeply involved in their rivalry and with a price on his head, complicated by his having a bad heart that is on its last legs.

Just for icing on the cake, Petrovich is just about the ultimate geek, busily working on a Grand Unified Field theory as a sideline to running away from or confronting various goons, and is quite competent in all matters computer related.

There is mystery, action (and more action), a fine display of just what intelligence can do when applied to the real world, believable threats, a well-developed background world that has a nice gritty feel to it, and a fair amount of sarcasm and humor. It's a fun read, one you can become easily engrossed in, and will want to hurry back to its pages to find out what happens next. Petrovich himself is an intriguing character, with a lot hiding behind your initial impression of him, and the supporting characters range from a gun-toting giantess of a nun to a police chief who does nothing but plant bugs on people.

Some of the feats of derring-do that Petrovich performs do stretch the bounds of believability, and there were a couple of scenes that I don't think were completely thought through as to their possibility in a real world, but what I found strikingly real was a fairly short passage detailing his (and his partner's) work with a mathematical theory (don't worry, the reader is not expected to know any real math), showing just how engrossed and focused people who work at this level become and how insidiously a mathematical problem will grab your mind and will not let go, having some experience with this type of thing myself.

Although this book is the first of a trilogy, the story presented here is complete in own right, without any dangling cliffhangers at the end, which is a nice change from far too many multi-volume works. I will definitely be reading the rest of this series.

---Reviewed by Patrick Shepherd (hyperpat)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars post cyberpunk, 25 April 2013
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This review is from: Equations Of Life: Metrozone Book 1 (Samuil Petrovitch Novels) (Paperback)
Cyberpunk defined the new age as a fast paced millennia. A new paradigm cool and exciting.
Then reality kicked in and we got the New World Order and financial collapse.
Simon Morden takes cyberpunk to the next level.
Yeh its cool but its way more attuned to the s****y reality of 2013.
Pacey and well plotted.
A real find.!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tasty cyberpunk action, 29 Feb 2012
By 
Mr. M. A. Quinn (MANCHESTER) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Equations Of Life: Metrozone Book 1 (Samuil Petrovitch Novels) (Paperback)
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I wont summarise the book, you can read the synopsis for that. What I will do is tell you that if you liked films such as Akira, Blade Runner, Tron, Yakuza Weapon and books by William Gibson, George Alec Effinger and Richard Morgan (my fave) then this is right up your street.

A quick read and a perfect accompaniment for the train or lunch breaks at work. Get on it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well written, post apocalypse thriller, 31 July 2011
By 
D. Clarke "Dragonthoughts" (Cheshire UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Equations Of Life: Metrozone Book 1 (Samuil Petrovitch Novels) (Paperback)
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Petrovitch is a brilliant physicist who impulsively saves a young woman from being kidnapped.

The plot is clever, well written with wit, humour and more intelligent plot twists than a crocheted table cloth. The story picks you up and grabs you by the throat, almost in the manner that Sister Madeleine, (the nun with a big gun) might take someone who threatens Petrovitch or the priest that she's assigned to protect.

The author really is a rocket scientist and this shows, in a very positive way when the science and computing aspects are conveyed plausibly.

This novel, held my attention very well and I'm already looking forwards to the next in the series.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An exciting action thriller..., 21 July 2011
By 
Mr. A. J. D. White - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Equations Of Life: Metrozone Book 1 (Samuil Petrovitch Novels) (Paperback)
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At first I found Mr Morden's writing style to be rather awkward, but I quickly fell into his groove and started to really enjoy the world he was creating... my problem however was that the book seemed to enter its endgame about 200pages into the 346 page novel and from there on out it was pretty much action all the way... not that it dragged just the world building and exposition ended leaving me wanting more... which in and of itself started to get old.

Great 1st novel, I would say maybe Richard Morgan lite, will be checking out volume 2 as soon I have some spare cash.
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Equations Of Life: Metrozone Book 1 (Samuil Petrovitch Novels)
Equations Of Life: Metrozone Book 1 (Samuil Petrovitch Novels) by Simon Morden (Paperback - 7 April 2011)
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