Raised to adulthood during the end of the war between the human Polity and a vicious alien race, the Prador, Ian Cormac is haunted by childhood memories of a sinister scorpion-shaped war drone and the burden of losses he doesn't remember. Cormac signs up with Earth Central Security and is sent out to help restore and maintain order on worlds devastated by the war. There he discovers that though the Prador remain as murderous as ever, they are not anywhere near as treacherous or dangerous as some of his fellow humans, some closer to him than he would like. Amidst the ruins left by wartime genocides, Cormac will discover in himself a cold capacity for violence and learn some horrible truths about his own past while trying to stay alive on his course of vengeance.
The Polity Collective is the pinnacle of space-faring civilization. Academic and insightful, its dominion stretches from Earth Central into the unfathomable reaches of the galactic void. But when the Polity finally encounters alien life in the form of massive, hostile, crablike carnivores known as the Prador, there can be only one outcome… total warfare.
Chaos reigns as the Polity, caught unawares, struggles to regain its foothold and transition itself into a military society. Starships clash, planets fall, and space stations are overrun, but for Jebel Krong and Moria Salem, two unlikely heroes trapped at the center of the action, this war is far more than a mere clash of cultures, far more than technology versus brute force… this war is personal.
Epic in scope, unrelenting in action, delivers the blistering battles and astounding literary pyrotechnics that fans of Neal Asher, author of and have come to expect. is Asher's latest and most shocking excursion into the Polity's universe of over-the-top violence and explosive action. Asher delivers a vivid, visceral, brilliantly intense space opera that you won't soon forget.
During a war between two planets in the same solar systemeach occupied by adapted humanswhat is thought to be a cosmic superstring is discovered. After being cut, this object collapses into four cylindrical pieces, each about the size of a tube train. Each is densely packed with either alien technology or some kind of life. They are placed for safety in three ozark cylinders of a massively secure space station. There, a female research scientist subsequently falls pregnant, and gives birth to quads. Then she commits suicidebut why?
By the end of the war one of the contesting planets has been devastated by the hilldiggersgiant space dreadnoughts employing weapons capable of creating mountain ranges. The quads have meanwhile grown up and are assuming positions of power in the post-war society. One of them will eventually gain control of the awesome hilldiggers.
The Polity is under attack from a melded AI entity with control of the lethal Jain technology, yet the attack seems to have no coherence.
When one of Erebuss wormships kills millions on the world of Klurhammon, a high-tech agricultural world of no real tactical significance, agent Ian Cormac is sent to investigate, though he is secretly struggling to control a new ability no human being possess…and beginning to question the motives of his AI masters.
Further attacks and seemingly indiscriminate slaughter ensue, but only serve to bring some of the most dangerous individuals in the Polity into the war. Mr Crane, the indefatigable brass killing machine sets out for vengeance, while Orlandine, a vastly-augmented haiman who herself controls Jain technology, seeks a weapon of appalling power and finds allies from an ancient war.
Meanwhile Mika, scientist and Dragon expert, is again kidnapped by that unfathomable alien entity and dragged into the heart of things: to wake the makers of Jain technology from their five-million-year slumber. But Erebuss attacks are not so indiscriminate, after all, and could very well herald the end of the Polity itself…
From eight hundred years in the future, a runcible gate is opened into the Polity and those coming through it have been sent specially to take the alien maker back to its home civilization in the Small Magellanic cloud. Once these refugees are safely through, the gate itself is rapidly shut downbecause something alien is pursuing them. The gate is then dumped into a nearby sun.
From those refugees who get through, agent Cormac learns that the Maker civilization has been destroyed by pernicious virus known as the Jain technology. This, of course, raises questions: why was Dragon, a massive biocontruct of the Makers, really sent to the Polity; why did a Jain node suddenly end up in the hands of someone who could do the most damage with it?
Meanwhile an entity called the Legate is distributing pernicious Jain nodes and a renegade attack ship, The King of Hearts, has encountered something very nasty outside the Polity itself.
Next novel in the 'Gridlinked' sequence, with the resurrection of the terrifying Mr Crane, a massive android kiling machine… and one with a grudge.
The knight errant Anderson is hunting a dragon on the primitive Out-Polity world of Cull, little knowing that far away a man — more technology than human flesh — has resurrected a brass killing machine to assist in a similar hunt that encompasses star systems.
When agent Cormac learns that his old enemy still lives, he sets out in pursuit aboard the attack ship Jack Ketch… whilst scientist Mika begins discovering the horrifying truth about that ancient technology ostensibly produced by the alien Jain, who died out five million years ago. The people of Cull must struggle desperately to survive on a planet roamed by ferocious insectile monsters, while they build the industrial base that will enable them to reach their forefathers' starship still orbiting far above them.
An entity calling itself Dragon assists them, but its motives are questionable having created genetic by-blows of humans and the hideous local autochthons, before growing bored with that game. And now Cull, for millennia geologically inactive, suffers earthquakes…
Meanwhile the brass killing machine, Mr Crane, seeks to escape a bloody past he can neither forget nor truly remember. So mindlessly he will continues his search for sanity, which he might find in an instant or not for a thousand years.
Come visit a world where you cannot draw breath… should its horrifying wildlife allow you.
Outlink station Miranda has been destroyed by a nanomycelium, and the very nature of this sabotage suggests that the alien bioconstruct Dragon — a creature as untrustworthy as it is gigantic — is somehow involved. Sent out on a titanic Polity dreadnought, the Occam Razor, agent Cormac must investigate the disaster, and also resolve the question of Masada, a world about to be subsumed as the Line of Polity is drawn across it. But the rogue biophysicist Skellor has not yet been captured, and he now controls something so potent that Polity AIs will hunt him down forever to prevent him using it.
Meanwhile on Masada, the long-term rebellion can never rise above-ground, as the slave population is subjugated by orbital laser arrays controlled by the Theocracy in their cylinder worlds, and by the fact that they cannot safely leave their labour compounds. For the wilderness of Masada lacks breathable air…and out there roam monstrous predators called hooders and siluroynes, not to mention the weird and terrible gabbleducks.
Thousands have been killed on Samarkand and a terraforming project has been destroyed. Agent Cormac must reach it by ship to begin an investigation. But he has incurred the wrath of a vicious psychopath called Arian Pelter, who follows him across the galaxy with a terrifying android in tow.
Sable Keech is a walking dead man, and the only one to have been resurrected by nanochanger. Did he succeed because he was infected by the Spatterjay virus, or because he came late to resurrection in a tank of seawater? Tracing the man's last-known seaborne journey, Taylor Bloc wants to know the truth. He also wants so much else — adulation, power, control — and will go to any lengths to achieve them. An ancient hive mind, almost incomprehensible to the human race, has sent an agent to this uncertain world. Does it simply want to obtain the poison 'sprine' that is crucial to immortality — and, if so, maybe Janer must find it and stop it.
Meanwhile, still faced with the ennui of immortality, Erlin has her solitude rudely interrupted by a very angry whelkus titanicus, and begins the strangest of journeys. Deep in the ocean the Spatterjay virus has wrought a terrible change that will affect them all. Something dormant for ten years is breaking free, and once again the aftershocks of an ancient war will focus on this watery world. And Sniper, for ten years the Warden of Spatterjay, finally takes delivery of his new drone shell. It's much better than his old one: powerful engines, more lethal weapons, thicker armour. He's going to need them.
Welcome to Spatterjay…where sudden death is the normal way of life;
To the remote planet Spatterjay come three travellers with very different missions. Janer is directed there by the hornet Hive-mind; Erlin comes to find the sea captain who can teach her to live; and Keech — dead for seven hundred years — has unfinished business with a notorious criminal.
Spatterjay is a watery world where the human population inhabits the safety of the Dome and only the quasi-immortal hoopers are safe outside amidst a fearful range of voracious life-forms. Somewhere out there is Spatterjay Hoop himself, and monitor Keech cannot rest until he can bring this legendary renegade to justice for atrocious crimes committed centuries ago during the Prador Wars. Keech does not realise that Hoop's body is running free on an island wilderness, while his living head is confined in a box on an Old Captain's ships. Nor does he know that the most brutal Prador of all is about to pay a visit, intent on wiping out all evidence of his wartime atrocities. Which means major hell is about to erupt in this chaotic waterscape.
Philip K Dick Award (nominee)
In the far future, the Heliothane Dominion is triumphant in the solar system, after a bitter war with their Umbrathane progenitors. But some of the enemy have escaped into the past, intent on wreaking havoc across time. The worst of these is Cowl, an artifically forced advance in human evolution.