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Thirteen | [Richard K. Morgan]

Thirteen

Marsalis is one of a new breed...literally. Genetically engineered by the U.S. government to embody the naked aggression and primal survival skills that centuries of civilization have erased from humankind, Thirteens were intended to be the ultimate military fighting force. The project was scuttled, however, when a fearful public branded the supersoldiers dangerous mutants, dooming the Thirteens to forced exile on Earth's distant, desolate Mars colony. But Marsalis found a way to slip back.
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Publisher's Summary

Marsalis is one of a new breed...literally. Genetically engineered by the U.S. government to embody the naked aggression and primal survival skills that centuries of civilization have erased from humankind, Thirteens were intended to be the ultimate military fighting force. The project was scuttled, however, when a fearful public branded the supersoldiers dangerous mutants, dooming the Thirteens to forced exile on Earth's distant, desolate Mars colony. But Marsalis found a way to slip back and into a lucrative living as a bounty hunter and hit man before a police sting landed him in prison - a fate worse than Mars, and much more dangerous.

Luckily, his "enhanced" life also seems to be a charmed one. A new chance at freedom beckons, courtesy of the government. All Marsalis has to do is use his superior skills to bring in another fugitive. But this one is no common criminal. He's another Thirteen, one who's already shanghaied a space shuttle, butchered its crew, and left a trail of bodies in his wake on a bloody cross-country spree. And like his pursuer, he was bred to fight to the death. Still, there's no question Marsalis will take the job. Though it will draw him deep into violence, treachery, corruption, and painful confrontation with himself, anything is better than remaining a prisoner. The real question is: can he remain sane and alive long enough to succeed?

©2007 Richard K. Morgan; (P)2007 Tantor Media Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Stellar." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (1070 )
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  •  
    Trip Williams Travelers Rest, SC, United States 10-27-12
    Trip Williams Travelers Rest, SC, United States 10-27-12 Member Since 2004

    Did you know you can put in a set of Ear-Buds, slap your Hearing Protectors over them, and Mow the lawn, Weed-Eat, etc, without your book being drowned out by engine noise? I recently listened to "Augustus" while wandering through the Roman Forum. I'm on my third set of "Sleep-Phones". I've been addicted to audible since 2004... I think my friends are starting to suspect I have a problem ;)

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Pure Awesomeness!"

    This is an offshoot of the Takeshi Kovacs Series, using the same universe, with a different main character; a "13". A man genetically engineered from the ground up to enhance dominant, Alpha-Male, Traits, with no dilution. Pure "used future" awesomeness!!!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gail Seattle, WA, United States 03-14-12
    Gail Seattle, WA, United States 03-14-12 Member Since 2007
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    "Jesusland vs. FullFrontalBook*"

    As Morgan states in this interesting dystopian book, "From the discomfort of truth there is only one refuge and that is ignorance. I do not need to be comfortable, and I will not take refuge. I demand to know." I really admire and like this original quote, but alas, blind, partial, Truth-i-Ness Rules in this dystopia! A la Dave Barry, I am not making this up...Morgan relates that the American Heartland and the dastardly South have seceded from the US, the area is renamed 'Jesusland' and is populated solely by sub-IQ "F***ing barbarians" , "Christians", "racists", "Arian cultists", "evil preachers", "weak, quiet women" who love beatings by "brutish, unemployable, manly-men". Fortunately, the "intelligent" progressive "good" people in New York and Los Angeles save the planet and form areas where no Jesusland barbarians can object and even kids get to see all the corporate ads which ALL show full action clips of all variations of the sex act to sell goods...even projected in the sky. Wow! What a place! Still, the reader shoulders on and ignores the truth-i-ness stuff because it is a very good and powerful dystopian story and the author can spell. Later, the reader may start laughing after HUNDREDS, yes hundreds, of nasty mentions of Jesusland and its people...especially the dastardly southerners, who, can you imagine, believe in state's rights. Geesh! Eventually, Morgan runs out of nasty adjectives so he repeats a bunch; for instance the "F" word precedes 'Jesusland' about 70 times. For those who are happy about the Jesusland stuff, read it and it will give you many new adjectives which describe how to hate, and a good story. For those who might not like the hate part, I'd read it anyway because the hate-spew is not sly or sneaky, it ends up funny-ish, sledgehammer hate think. If you can ignore it and see it for what it is, there is a good story hidden between the spew. * = The future name for F***Book. I did make that up.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    JCL Coarsegold, CA USA 08-14-11
    JCL Coarsegold, CA USA 08-14-11 Member Since 2004

    JCL

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    "Vintage Morgan!"

    A very entertaining picture of a pronounced dystopian future. The backstory is a rich tapestry of interesting pieces of information: vintage Morgan. A troubling aspect of Mr. Morgan???s works is that he seems to lack the vision to give his stories any satisfying meaning. They are elaborate, highly detailed ??? brilliantly detailed! ??? tapistries that ultimately have no particular point. After a fascinating and extremely violent romp from Mars to The Rim Countries and Jesusland, ???Thirteen??? peters out with an ending reminiscent of ???Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid???. This is unsatisfying because Mr. Morgan???s creative genius deserves more. His works to date are strongly based on a philosophy of scientific realism: All biology is portrayed in electro-chemical-mechanical detail. All living things are deterministic. No Steve Talbot here! As in ???Altered Carbon,??? where the ???Catholics??? are portrayed as unscientific, dogma-ridden simpletons for their belief that a digitized personality lacked a soul and therefore ???sleeved??? humans were basically zombies, here the residents of Jesusland are portrayed with unremitting disapproval. In Mr. Morgan???s works to date, religious impulses and ideas are universally repellant and destructive. The lives of his non-religious characters, though, are hardly attractive; more ???Clockwork Orange??? than desirable. Still, the rich detail of the story is worth your time.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Eugene South Euclid, OH, United States 01-12-11
    Eugene South Euclid, OH, United States 01-12-11 Member Since 2008
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    "Great Sci-Fi"

    My only complaint about this book, and about Morgan's writing in general is that the plot often seems to stumble around aimlessly through the second act of the book. Of course once all is revealed towards the end the aimlessness picks up meaning, but it sure would be nice if the plot was a bit less muddy.

    The positives on the other hand are huge. Morgan builds an incredibly deep, realistic, and thought out world that the reader gets slowly submerged into. Exploring this world and it's consequences is really the greatest pleasure of the book. Morgan achieves what only the few great sci-fi authors do, he finds the perfect balance between entertaining the reader and presenting the reader with some very interesting ideas and questions that will make them look at the world, and themselves through different eyes.

    While I think the book could have been a little better, it stands head and shoulders above so many others out there that I give it 5 stars.

    The narration is great, switching flawlessly between accents, the characters really develop their own voices. Totally worth a listen. Unless you're from "Jesus-Land", you might not be able to handle it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Steve Delray Beach, FL, United States 05-01-10
    Steve Delray Beach, FL, United States 05-01-10 Member Since 2001

    A well written book is a gem.

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    "More Political Science than Science Fiction...."

    I am a screaming bleeding heart liberal. Tattoo on me a hammer an sickle and the red star. Socialist health care? Bring it on. So now you know where I'm coming from, OK?. Yeah for Obama, and The New Deal, I'm as left as they get. So here's my take on 'Thirteen".
    Too much politics. I agree with everything Morgan says; an uninformed/mislead proletariat that votes against it's own self interest in favor of a self serving elite is the way of all major societies in history. Including our own today. But don't hit me over the head with in every paragraph. OK, OK, I get; it we're stupid. I agree, but can we move on with the story?
    Also, the 'future speak' got old. I lost patience waiting for explanations of odd phrases and words that everyone supposedly finds second nature in the 'Thirteen' world. A little too exclusionary and distracting.
    Reduce the density of the political screed, and clarify the futuristic language - this would have been a lot tighter and more interesting read for me.
    The narrator Simon Vance: outstanding.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Peregrine Los Angeles, CA, United States 06-22-08
    Peregrine Los Angeles, CA, United States 06-22-08 Member Since 2006

    If it weren't for Audible I'd never get any reading done.

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    "One of Morgan's best"

    I've now read all 5 of Morgan's novels and this is nearly as good as Altered Carbon, my favorite. Like the others, it's very violent and the hero is basically a sociopathic killer, but you sympathize with him all the same. It's great cyberpunk, this time set in the year 2110 or so.

    The British reader does a good job, tho' some of his American accents sound too disdainful for my ear.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mini Apple Canuck Minneapolis, MN 11-28-07
    Mini Apple Canuck Minneapolis, MN 11-28-07 Member Since 2003
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    "Worth reading"

    If you like Morgan's previous books then you will like this one. The plot is not as engaging as any of his previous works. It serves as the filler between present day and Market Forces and the trilogy. Don't listen to the people who wrote about the book being hard on religion. It's science fiction and is just presenting a possible view of the future. It's not hard to imagine why the Southern United States could be called Jesus Land...

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    S. Caruso Elkridge, MD 10-09-07
    S. Caruso Elkridge, MD 10-09-07 Member Since 2007

    Steve

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    "Excellent start of a new series"

    I have listened to most of Richard K. Morgan's stories from Audible.com, and looked forward to this one with some doubt after reading the reviews. I was pleasantly surprised. This was a very good story. If you enjoyed his Kovaks books, you'll like this one as well. Same tortured grayish protagonist. Same complicated twisting story. It is violent, dark, a little dirty. Not as bad as some of the reviews I have read suggest, though. Great cyberpunk-SciFi fiction. I can't wait for the next one.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jim Nashivlle, TN, USA 08-03-07
    Jim Nashivlle, TN, USA 08-03-07 Member Since 2002
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    "Can I have another"

    This is one of my favorite authors, and I have read all of his books. It's true if you don't like "dirty words" or think the name JesusLand is offensive, don't buy this book. And if you think that sex is the work of the devil, or if your just to stupid to follow someone thinking ahead of his time, go read something else.

    However, if you want to read one of the brightest stars in the sci-fi field read Altered Carbon, 13, or any of the other books Mr. Morgan has written. He fleshes out his characters with such clarity that their actions seem natural and logical. Mr. Morgan main characters all have a strong inner strength, counting on themselves, not looking for help or forgiveness from the government, society, God or anyone else.

    I guess when it comes down to it that is why I like his books so much, they are fast paced, intelligent, thought provoking, smart, great characters, and it has some of the best sex parts I have read. Authors like Mr. Morgan are the reason to read, he is thought provoking, even though you might not agree with him but I can promise you this book is great fun, and that is the real reason to read it.

    I gave it four stars only because it is not quite as good as Altered Carbon, but then only a few have been.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Clive La Crescenta, CA, USA 08-01-07
    Clive La Crescenta, CA, USA 08-01-07 Member Since 2004
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    "A Good Listen"

    This book is much like a pre-history to market forces or his other books (awaken Furies). An intresting main character and a good story. If you like his other books, I think you will like this one as well.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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