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on 20 June 2017
You like airships? Gunfights? AI? Second World War adventures? Hackers? Ninjas? Murder mysteries? Cyborgs? Monkeys?

Well, ok, maybe having a liking for monkeys straight off isn’t entirely necessary. You’ll definitely like Ack-Ack by the end of the book!

I love the genre-hopping in this; it never feels forced, but it incorporates so many different elements that it’s wonderful. The plot’s page-turning, the book’s great fun, and the characters are excellent; Ack-Ack is brilliantly cynical and suitably violent and Victoria’s drive pushes the plot onwards, along with Merovech’s desire for a quiet life (spoiler: he doesn’t get it). I want to read the next ones – it’s not a major cliffhanger but it’s such an interesting world that I’m looking forward to the next ones.
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on 11 February 2018
Ack-Ack Macaque is a cynical, one-eyed, cigar-chomping monkey, who is a Second World War flying ace... or is he? France and Great Britain merged in the 1950s and the nuclear-zeppelin-filled present day is a definite alternative. We start off with two separate stories that eventually merge. Victoria Valois is on the run from the terrifying thug who killed her ex husband, took his brain and who wants to kill her and steal her soul catcher - an intimate record of her mind which can be used to make a duplicate. Meanwhile in France the heir to the British throne illegally breaks in to his mother's research facility with his girlfriend and then goes on the run.. with a monkey. Yes THAT monkey. There's an international plot going on which looks all set to start a nuclear war with China unless our intrepid heroes can stop it. It's a great page-turner and an original story. I'd read all the good reviews and they were right.
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on 5 March 2016
It’s World War II, although not as we know it. A hard-drinking monkey pilots a Spitfire and when he manages to fight his way back to the airbase it’s attached by hordes of parachuting ninjas. Despite a daunting rate of attrition on the side of the allies, there is no shortage of volunteers, while the monkey himself seems indestructible. Meanwhile, in an alternative contemporary reality, a woman who has had half her brain replaced with gelware following an accident investigates the murder of her husband, a sentient recording of whom acts a slightly nagging sidekick. Then there is the Price of Wales, who is in love with a girl he shouldn’t be and who may not be who he thinks he is…
This book has got pretty much everything you want from a high concept SF thriller. There’s the laconic central character untroubled overly by moral niceties whose innate monkeyness is nonetheless never in doubt; ‘Don’t smile at me’, he warns a human colleague, ‘I’ll see it as a threat and rip your face off’. That he manages lines like these and still retains our interest and even sympathy is a hallmark of the quality of the writing. There’s also the resourceful heroine, who balances grief and horror with emergent capabilities that have more in common with the hero than she realises. Finally, there is a great sinister conspiracy that is cleverly enmeshed with the fates of the two main characters and also that of the Prince of Wales, who finds his increasingly stifling roster of duties the very least of his problems and whose dreams of an ordinary life put him in mortal danger.
The book abounds with ironies as it explores continuity of consciousness and the classic SF conundrum of what it is to be human. In a satisfying reversal of reality, characters find an existence after death, while in games they are only allowed one life. Meanwhile, Europe finds itself in flux (in art as in life); however, it’s Britain and France that form the axis of power, while huge zeppelins traverse the continent, constituting mini-states in themselves.
The novel has a slightly Chandleresque feel; Ack-Ack Macaque essays a 40s stoicism, albeit leavened with a contemporary blasé enthusiasm for ultraviolence, while the heroine becomes a detective investigating the murder of her husband, an understandably confused character who could end up deleted at any moment. This vulnerability and the fact that the couple had separated and are now forced back together again are details that help ground the novel in recognisable humanity. However, the pace is terrific with just the right kind of cliff hanger chapter endings, so you’ll probably read this in just a few sittings.
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on 16 January 2016
An enjoyable adventure, The stakes are high, the risks are real!

A rip-roaring adventure ride that will take you from a virtual game simulation of World War 2 to the cyber-steam-punk(ish) 2050's of Europe. This book has everything; Digital ghosts of humans, Nuclear-Powered Blimps, corporate skullduggery, a Cult, Cyborgs and an uplifted sentient one-eyed Macaque Monkey with anger/rage issues. (Don't call him a Monkey!)

This is alternative-History/Science Fiction with a dash of Cyber-Punk/Steam-Punk flavour thrown in for good measure.

Think Biggles, If the adventures of Biggles had been dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st Century!

Although this book is book 1 of 3, Ack-Ack Macaque can be enjoyed as a stand-alone if you don't like multi-book series.
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on 4 August 2016
Originally I gave this book 3 stars, but after a few days digestion time I decided to up it to a 4. After reading the blurb I thought I knew the direction this book was headed. Boy was I wrong! You follow two main characters, Victoria who is searching the answer of her husbands death and Prince Merovech who seems to bumble his way into rescuing an ape AI character from a MORPG. The story does follow that line of crazy with massive conspiracies, funny one liners and an ape that swears more than I do! Its amazing!

The book actually delves into some very deep ideas of humanity, cyborgs, dictatorships and people thinking they know best. It does this in such a way that you don't realise it is so deep until you have had a few days to process it.

I would recommend this to fans of David Webber, and Issac Assimov with a twisted sense of humor.
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on 21 April 2014
A cigar chewing, gun toting talking money laying waste to nazi ninjas. More cheese than cheddar gorge right? Surprisingly not. The exciting and energetic opening to this book goes well with the retro pulp cover. More importantly it sets the scene nicely. All is not what it seems and the author somehow manages to twist the fanciful aspects through the plot in such an accomplished manner that somehow a monkey with a grenade launcher doesn’t seem at all strange.

Putting the monkey aside for a minute (not an easy thing to do) there is a lot more to this book. The alternate history aspects of this book really caught my imagination. What if Britain and France joined together in the post-war ear to become a European super power. The EU because the European Commonwealth under the rule of the crown. There are also cyberpunk some unusual elements to this book. Usually there is a mature technology base but in this story the cybernetic implants are a new and secret experiment used for nefarious means.

I tried not to but I need to mention the monkey some more. If you want to sum up his character try shouting his name out loud. Somehow for me it evokes a simian treetop battle. There is more to Ack-Ack than a violent monkey. How would enhanced language and reasoning abilities impact a monkey? Would it become more human or would the natural inclinations of a monkey just be more effectively carried out? These are the questions I couldn’t help thinking about as I read this book. I loved the way the author portrayed this character.

This book sounds silly but isn’t. It is character driven and this is backed up in the extras at the end of the book. I’ll be buying more books by Mr Powell and you should too.
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on 22 March 2018
I don't know how to begin with this book ... it cyberpunk, alternative history, science fiction and it has a cigar-chewing monkey flying a Spitfire. The description fascinated me and made no sense whatsoever but I am so glad I chose to but it, within the first 3 chapters I was utterly hooked and by the end, it made complete sense! The bad guys are bad, the good guys are good and the story is just brilliant.
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on 3 January 2018
I had this on my list of potential purchases for ages, and kept putting it off as the synopsis made me think this had to be a comedy sci-fi spoof, and I never seemed quite in the mood for that. Going on holiday I finally bit the bullet and downloaded it and well, was I wrong. Hard to believe until you read it but somehow the author manages to make the absurd elements work entirely believably in the world he has created. There certainly is humour, but it comes out of the characters, not at their expense. It is a rip-roaring adventure as other reviewers have said, but also surprisingly thoughtful in amongst all the battles and explosions. So good, that I instantly downloaded the two sequels.
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on 5 August 2013
I've really been struggling to find a book I could really get my teeth into. Short stories weren't holding my attention and novels were dragging their heels. I needed something fast and wild. Something with story and characters. Something with a sense of fun. This is summer, damn it! I want my prose to thrill me. And so in steps the stunningly crazy world of Ack-Ack Macaque. I don't want to say too much about the plot. I don't want to ruin the fun! All I will say is if you love your fiction pulped and your storylines sizzling with otherwordly madness then this is for you. Come on in and join the crazy. This book is everything you need to keep you grinning ear to ear. Mr Powell, I salute you. Mr Macaque, I both fear and respect you.
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on 25 March 2015
I decided to buy this book after hearing the author on the radio promoting it.
A choice well made. A great story.
How is it possible that a one eyed monkey can be a WW2, gun slinging, cigar smoking, talking Spitfire pilot? Well in this book it happens and it works perfectly and what’s more Powell makes the whole thing completely believable.
I don’t want to give anything away, other than I’ve completely immersed myself in this book for the past two weeks.
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