The Voyage of the Sable Keech (Spatterjay) Hardcover – Unabridged, 17 Feb 2006
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'As well as...narrative energy, another of Asher's strengths lies in his world-creation...his detailed imagining of a demented ecology...' -- Interzone
'What's most striking about The Voyage of the Sable Keech is its sense of supreme story-telling confidence' -- Interzone
'a thrilling page-turner, but...also an unsettling reinvention of an already monstrous world...and a hell of a lot of fun.' -- Interzone
A return to the water-bound world of Spatterjay, teeming with bizarre characters and gruesome monstersSee all Product description
Top customer reviews
The Sable Keech of the title is a boat built for 'Reifications'. These 'Reifs' are people who have been killed but their bodies and minds held together by technology. The name of the boat refers to the only reification who ever successfully 'rose from the dead' through a combination of the Spatterjay virus and nanotechnology and whose re-animation has inspired a cult to follow in his footsteps.
Nothing is quite as it seems however: the WindCatchers getting 'auged' and waking up to the possibilities of their world, the re-appearance of a Prador adult, the robot drone Sniper getting his new (and fully militarised) drone body after 10 years as the planets AI warden and a coup amongst the Reifs and, of course the normal everyday issues of trying to survive on a planet where pretty much everything is lethal.
Neal Asher is one of the few British sci-fi writers that can be mentioned in the same name as Iain M Banks. He has a fluid writing style with a great sense of plot timing that makes for a gripping and exciting story set in an entirely believable possible future. If I have any issues with this book, it's the authors tendency to rely a little too much on the lifeforms of Spatterjay and other Polity planets at the expense of the developments of the main characters but that is really a minor gripe compared to the excellence of the book.
You will enjoy this book more if you have read the previous book [...], but this book is certainly good enough to stand on it's own. A definite 5 stars.
This story continues from The Skinner and is delightfully written. It expands your knowledge of the planet Spatterjay. It’s full of excitement and death, an adventure and certainly rivets your attention onto a future time when space travel is normal and ubiquitous. Worth reading.
By placing the action in the same setting with the same characters, the book comes off as a bit twee. The eponymous Sable Keech has easily enough character to act as the principle in another work, but it would need to be away from Splatterjay to avoid retreading old ground.
Asher shows some real flare when he writes of Sniper, but allot of the action with the Hoopers was just too familiar to be really gripping.
It is the curse of a great author to be held to extremely demanding standards, but at the end of the day it would be another of his books that I would recommend to a friend, or to you.
The book is only for the serious fan and should be avoided by any new reader to Mr Asher's work, who should start with Gridlinked, The Skinner or Cowl
Voyage, despite my promises to read it slowly, is one of those books that just swiftly changes your priorities for you. Neal has mastered the art of switching focus between plots and sub-plots, main characters and minor to such a degree, that he switches plots at the exact right moment to hold up momentum for the plot being switched from and cleanly into the next.
voyage comes as a follow up to the classic "the skinner" which i suggest you read first, though, he does a brilliant job of making the book stand on it's on, with just the right amount of back story.
the world is Spatterjay, where a virus left to it's own devices for untold time, has produced immortality in it's hosts.
combine this with a dark past with human slave trade with an alien race known as Prador, and mysterious Hive minds jockeying for possession of Sprine, the one substance known to kill the Spatterjay virus, and it's host, and it virtual chaos, as a ship full of "reifs" attempt to re-create the voyage of Sable Keech, the own known reif to successfully come back from the dead.
seems like this would be to busy of a storyline, but asher weaves it together in a style i personally have grown to love.
five stars isn't enough.
Perhaps its greatest merit is that it remains so highly entertaining throughout, in spite of being above average length, with a surprisingly large number of likable characters (my favourite being an AI drone - an idea Asher thanks I.M.Banks for).
This is my first Asher book but definitely not my last.
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