The best science fiction balances the speculative elements against the need for a good, page-turning read. This is one of the best. There is a fully developed future society that just works. There is the impact of technology and a changed culture on ordinary people, and there are fully-developed characters in an interesting plot. In particular, Asher hasn't run away from a future with fully-developed strong AI. So many authors today have far-future, technologically-advanced settings with computers as dumb as my iPhone. Or they come up with elaborate, contrived explanations why AI is impossible. Neal Asher just takes such advances in his stride and moves on with the action. However, the best thing about this book is that it is the first of a series of equally good works about the career of Ian Cormac. So, if you like this then many hours of reading pleasure await. And if like good SF, you'll probably like this.