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Polity Agent (Ian Cormac) Hardcover – Unabridged, 6 Oct 2006

4.4 out of 5 stars 37 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Tor (6 Oct. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1405054980
  • ISBN-13: 978-1405054980
  • Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 4 x 24.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 185,736 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Book Description

Space opera on a magnificent, non-stop roller-coaster of action

About the Author

Neal Asher was born and bred and on the Essex coast, and still lives there. His previous novels include GRIDLINKED, THE SKINNER, THE LINE OF POLITY, COWL and BRASS MAN.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Polity Agent is the fourth book in the Agent Cormac series, a series I've been catching up with and thoroughly enjoying. The second and third books in the series, The Line of Polity and Brass Man, dealt with the emergence of Jain tech and Skellor's use of it and was a fairly self-contained duology within the main story. Of course, just because that sub-story concluded it doesn't mean everything is fine, far from it - Jain tech is still out there and Polity Agent hits the ground running.

As a runcible opens from 800 years in the future the team that were sent to return the Maker to its civilisation in the Small Magellanic cloud comes through in a panic, the Makers overrun by Jain tech. With runcible time-travel not recommended by the AI's of the Polity due to the huge power requirements and dangers it involves, this situation is used solely to destroy the Jain infested Maker civilisation and most of the Small Magellanic cloud. This event raises many questions, most prominent of them being the purpose of Dragon, the huge bio-construct that the Makers created and sent to the Polity. Meanwhile an entity called Legate is distributing Jain nodes to certain people within the Polity, one of these being Orlandine, a haiman who takes a whole different approach to studying the Jain technology she has in her possession, while another is a dangerous separatist leader on the planet of Coloron. Meanwhile Horace Blegg, the infamous immortal of legend, is slowly learning more and more about jain tech and of himself, while Cormac continues to discover more about Dragon while trying to limit and eradicate the spread of Jain tech. And then there is the King of Hearts, a renegade AI whose journey out of the Polity leads him to discover something very dangerous indeed.

Where to start?
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Format: Hardcover
The forth book in the Ian Cormac series following on from Gridlinked, The Line of Polity and Brass Man is another fantastic book with Asher again showing that he is one of the few British authors that deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as Iain M Banks (who incidentally gets a nice acknowledgement in the foreword along with Richard Dawkins).

Set in a time where inter-stellar humanity is governed by enlighted AIs, this book sees Ian Cormac again thrown into the middle of trying to save the Polity from the threat of the Jain. To call Ian Cormac a super-agent undersells the character massively. He is no one dimensional futuristic James Bond but rather an interesting and flawed man with a hint of mystique that might explain why an unaugmented human is in charge of AI minds magnitudes more superior to his. Other previous characters are also back, such as Mika and Horace Blegg. The storyline of the latter is particularly good as it raises as many questions as it answers.

The Jain have been previously mentioned in this series as the source of Skellor's (a previous adversary) abilities. Polity Agent fleshes out more details of the threat these Von Neumann machine-like objects pose, the history of the Jain and who is orchestrating the current situation.

Polity Agent is a gripping read, both involving and exciting. All in all, this is another excellent book richly deserving of 5 stars
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A strong follow up from Brass Man. We get to learn more about the mysterious Horace Blegg and the inner workings of the Polity. Its an intriguing world, with politics and economics controlled by AIs. Almost like Plato's ideal state, except instead of a triad of detached rulers we have a multiply of AIs who, when push comes to show does not rule based on cold logic alone. This is a fantastic book and, oh the action scenes! Grand space battles with masers and tasers whizzing through space and gory close up combats. Ian Cormac and NEJ (a space ship) doing some pretty amazing stuff on all levels. I cant wait to see where this will end. I mean it, I cant wait! I need the next book now, now!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed this book ,great ending and the story towards the end showed the polity as vulnerable and the AI not as clever as they first thought. Great book and worth reading although you need to read the others in the series.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
After mourning the loss of Ian Banks I have been delighted by Neal Ashers books. A worthy successor with imagination, inventiveness and just the right amount of background detail to leave you eager to pick up the next one. Peter Hamilton could do with reading them.
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Format: Paperback
I've recently become a huge fan of Asher's work after reading through the Cormac series. This book didn't disappoint in the slightest, but in all honesty needs some patience to get through. I'm not sure what it is but Asher seems to pen these epic bricks of paper that plod along at a slow but detailed pace until the final few chapters and then the entire book explodes with intrigue and suspense.

Even though the story is pockmarked with action scenes that deter from the story there just never seems enough to actually grab me. But you come to expect this and once you fall in love with the universe and it's inhabiting races you endure, learning and picking up some incredibly detailed knowledge of a fictional destination. Every world has it's own breathtakingly diverse and strangely plausible wildlife and geological elements, no stone is left unturned in what sometimes simply transforms into a guide to the galaxy.

But as I said the story lurches forward and more and more characters are introduced and disappear making some of the plot and individuals difficult to follow and (I found) hard to care about (even in death). Persevere through the growing crowds of characters (something which caused me to flick back to remember who the Hell is who) and the ending series of events should blow you away.

I just wish my girlfriend had an interest when I tell her how incredibly doomed the characters are and then how Asher rescues them through genuinely well thought out deus ex machina.
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