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Gridlinked [Paperback]

Neal Asher
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Book Description

June 8 2002 Ian Cormac

In outer space you can never feel sure that your adversary is altogether human. The runcible buffers on Samarkand have been mysteriously sabotaged, killing many thousands and destroying a terraforming project. Agent Cormac must reach it by ship to begin an investigation. But Cormac has incurred the wrath of a vicious psychopath called Pelter, who is prepared to follow him across the galaxy with a terrifying android in tow. Despite the sub-zero temperature of Samarkand, Cormac discovers signs of life: they are two ‘dracomen’, alien beasts contrived by an extra-galactic entity calling itself ‘Dragon’, which is a huge creature consisting of four conjoined spheres of flesh each a kilometre in diameter. Caught between the byzantine wiles of the Dragon and the lethal fury of Pelter, Cormac needs to skip very nimbly indeed to rescue the Samarkand project and protect his own life.

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From Amazon

Gridlinked is the talented Neal Asher's first full-length SF novel, an accomplished rapid-action thriller crammed with high technology, obsessed characters, and the glittering boys' toys of advanced weaponry.

Cormac is a legendary Earth Central Security agent, the James Bond of a wealthy future where "runcible" transmitters allow interstellar travel in an eye blink. Unfortunately Cormac is nearly burnt out, "gridlinked" to the AI net so long that his humanity has drained away. He has to take the cold turkey cure and shake his addiction to instant online access, even while investigating the unique runcible disaster that's wiped out the entire human colony on planet Samarkand in a 30 megaton explosion ...

Hot on Cormac's heels is vengeful terrorist Pelter, backed up by his unstoppable, psychotic android killer "Mr Crane" and a goon squad of mercenaries. Other trouble has been brewing since 27 years earlier, when Cormac was humanity's ambassador to a vast, incomprehensible alien that called itself Dragon. Deep beneath Samarkand's surface there are buried mysteries, fiercely guarded. And is it true that Cormac's enigmatic boss is an immortal who's lived half a millennium and was born in the 20th century?

Asher's galaxy is full of colour and sleaze, and his story rattles along at speed. There are surprises, double-crosses, elaborate lies to be seen through, astonishing escapes from certain death, and last-minute reversals. Though the ultimate fates of the lesser villains seem mildly anticlimactic, the true bad guy is dealt with in spectacular style. Sequels are hinted. Fast-moving, edge-of-the-seat entertainment. --David Langford --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.


Praise for the British Edition:

"Gritty. Now, there's a word you don't often hear in connection with science fiction -- more's the pity. If all novels could employ this atmosphere as well as Gridlinked does, I could wish that all authors followed Neal Asher's lead. Then again, this unique style is all Asher's; it's highly doubtful that a copy would be as deeply satisfying. . . .And he leaves you eager for more. . . . Is it too early in 2001 to be thinking of a top-ten list? Not with a novel this impressive."-SF site.

“I couldn’t put it down. I even ended up reading it twice. Highly recommended.”—i

“Neal Asher makes the move to the big league with Gridlinked . . . [a] fast-moving and enjoyable tale.”—Starburst magazine
--This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

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First Sentence
Angelina Pelter gazed out across a seascape as colour-drained as a charcoal drawing and felt her purpose harden: this was her home, this was the place she must defend against the silicon autocrat Earth Central and all its agents. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great British writer March 23 2004
The current crop of British sf writers have restored my faith in SciFi. Hamilton, Asher, Morgan, Banks, et all produce superior stories, tech, and characters. The American debut of Gridlinked doesn't disappoint as Asher really delivers the goods with this story of revenge, xenoc explorations, a hi-tech universe and enough action to really get your heart pumping. What a refreshing change after so much of the mindless drivel that passes for Science Fiction these days, especially the Star Wars series, Star Trek , Honor Harrington and all the rest that passes itself off as scifi. Am I just ranting or do other's feel this way?
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Impressive first novel May 26 2005
I just finished this novel last night - and it left me with a feeling that the best has yet to come from Neal Asher.
Many interesting ideas were introduced and Asher's 'Polity' promises to be a great backdrop for many future novels - likewise the main character Ian Cormac is interesting and complex enough to star in many more adventures. For me there were two things that kept it from scoring higher than 3 stars. What follows will not spoil the plot if you have yet to read the novel - however if you would rather dive in without knowing what to expect (like I do)I'd skip the rest of this review, and just buy the book - it is well worth the read.
Firstly, the theme of Cormac being separated from the grid was never fully explored later in the book. I would have liked to see this continued throughout the novel. Asher seems to forget about it half way through and focuses on Cormac as "action hero" rather than "social misfit with no humanity". Pity.
Secondly, there are 2 main plotlines and 1 tiny one which never really crossover in a way that makes sense. The revenge theme just wraps up too easily for my tastes and never connects with The Maker storyline as I hoped it would. The Stanton story ended very poorly and added nothing to the novel for me - a real shame since Stanton was a great character - I was hoping for some real interaction between him and Cormac more than just the "why choose a life of crime" conversation they have that lasts for thirty seconds.
In the end though I thought this book was quite good and I will definitely read his other novels. I would sum up his style as half way between the noir-action of Richard Morgan (Altered Carbon) and the space opera of Alistair Reynolds (Revelation Space) - both great British Sci-Fi writers who I would choose over Asher, but then again why waffle? Just read all three and don't forget to read Iain M. Banks' culture novels as well while you're at it!
-- Ryan Buckley
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3.0 out of 5 stars Great star to a potential series-maker July 19 2005
Like the reviewer below, I had some issues with the character development and treatments in this book. Asher sets up his principal character, Ian Cormac, to be a type of futuristic 007-meets-Indiana-Jones. Yet, while he spends a great deal of time in the first 1/3 of the book dealing with Cormac's inner world, I agree with the other reviewer that the treatment of Cormac's gridlink exclusion and its effects on him was rather glossed over in the last 2/3 of the novel, odd considering the title of the work. However, I got a sense early on that this book was setting up characters, technology and worlds that would re-appear later in other works, which of course I now know to be the case, as I've also read Line of Polity.
Asher seems overly enamored of twenty-dollar words when five-dollar ones would suffice. I don't believe hard sci-fi needs to be so obdurate in its word choices - he sometimes uses obscure or almost archaic English in places. While some might excuse this of him as he is British, I've spent enough time in the UK with British intellectuals to know this isn't a universal trait.
Overall, this was an enjoyable enough summer sci-fi read that I also have consumed his other books, but I don't think he's yet on par with his peers, such as Richard Morgan. All the same, I will keep reading his works.
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5.0 out of 5 stars entertaining futuristic science fiction Jan. 29 2004
The technician enters the runcible gate to star transport to the planet Samerkand, but something goes astray and his arrival ignites a nuclear explosion that kills at least ten thousand people. Earth Central Security legend Horace Blegg assigns his top gun veteran agent Ian Cormac to investigate the GRIDLINKED Samerkand disaster. Blegg also warns Cormac that his GRIDLINKED cybernetic implants that tie him into the AI network are destroying his brain. To save his mind he must delink, but can he survive without the technology he has relied on like a drug for three decades?
While Cormac struggles to adjust to an unplugged existence, he makes inquiries into the explosion. However, Arian Pelter and thugs working for him want Ian dead because Cormac killed his sister while working a separatist's case. As Cormac acts and reacts clumsily, Arian becomes self-assured that he will assassinate his enemy soon.
The technology is cleverly designed so that the reader can sense this futuristic galaxy has some unique gadgetry yet all the gizmos are interwoven into the terrific action-packed plot. The investigation subplot into whether an accident or sabotage occurred is exciting and hooks the reader even while the death count dramatically rises. However, the key to Neal Asher's fabulously complex science fiction is Cormac and Pelter whose cat and mouse contest makes for an engrossing and entertaining futuristic science fiction novel that runs at hyperspeed.
Harriet Klausner
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