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Orbus (Spatterjay) Paperback – 6 Aug 2010
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Asher delivers a satisfying space opera full of adrenaline highs . . . Fast-paced fun. (SFX)
Rail-guns rattle off, pulse rifles fire out shots and explosions ring out. This is what Asher does best. (SciFiNow)
It is, like all of Asher’s work, brilliant fun. (Deathray)
Orbus hits every nail on the head, every time. Neal has not only delivered an excellent, enthralling and action-packed story, but probably his most accomplished and enjoyable novel to date. I honestly can't recommend this one highly enough. (Walker of Worlds)
The continuing adventure of Captain Orbus in Neal Asher's high-octane, science fiction Spatterjay series.See all Product description
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All of this motley group end up in the aptly named Graveyard, the demilitarised buffer zone between Polity and Prador space, where both races conduct a cold war of espionage and covert operations. Not surprisingly, they find themselves in the midst of much larger, and more dangerous, events than any had anticipated, as both the Prador King and Earth Central move battle fleets into place along their borders, the Golgoloth, a being long believed by most Prador to be myth, reveals its presence, and a secret long-concealed in the genetic code of the Spatterjay virus threatens to open the door to an apocalypse for Human, Prador and AI alike.
All of the ingredients fans have come to expect from a Neal Asher novel are present in Orbus: chapter introductions from How it is by Gordon, Artificial Intelligences who seem more human than the real thing, lovingly described and detailed aliens and technology, fearsome space-battles and a swift-moving plot. As usual, these all fit together seamlessly to provide an enjoyable and engrossing reading experience, and the new details provided about the universe of the Polity and its history are a welcome addition.
Asher's writing is as good and taut as ever, managing to get done in just over 400 pages what one suspects Peter F. Hamilton, or Iain M. Banks might have taken 600 to do, although for some reason he has chosen to write this work in the historic present, rather than narrative past, tense, as is normal. This takes a little bit of getting used to, but is not overly irritating, although I don't feel that it adds that much to the book. A more serious gripe is the choice of Orbus as a central character - he never really seems to come alive in the way that Sniper, Vrell, or even the Golgoloth, do and this leaves a hole at the heart of the novel and makes it less involving than some of Asher's other works.
Nevertheless, even at less than absolutely top-form, Asher is still far better, and more entertaining, than most science fiction writers, and those who like his work will certainly not be disappointed - I can heartily recommend Orbus to you. If, on the other hand, you haven't come across Asher before, then wait until you've read Gridlinked,The Skinner, and their various sequels, as you'll enjoy it more knowing the background and back story.
Sadly, I'd have to call this one "missable".
For new comers to Asher, please oh please do not read his books out of order which some reviewers seem to have done. I cannot for the life of me understand why as
this book in a line of three Spatterjay novels and if you aint read the first (The Skinner) how could you possibily hope to get the punch of the book. In fact, read all of the preceding polity novels before this one to get the fully rounded expereince.
It's a top read.
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