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Publisher's Summary

Created to die - determined to live.

Jack Four - one of 20 human clones - has been created to be sold. His purchasers are the alien prador, and they only want him for their experimentation program. But there is something different about Jack. No clone should possess the knowledge that’s been loaded into his mind. And no normal citizen of humanity’s Polity worlds would have this information.

The prador’s king has been mutated by the Spatterjay virus into a creature even more monstrous than the prador themselves. And his children, the King’s Guard, have undergone similar changes. They were infected by the virus during the last humans-versus-prador war, now lapsed into an uneasy truce. But the prador are always looking for new weapons - and their experimentation program might give them the edge they seek.

Suzeal trades human slaves out of the Stratogaster Space Station, re-engineering them to serve the prador. She thinks the rewards are worth the risks, but all that is about to change. The station was once a zoo, containing monsters from across known space. All the monsters now dwell on the planet below, but they aren’t as contained as they seem. And a vengeful clone may be the worst danger of all.

©2021 Neal Asher (P)2021 Macmillan Publishers International Ltd

Critic Reviews

"Neal Asher’s books are like an adrenaline shot targeted directly for the brain." (John Scalzi, author of the Old Man’s War series) 

What listeners say about Jack Four

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Narrator was passionless and flat

I thought the narration was very poor, monotonous and really flat - I’ll have to read this one as after 14 hours of listening, I really couldn’t tell you very much about the plot or characters etc - found the presentation so dull, my thoughts would wander else where. Disappointed as I’m a Neal Asher fan

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So good

It is hard to believe that someone can conjure such a detailed storyverse

One of the best Neal Asher books

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  • SF
  • 06-26-21

Not up to Asher’s usual standard

Being a longtime fan of Neil Asher and the rich and terrifying universe he has created I couldn’t help at being disappointed with this one. Perhaps it was the first person perspective. Rather than creating a sense of intimacy or urgency it played out like a rather long winded first person shooter. Even the hooders, usually a terrifying menace in prior stories, felt like props that popped up at the end of a level and then went on their merry way. Overall entirely missable.

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  • Stu
  • 07-08-21

Preder Preder Preder

Neal, I know you look at these things, For my perspective, i'd just started playing a game called "Empyrion" You wake up as a clone in hostile territory with a hunger... and I seem to eat every 5 mins in that game or i'm in real danger of dying of hunger - good to see Jack feels the same way..or was it me ? Bravo for the uncanny timing of this coming out. FOR THE LOVE OF BROCKLE never ever use this Narrator again, ever. For every one of your other books, the wonderful narrators say the word "Prador" and pronounce the "o" The genius narrator of this book has decided to pronounce it " Prader" with fekcin E instead of an O. It really really hurts to listen to the name diminished, it's just wrong.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Wayne Fitzgerald
  • 08-27-21

Nasty Book

The synopsis for this was quite interesting, there the interest ended. Pity you can’t give a review negative stars! I listened for a couple of hours, you have to give things a chance, It started with violence and rape and quickly went down hill (if that is possible). A nasty piece of work from a mind which seems to me to be very warped. Perhaps the “Author” has spent too much time playing zombie/alien shoot it ups on his chosen console

4 people found this helpful

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  • Paul J.
  • 08-31-21

Mediocre at best

Maybe this genre isn't for me, but I don't get the 4.5 current rating. Good imagination and the story rounds off well, but how many times can someone be stupid enough to get captured time and time again? Get tortured? Get eviscerated? Rescued? And start all over again. the 3 stars is because there are some smart ideas in the story, but by the end, I couldn't wait for it to finish, then didn't realised it had until I realised I was listening to the glossary. Do I recommend this one, it's a marmite book obviously. Not for me.

3 people found this helpful

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  • ChrisH
  • 08-03-21

Has the feel of a spaghetti western .

Annoying mispronunciation of Prador throughout which grated during a fast paced action adventure which just happened to be based in the Polity.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Peter Comninos
  • 07-18-21

One of my favourite SF writers.

Good hard SF book with plenty of action in his familiar universe. Excellent narration.

1 person found this helpful

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  • BrianP
  • 05-15-22

Sorry, Neal, juvenile drivel

I did eventually listen to this all the way through, but it was hard work. Apart from the unnecessary gore-fest, the flaw with this book is that over and over again, the protagonist would be put into a dire situation and then at the last moment, "With one bound, Jack was free". Over and over again, bullets and missiles would just miss him, whereas he killed hundreds of opponents. Over and over again, his armour would stop him from being killed, whereas opponents' armour wouldn't protect them at all. Over and over again, he would be brought back to full health by magic so-called "autodocs", conveniently being given enough time between engagements to fully heal. I hate to criticise someone's creative effort, but this is just juvenile tosh. The narrator does a good job, but like many SF stories set lightyears from Earth, the protagonists seem to have a variety of UK regional accents - necessary I suppose to allow you to distinguish the characters, but bizarre all the same

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  • Anthony Benjamin
  • 08-08-21

Asher needs an editor to speak truth.

I am a big fan of Neal Asher. "Gridlinked" is a tour de force. The polity universe that he sets his stories in is unendingly intriguing and he is a master of plot and character.
The ideas and plot in this book, however, are really only enough for a short story. The book lacks the multiple story lines and constant revelations that mark his earlier works and that make them so exciting to read. I hope this is readin the spirit that is meant. Asher is a giant of science fiction in my humble opinion. I would be happy to wait years for his next novel if it meant a return to the standard of his earlier works.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Ian Young Thinks
  • 07-18-21

Supremely competent & engaging, as always…

Having enjoyed this latest offering immensely; am l too selfish to immediately want more?
Afraid so.
Thank you Neal - keep typing - I, and many others, will be waiting eagerly.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Bradley
  • 06-23-21

I have loved Neal's other books but not this one.

Very Disappointed. it went on and on and nothing happens. maybe it's just me but this book was just missing something.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Bogan
  • 08-10-21

Surprisingly excellent

I wasn’t sure about whether I would enjoy this book because after a great start it slowed to a first person account of the protagonist alone except for violent encounters with robots, animals and all combinations in between. However it really picked up with the deepening of the plot, quickening of pace, increasing violence and addition of some interesting characters and relationships.

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  • Don Hogben
  • 07-13-21

Too many lucky escapes ruined this story.

I'm a big fan of Neal Asher and have read almost everything he's published. This book was not up to the usual standard of his works. There were too many "oh no, I'm in a bind here I'm going to die. How am I still alive? That was lucky" moments for me to enjoy the story. The voice performance was awesome..