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Polity Agent (Ian Cormac) Paperback – Unabridged, 6 Jul 2007

4.4 out of 5 stars 37 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Tor; New edition edition (6 July 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330441523
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330441520
  • Product Dimensions: 3.8 x 11.4 x 17.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,065,529 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.

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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: 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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Format: Paperback
Brandy consuming Cormac finds himself in a perpetual series of unfortunate events throughout the series. Each catastrophe-on-brink in the Polity universe finds Cormac directing the Polity goodness against the evil from elsewhere. This is how is has happened for the first three novels and the same is true with Polity Agent. However, where Asher failed in a minor way (three star reviews) in Brass Man and Line of Polity is in the fact that the entire plot revolved around an evil sprung from nowhere... nowhere meaning having very little connection at all to the first novel, Gridlinked. The following incidents in those two novels felt random and tied too closely to Asher's typical blow-scary-alien-wildlife-up-with-big-guns. It felt old.

Thankfully, Asher steps away from the broken record and tries to reinvigorate the Cormac series with Polity Agent. With the main villain Skellor having been plastered against a brown dwarf star in the third novel, a new evil must naturally arrive to replace the `ying' where the `yang' has been lost. But again the replacement villain is conceived from the ether and pursues a unidirectional goal- explore the Jain node and deceive the Polity. There's also malcontent AI bent on the destruction of the Polity and to approach the technological singularity with other merged AIs. As ever, Dragon (the remaining two spheres at least) take a prominent position in the novel. More detail about the Dragon, the Makers and the Jain technology are given, which enriches the story and the entire series, as a whole.

If only every character didn't `grimace' or `grin' so much. Asher obnoxiously oversues some words like this to generically characterize a kill-for-joy character.
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