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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Format: Paperback|Change
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on 24 May 2017
Good book and reasonable price
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VINE VOICEon 14 April 2008
I love space opera and this series, the Agent Cormac novels, has delivered in spades. Line war is billed as it's conclusion, my thoughts on that later, and contains the usual rip roaring multi threaded action we have come to expect as Cormac uncovers a very nasty conspiracy which takes him from fighting on the frontiers to the very heart of the Polity.

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.
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VINE VOICEon 25 August 2008
Asher has dropped the ball a couple of times in his previous "Polity" novels - Line of Polity ends in a confusing blur, Brass Man just isn't very good, treading cautiously between fantasy and sci-fi, and Polity Agent basically has too much going on all the way to the end. Prador Moon might be great, but until the paperback is a fiver, I'm not paying any more for a 220-page novel.

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.
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on 27 January 2013
First up, Asher is just about my favourite current author, right up there along with Reynolds. When I first started reading science fiction ages ago it was Banks and Asher has kind of taken his place for me.

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.
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on 4 October 2015
Neal Asher continues the Agent Cormac series with this, The Line War. I have read many science fiction series and a great deal of them become a little more stale with each episode. Not so with Agent Cormac. They get better. Neal Asher writes with breathtaking scope. His characters feel real and are filled with the imperfections that the 'real' always have. Whilst sometimes highly technically descriptive, Asher switches prose just as the brain begins to hurt as if, like Earth Central, he has fully predicted his reader! I was a massive fan of the late, great Iain M Banks and his magnificent Culture series and have been found wanting since his sad passing. Neal Asher has come to the rescue, breathing life and just the perfect blend of suspense, technology and sarcasm into his own cleverly crafted, and most believable, universe. If you are/were a fan of Banks, you're going to love The Agent Cormac series! Well done Neal Asher.
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on 21 September 2015
I am a bit amazed that it took me so many Neal Asher books to realise that he isn't very good. I read The Skinner first, and then Gridlinked. Both were excellent, but each series gradually went downhill. By the time you get to this fifth Cormac book, its pretty tired.

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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on 21 October 2016
What an amazing denouement to the Ian Cormac series. Who would have guessed that the axe would come back to strike the initiator? It has been a gripping rollercoaster ride of a novel. I don't normally go for syfy (yeah, I know I spelt it 'differently'), but this has been an incredible insight into the possibilities of human and technological evolution that no other author has been able to describe quite so vividly. I couldn't put the book down till it was done. Oddly enough, I am glad that this is the end. It couldn't be improved upon. Nicely done Neal!!!
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on 9 November 2015
Ties together the sprawling Cormac series quite nicely - thank goodness! Another reviewer pointed out the overuse of the word "grimace" which every character seems to do all the time. Once you've spotted that, the word "grimace" becomes almost a bizarre meme.

It's a better story than the other three books after Gridlinked and has some thought provoking ideas about AI and so on. If only this Polity stuff were better written.
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on 30 April 2014
Only 4/5 because I thought it could be a little shorter, on the other hand it brings together plot strings from most (if not all) the other Cormac novels. It ties off the plot nicely while it also leaves the possibility for further books in the series so you learn more about the Jain, the Dragon and most important Earth Central and Cormac himself.
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on 11 October 2011
Backing off the prior emphasis of big battles and baddie beasties, Asher takes a more direct, traditional approach to a novel- a plot. Similar in standard to Gridlink, where he first created his Ian Cormac series, Asher has decided once again to put his one-trick pony show off to the side while actually trying to wrap up the series once and for all. Granted, there must be blood and blasts somewhere in the novel for Asher-sake, but it's definitely toned down.

Whereas the last three books have seen a cavalcade of enemies, horrific animals and flora and a slow evolution of the Polity's relationship with Dragon, only now in Book Five does the Dragon/Polity relationship, the Jain/Dragon relationship and the Cormac/Earth Central relationship come into play. These three pillars of the plot foundation assure the long-term Asher reader (this being my eleventh to-date) a solid good read with many glimpses of truth in the relationships stated above.

My once hitch is my once held notion that the Jain technology was one with a ferocious appetite for submission and destruction; now in Book Five we see much of dead or hibernating Jain tech. All of this Jain is repeatedly described as coral-like structures, ad nauseum. Even the live Jain tech is always portrayed as silver tendrils. It would have been nice to see a change of vocabulary regarding these adjectives but Asher does ramp up the vocab throughout the novel, though not enough for having me reach for my dictionary.

Through all the wonderful things Jain tech can do, during the trials Cormac finds himself in with his new capabilities and at the all the points where the AIs bestow their wisdom and humor to the cast is where Asher finds his niche in Book Five here. From one toehold to the next, the reader to taken casually through the well-structured, well-plotted and well-defined novel which isn't too flashy or too blasé. Not quite a re-read but well worth it for any Asher fan following the series!
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