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Cowl by [Asher, Neal]
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Cowl Reprints , Kindle Edition

4.0 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews

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Product description

Review

"Asher has lit up the sky of Science Fiction like a new sun."

"Time travel, ultraviolence, big dinosaurs -- the perfect mind-blasting SF cocktail."

"Asher does time travel and he does it damn well, taking the reader on a journey that would make one hell of a theme park ride!-"SFRevu.com"

"Time travel, ultraviolence, big dinosaurs -- the perfect mind-blasting SF cocktail."-"SFX" magazine

"Asher has lit up the sky of Science Fiction like a new sun."-Tanith Lee


Asher does time travel and he does it damn well, taking the reader on a journey that would make one hell of a theme park ride! "SFRevu.com"

Time travel, ultraviolence, big dinosaurs -- the perfect mind-blasting SF cocktail. "SFX magazine"

Asher has lit up the sky of Science Fiction like a new sun. "Tanith Lee""

"Asher does time travel and he does it damn well, taking the reader on a journey that would make one hell of a theme park ride!" --SFRevu.com

"Time travel, ultraviolence, big dinosaurs -- the perfect mind-blasting SF cocktail." --SFX magazine

"Asher has lit up the sky of Science Fiction like a new sun." --Tanith Lee

Book Description

The latest high-octane galactic adventure from Britain's new master of wide-screen science fiction.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1071 KB
  • Print Length: 484 pages
  • Publisher: Tor; Reprints edition (21 Aug. 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003GK21BC
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #100,026 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
At just over 400 pages, Cowl certainly deserved credit for being a sleek, self-contained little book, that doesn't commit you to buying another endless series of novels just to find out what happened. The book never outstays its welcome, the pace is brisk and nothing seems extraneous. The plot, hackneyed though it might be, has enough polish to feel fresh and comes with enough new ideas to persuade you that Cowl is original.
Asher has sat down, come up with a series of fabulous SF ideas (biological time machines anyone?), thought up two lead characters that you care about - and yes, might even like and then put them up against a truly diabolical baddie. It sounds simple - but so many books don't get these basics right.
Enjoy the rollicking good pace, the superb action and the novel characterisations - Cowl is a fine book that stands apart on shelves filled with derivative bloated monstrosities.
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Format: Paperback
I have come to the conclusion that Neal Asher is quite mad - or, at least, his books are insane. In his hands it's science fiction with the dial turned up to 11, in a Spinal Tap stylee (but without the miniature Stone Henge). He writes with real verve and drags you along for the ride, kicking and screaming. If you're looking for an inventive, wild, exciting ride, he's the man for the job, just be prepared to have all your preconceptions of stuffy old sf books ripped up and thrown back in your face.

I have no idea how to even start describing 'Cowl'. Most of his novels are set within his 'Polity' universe, but 'Cowl' is that awkward beast that is the stand-alone story. Set on Earth, we first meet Polly, a 22nd century prostitute, whose friend Marjae has recently died. When Marjae's brother Nandru, an ex-military type, turns up blaming Polly for his sister's death, he implants her with an AI device. When she awakes he tells her (in her head, through the device) that some people will turn up looking for her and he will tell her what to do when that happens. Sure enough, within minutes, U-Gov agents, led by a genetically engineered super-assassin called Tack, turn up and demand to know where Nandru has left a particular item. Through the AI device, Nandru gives Polly directions and she leads the agents to a mysterious item that looks something like a thorny vambrace, called a tor. Mayhem ensues (naturally), and she grabs the tor, which immediately (and bloodily) fixes itself to her arm and promptly drags her and the nearby Tack back in time.
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By A Customer on 17 April 2004
Format: Hardcover
Not sure I entirely agree with the other reviewers. The time travel concept is well handled and works. The author has really thought it through. Also there's some very good twists in the plot and an interesting resolution. But Cowl's motivation doesn't really stack up and there are a lot of unanswered questions by the end.
A good read nonetheless but I don't think it's as good as Gridlinked or The Skinner, both of which are absolutely excellent.
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Format: Hardcover
Neal actually does a good job of revisiting the complicated time travel concepts (something about a pool table, a cue and a sheet) but this is not a book for the tube. You need a quiet corner and a chunk of time to get your head around mantisals and vorpal constructs and the probability slope.
The core of the book is the story of two characters in our future who travel back into the distant past. Chronologically they travel a long way but geographically most of the story is set in Essex. You'll probably only appreciate this if you live in East Anglia.
To comment further would risk spoiling the book - buy it and enjoy it. I love reading books a second time and I think this book will get even better when re-read.
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Format: Paperback
I bought this (though not on Amazon) as an impulse purchase knowing it wasn't related to Asher's excellent Polity series. While I agree with other reviewer's opinions in that it is good, I do feel that much of Polly's journey back through time was just padding. This story was in need of tighter editing.

A good read, but not a patch on The Skinner or Polity Agent.
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Format: Paperback
From the writer of the Polity series, Cowl is a stand-alone novel, which nonetheless has all the elements that make Asher's other books immense fun to read. Human factions from the future are fighting each other on a shifting battleground that encompasses all of recorded history, and most of prehistory too. The two vulnerable protagonists, from our near future, are caught up in the action and find themselves drawn back to the dawn of life on Earth - where the formidable Torbeast lurks. This is a fast-moving rollercoaster of a science fiction thriller, chock full of twists and clever touches.
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Format: Paperback
Cowl, the genetically modified preterhuman of the title, has travelled back to beyond the Nodus (where life first began) in an attempt to change the future of life on earth to suit his views. He checks his progress by sampling DNA from humans of the future that are bought back through time by use of a tor. These tors are distributed by the torbeast, Cowl's pet, a huge monster that has been created to travel through time at will - providing it has enough energy, which it gets from devouring humans of the future.

Of course, when something is changed in the past/future, that timeline is pushed down the probability slope. Once moving down the probability slope it requires more and more energy for a traveller to return to the correct timeline. If a traveller has gone too far down this slope, they may never be able to return to the correct timeline and be stuck in the alternate they created forever.

The story focuses on two main characters, Polly and Tack. Polly receives the tor after being pulled into the sights of U-Gov by Nandru Jurgens. Once attached to her, she starts moving back through time, jump by jump to her destination: Cowl. Tack is a programmable killer that is chasing Nandru, and in turn, Polly, trying to get that which Polly already has: the tor. He is caught in the field when Polly first moves back through time, although she manages to lose him and shift again. Fortunately (or unfortunately) for Tack, he also manages to get a tor growing on his arm and also gains the power to travel backwards through time.

Although the story may sound complicated, it is so much more readable than I was expecting.
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