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Publisher's Summary

One of SFX magazine's Most Anticipated Books for 2016.

An epic vision of man and machine in the far reaches of space.

Carlos is dead. A soldier who died for his ideals a 1000 years ago, he's been reincarnated and conscripted to fight an A.I. revolution in deep space. And he's not sure he's fighting for the right side.

Seba is alive. By a fluke of nature, a contractual overlap and a loop in its subroutines, this lunar mining robot has gained sentience. Gathering with other 'freebots', Seba is taking a stand against the corporations that want it and its kind gone.

As their stories converge against a backdrop of warring companies and interstellar drone combat, Carlos and Seba must either find a way to rise above the games their masters are playing, or die. And even dying will not be the end of it.

©2016 Ken MacLeod (P)2016 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

"Prose sleek and fast as the technology it describes...watch this man go global." (Peter F. Hamilton)
"MacLeod's novels are fast, funny and sophisticated. There can never be enough books like these: he is writing revolutionary SF. A nova has appeared in our sky." (Kim Stanley Robinson)
"MacLeod is up there with Banks and Hamilton as one of the British sci-fi authors you absolutely have to read." (SFX)
"Prose sleek and fast as the technology it describes...watch this man go global." (Peter F. Hamilton on The Star Fraction)
"Science fiction's freshest new writer...MacLeod is a fiercely intelligent, prodigiously well-read author who manages to fill his books with big issues without weighing them down." (Salon)
"Brimming with smart ideas and shot through with a mordant wit. The novel is dedicated to the memory of MacLeod's friend Iain M. Banks, and one feels that the future of Scottish SF is in good hands." (Financial Times on Descent)

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  • simon motte-styles
  • 12-14-16

sci- fi to make you think

I'm a huge fan of 'hard sci- fi'. having been weaned on Niven, Asimov, and their like its nice to listen to a story you have to really concentrate on. This is not a audio to have in in the background. It's a cliche, but 'a breath of fresh air' springs to mind. will definitely be getting next book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Peter
  • 09-25-16

Great set up

This is building into an epic struggle. It also resonates scarily with some of the predictions Stephen Hawking has made about the rise of AI... what happens if that AI is the mind of a super-corporation that has the same rights as a human being but has as its moral compass the profits of its shareholders... can't wait for next instalment.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Andreas
  • 06-16-16

A promising start

The narrator is very good, lifts the story.
The robot/AI ideas are interesting but I was not filly hooked by the human protagonists. In the end the book felt more like a promising setup for a series than a satisfying standalone entry.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Stuart
  • 09-21-17

First part of a story, not a standalone book

This is one of many books that I've tried because it's narrated by Peter Kenny, who reads most of the Iain (M) Banks books. As usual, Kenny does a great job of the narration and characterisation, and the author's writing style is similar to Banks in places.

It's a little slow to get going, but it does heat up by half way through, with twists and questions that I didn't see coming.

I'll definitely by getting the next in the trilogy... but that does highlight one important point. If you're not intending to (or willing) to get the whole trilogy, then don't bother with this at all. It just ends at an arbitrary point in the story, with very little resolved and no particular reason to call the "the end" apart from the length of the book, or a previous decision to split it into three. It's not a satisfying listen on its own, and you'll feel short changed if you go into it expecting a decent conclusion.

Other than that, a good entry point into the trilogy.

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  • Mara
  • 09-12-17

Boring

To put it simple - the book was boring. Really boring. Story was like "bones without flesh", didn't raise any feeling or sympathy for any of the characters... Couldn't care less what happens further in the book or with the characters. Very dissatisfying.

If you wait for what was written in the annotation and it is what made you curious about the book in the first place, hold your horses (your hopes), because you have to wait for the whole book to get to that point. I know - I listened on because I was waiting for the interesting part to come. I have listened to 3/4 of the book and I can tell - the part hasn't come yet.

The narrator had the idea he has to make everyone sound a different level of British - I disliked his accents a lot. It didn't improve my book experience.

Will return it for sure without listening till the end. I was forcing myself to get even that far.

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  • Thomas Kovar
  • 07-18-17

good solid stuff. don't be put off by the title!

what was he thinking? really good book. Bloody awful title. MacLeod is filling a Banks shaped hole for me.