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Neal Asher - Line WarLine War is the final book in the Agent Cormac series by the English author Neal Asher. Although it leaves the door open, not just for further Polity books, but also for further Cormac ones – and I’m sure that there is much more to be told, never mind a marked to buy them!

The book is a direct continuation of Polity Agent – if it weren’t for the size of the resulting book, this could have been a single story (although I appreciate it being broken into two books instead of creating a Neal Stephenson-style wrist-breaker!).
Earth Central Security is massing its forces, to counter the inevitable incursion by Erebus, although to a number of observers it all seems a bit too little too late. And Erebus does attack, although not in a way or place that seems to make much sense.
Agent Cormac is sent on a fact-finding mission together with Arach and Scar, but without most of the other combatants usually by his side – some because the Jerusalem ordered them somewhere else, but a lot because they are dead. And Cormac feels the loss of his friends and companions from Polity Agent (include Horace Blegg, aka Agent Prime Cause).
Mika, meanwhile, re-joins one of the Dragon Spheres in a new Observation Station – and Dragon promptly takes himself (and her) away on a fact-finding mission of his own.

I won’t spoil the book for you – if Asher’s Polity, and especially the Cormac series are to your taste then this is for you. If you have not read any of the books then the above doesn’t meam much to you I’d suspect, and I would recommend that you start at the beginning, with Gridlinked.

The book is structured similarly to the other books in the series – the chapters start with their usual intros (some of which are misleading) providing background and history on relevant topics. The killing is, as in all those books, on a million/billion scale, but nowhere near as up-front, personal, and displayed as in the new Owner series (a good thing in my book).
And, of course, we finally get the answer that the last few books have been building up to: who or what is Agent Cormac?

I don’t recall any dull parts of the book – it pulls forward to its conclusion without let-up, and is thus a rather compelling page turner (I do recall multiple missed train and bus stops… beware!).
There are a few occasions where Asher pulls one of his naughty tricks by reporting an exchange verbatim, up to the point where some key information is relayed, which he then withholds from the reader, and later uses for some misdirection, double-cross, or shell game (and #deity knows there’s enough of that in here!) whilst leaving the reader guessing. Not always appreciated…

Recommended (the entire series, actually) for fans of large-scale Space Opera!

More Neal Asher

Title: Line War
Author: Neal Asher
Series: Agent Cormac
Series Number: 5
Reviewer: Markus
Reviewer URL:
Publisher:  Tor
Publisher URL:
Publication Date: 2008
Review Date: 130502
ISBN: 0230714153
Price: UKP
Format: HB
Topic: SF
Topic: Space Opera


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