The Line War (Ian Cormac) Hardcover – Unabridged, 4 Apr 2008
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'Asher is brilliant at conveying the vastness of space, the strangeness of alien life and the sweep of planetary horizons.' -- SFX Magazine
High-octane action in outer space -- the fifth novel in his increasingly popular Agent Cormac seriesSee all Product description
Top customer reviews
On the way we have gigantic space weapons, vast battle sequences, mahyem on a planetary scale, conversations with the makers of ancient booby traps and many other gripping sequences.
A great end to the series, neatly typing up nearly all the threads laid out during the previous four books but I can't see Neal Asher leaving a character as good as Cormac on the shelf for long, I wager he'll be back elsewhere in the polity metaverse, even if just as a Deus ex machina plot device.
I'm happy to say that Line War brings many threads of the Cormac series to a satisfying conclusion. Inside the first 50 pages you'll find an easily digestible 3-page summary of the plot shambles that was Line of Polity, Brass Man and Polity Agent. In unambigous terms, the origins of Erebus, Jain nodes, the fate of the Aetheter, and more are all revealed, then the current plot kicks off. This is an enjoyable and well-paced read, making it a stark contrast to the last 3 books.
The ending is a little unexpected in plot terms, and a couple of plot elements have been carefully held back, probably for future novels - which is good, since Asher is currently one of the best sci-fi novelists still actively writing.
I gave this 5 stars as I think it's worth that in its own right but also as the (supposedly) last in a great series that has given me a lot of enjoyment.
You do really need to read the preceding Agent Cormac novels first otherwise I don't think it would make much sense. If you have read the first four you shouldn't be disappointed - I certainly wasn't.
One of the things I like about the series is that the scale is vast - both in space and time. For example, we have mega-space battles and are told of the rise and fall of inter-stellar civilisations. However, we also get right down and close-up with the characters in their own personal fights and skirmishes.
Asher brings in some familiar characters from previous novels including everyone's favourite giant brass golem, a certain draconic enigma and one of personal faves, the AI from a massive spaceship (if that counts as a character).
We follow various characters from their own personal perspectives but everything is neatly brought together. Previously unexplained matters or unanswered questions are developed and addressed, e.g. in relation to the origins of Jain tech and regarding Cormac himself.
I thought that it was well-paced throughout and built to a nice extended crescendo on lots of levels with plenty of intrigue and plot twists along the way. I really liked the ending which I think did justice to an immensely enjoyable series.
The dialogue is sharp as always and much of the humour and the best lines, as before, comes from idiosyncratic war drones with real attitude and also a "ghost" who spars with a demented AI.
A really great read and I'm just sorry that I've finished it.
Two things that grate on me (in addition to the variable quality of the writing):
Asher is (verging on) a right wing crank who just cannot resist making political points in his writing. Now that wouldn't bother me so much if he hadn't ripped off someone who does the same, but from the left - Iain Banks. Asher's polity owes so much to the Culture - its like he has blatantly copied so many of Banks' ideas, and reversed his philosophy as a big middle finger at him. As far as I know, Asher has never acknowledged his debt. The fact he can cite any other authors as inspiration, and never mention Banks, is patently ridiculous.
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