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Publisher's Summary

What do you buy and sell when the global markets reach saturation point? The markets themselves. Thirty years from now the big players in global capitalism have moved on from commodities. The big money is in conflict investment. The corporations keep a careful watch on the wars of liberation and revolution that burn constantly around the world. They guage who the winners will be and sell them arms, intelligence, and power. In return for a slice of the action when the war is won.

The reward? A stake in the new nation. It's cynical, brutal, and it has nothing to do with democracy and the rule of law. So what else is new? The executives in this lethal game bid for contracts, fight for promotion, secure their lives on the roads. Fighting lethal duels in souped up, heavily armoured cars on the empty motorways of the future. Chris Faulkener has a lethal reputation and a new job at Shorn Associates. Has he got what it takes to make a real killing?

©2005 Richard K. Morgan (P)2005 Tantor Media, Inc.

Critic Reviews

  • 2005 Audie Award Winner, Science-Fiction

"Convincing and compelling." (Publishers Weekly)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Good easy listen

This book was quite entertaining and well thought out. It has unexpected turnings and a rich character development. It's an easy listen, well read, with great voices. I wish Morgan had more out. Having said this it was not as good as Altered Carbon but it was excellent.

14 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Social satire played out a bit too long

As you probably guessed, this is Morgan's first big non-Kovacs novel, and the results are mixed. The book would have worked much better if it was shorter, as it is the premise of the ultra-competitive Mad Max in the boardroom investment bankers who literally kill for a deal runs a bit thin. Partially, this is because the characters are rather well drawn, making the weird cartoonishness of the world seem increasingly silly in comparison, and partially because the book gets bogged down in the moral miasma that it creates. Yes it satires the modern world, but the alternate universe it creates is so unpleasant that you quickly lose track of the parallels.

The book is saved from being a total cartoon (note that the plot is at least in part: Should the banker support evil governments for profit while staying with the hot women, or should he join the UN at the risk of his life while coming back to his wife?) by richly drawn characters. But the characters are so awful that you will grow to hate all of them. So, a good-ish listen, imaganinative and much better written then most science fiction on Audible, but not always pleasant.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars


I am a fan of Morgan's writing. I enjoyed the Kovac's series a great deal and I liked Thirteen almost as well. However, I have to say that this title let me down.

The book is well written and the characters were well developed. My problem was that I just never made that personal connection with ANY of the characters. Even at three quarters of the way through, I didn't really care if any of the characters lived or died. I kept waiting for some kind of redemption all the way to the end and it never came. I think this would have made a great novella. If I had only spent two or three hours listening to it, I would have been more generous with the rating.

There is strong language, sex and violence as in most/all of Morgan's books. But it fits the characters and backdrop of the story. I can live with that and it doesn't bother me. What I can't live with is a story that just doesn't hold my attention or allow me to develop an emotional connection to any of the characters. I will continue to listen to Morgan's books as they are published but I won't revisit this title nor can I recommend it to others. I do recommend his other titles however.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • eDave
  • Rochester, NY
  • 09-08-05

Cynical near future packed w/action & character

This is one of the best-written books I've listened to or read in ages. The character development is excellent, the action scenes compelling, and the vision of the future not as far-fetched as some have found it to be. Gas prices go through the roof, so only the wealthier segment can afford cars, which leads to all sorts of social tensions and a dearth of traffic. (Anyone noticed gas prices going up recently? It's made a dent in _my_ budget and driving style.) Corporations get larger and more powerful to the point where they can tell governments what to do. Investing in war becomes a legitimate financial endeavor rather than a clandestine operation or governmental action.

One of the aspects of the book I really enjoyed was its construction and use of the characters in parallel with the use of chess. Plots within plots, moves made to distract while other scenarios are played out. Very nice.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • B
  • Brockton, MA, USA
  • 08-18-05


A departure for the author in some ways, this gritty tale of "what if" reads like Cyberpunk written by Ayn Rand.

The world is run by powerful corporations who foster local wars to create market places for military hardware and take portions of GNP in payment. The corporations believe in Social Darwinism to the Nth degree. In order to have the best and brightest, toughest and cruelest working for the company, they have instituted road rage challenges on the way to work.

The protaganist is an up and comer in this world of the company who has a good car, good driving instincts and a good sense of how to foster a profitable revolution. Unfortunately, he also has a lingering sense of morality.

As always with Morgan, the characters in the book are not all good or all bad. You will however, root for the protaganist anyway.

FInally, I found the reading very good as well.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Jeff
  • Sammamish, WA, USA
  • 06-21-05

A little far-fetched, but a great listen

I really enjoyed Altered Carbon so I picked this up on a whim. It is a well-written book, and the narration is very crisp and clear. The characters are 3-dimensional and character development is very good. The action scenes kept me on the edge of my seat. I listen while running, and this kept me very entertained for hours on end.

That said, this describes a pretty far-fetched near future and does little to explain how we actually got there. That detracts slightly from the story because it becomes difficult to suspend disbelief in parts of the story (particularly around the lack of traffic and the road warrior culture). But all in all I would definitely recommend this -- great for a summer read.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Hope you like cars and violence

It took about 2 hours to get used to the narrator. It didn't seem like it should have been read with such a "soft" voice/British accent but I put my ipod on the faster reading speed which made it much better. The narrator is good/consistent enough that you can always tell which character is speaking.

There is a social commentary underpinning here that detracts from the action; the author seems to have tried to write an action book that had a "moral" - two things that normally don't go very well together. It nearly works. The moralistic part got a bit heavy handed at some points, earning a fast forward.

I don't know about this "I didn't like any of the characters so the book sucked" attitude... we're not supposed to like them, that's the point. Greed and power have nothing to do with liking people, and that's what this story is about.

The sex (while still R rated) is pretty tame compared to the Altered Carbon series (X rated sex). The violence is also very graphic, and sometimes it goes on a little too long so that you get tired of hearing all the dozens of ways they are maiming or killing someone.

Overall, it's a decent listen. I'd buy it again.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Wall Street Meets Road Warrior

I am honestly not sure why people are rating this so low. It is very well written and well narrated. It is classic Richard K Morgan story telling, sex and violence laced with discussions of morality, economics and politics.

Mr. Morgan creates a world where multiple economic collapses have created a society where the corporations control everything including when and where wars happen. In order to move ahead in this corporate world you must participate in road duels with others of the executive class.

I easily connected with Chris Falkner, the primary character who fought his way out of the slums and into the executive world. As with all of Morgan's characters he is neither good nor bad but a real, conflicted character faced with moral choices that change him and the people around him.

I almost didn't get book based on some of the reviews and now I am glad I did. It is not a Kovaks book but if you like Morgan's style give it a try.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Jason
  • Dumfries, VA, USA
  • 12-08-05


I really enjoyed the Kovacs novels, but be warned this is a big departure. Its slower and more cerebral than those books. So if you're just in the mood for a Kovacs sci-fi, shoot 'em up, sex romp you might be disappointed.

That said, this is probably my favorite Richard K. Morgan novel. Yes, I like the Road Warrior aspect of it all, and the ideas about the future of corporations were great. The book also has some elements of some my favorite classics though like The Great Gatsby maybe even Dickens or Aldous Huxley. I thought it was pretty awesome overall.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Kent
  • Kennebunk, ME, USA
  • 10-20-05

Not as good as I expected.

I found this book slow and plodding compared to Morgan's other two titles, which are both fabulous. I had already read Altered Carbon and Broken Angels which sold me on this author. I was hoping that the lead in this book would have a similar attitude and hero persona that Kovach did. The reason I was so dissapointed in these characters was that they are all shallow, unlikable people. I frankly didn't care what happened to any of them. Now, I don't mind that Morgan's characters possess both good and bad traits; in fact that's what makes all his characters so real, but I wanted to root for the lead character, and I found that hard to do. I would describe this book as a corporate drama with international politics thrown in. It is a futuristic tale, but takes place only slightly in the future, so not much has changed in the world. The book contains is a tremendous amount of violence and strong language, and no comic relief (unlike his first two books). One thing I really enjoyed about Morgan's other novels were the steamy sex scenes. This book has some sex in it, but it never rises to the heights (pardon the pun) of Takashi's exploits. To sum it up, If you're already a fan of Morgan, go ahead and read this one, but don't expect it to be as good. If you've never read Morgan, I wouldn't advise you to start with this book. Go download Altered Carbon instead, because then you'll appreciate the outstanding storytelling ability of this up and coming new author.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful