• The Departure

  • Owner Trilogy, Book 1
  • By: Neal Asher
  • Narrated by: Peter Noble
  • Length: 16 hrs and 52 mins
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (18 ratings)

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The Departure

By: Neal Asher
Narrated by: Peter Noble
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Publisher's Summary

The Departure is the first audiobook in Neal Asher's near-future, science fiction Owner series.

The Argus Space Station looks down on a nightmarish Earth. And from this safe distance, the Committee enforces its despotic rule. There are too many people and too few resources, and they need 12 billion to die before Earth can be stabilized. So corruption is rife, people starve, and the poor are policed by mechanized overseers and identity-reader guns. Citizens already fear the brutal Inspectorate with its pain inducers. But to reach its goals, the Committee will unleash satellite laser weaponry, taking carnage to a new level.

This is the world Alan Saul wakes to, travelling in a crate destined for the Calais incinerator. How he got there he doesn't know, but he remembers pain and his tormentor's face. He also has company: Janus, a rogue intelligence inhabiting forbidden hardware in his skull. As Janus shows Saul an Earth stripped of hope, he resolves to annihilate the Committee and their regime. Once he's discovered who he was, and killed his interrogator....

©2017 Neal Asher (P)2017 Macmillan Digital Audio

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  • Sharon Barron
  • 08-05-18

Asher tells a good story

Neal Asher's tales are sometimes those of freedom seeking libertarians fighting against socialist societies that have gone bad. Think Venezuela on a global scale. He sees totalitarianism as the inevitable consequence of any attempt to create a fair, just and equitable society. His resolution is nearly always a hero fighting against all the odds, occasionally dispensing cod political philosophy and using extreme violence to sort out the bad guys. That's his thing and I really don't mind, despite the obvious propaganda, because he tells a good story. I just wish he'd drop the moral philosophising, because he's not too good at that. Action heroes are usually not very PC, but constantly harping on about socialists bad/freedom good is wearing and not terribly believable. It's also a false dichotomy. Maybe being rich enough to buy your freedom is an ideal to aspire to, but in reality it's only attainable by a select few. I'll probably buy a few more of his books, because I enjoy the action hero stuff, but he can shove his political diatribes where the sun don't shine.

16 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 01-02-18

Lazy Political Mouthpiece

I have long believed that if you choose to read The Daily Mail, or its ilk, you deserve to live in the kind of world it tells you you already live in. If that’s you, welcome to The Departure.
Less than a chapter in, Asher has already nailed his hard right colours to the mast in this cheap, dystopian allegory. Objectionable politics aside, one-dimensional characters and lackadaisical prose mean it’s not worth fighting the bile to get to the narrative. If this is the state of British SF, then bring on the apocalypse.

11 people found this helpful

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  • M
  • 03-18-18

It's not easy being green ...

Neal Asher draws his ‘Owner’ universe from the darkest, most fevered Eurogeddon nightmares that haunt the most paranoid of UKIP's members, and he finds his characters and their dialogue in the Daily Mail’s Letters pages. As a Science Fiction author, he is to the Libertarian Right what Iain M. Banks was to the Left, and uses his politics to fuel his image of our destiny, but whereas Banks wrote with wit and mischief, Asher writes in blood and brutality. There’s nothing subtle here, and his cynicism (of the State as well as its citizens) saturates the story almost to the point of dystopian satire, except that you know that he means it and that the future he portrays is very plausible - in his mind, at least. But, though my own politics lay way, way to the left of his, I love his novels; from the visceral set-piece battles, to the wonderfully imagined creatures and technologies he brings to life, I can't help but race through his books, and as soon as I've finished listening to this I'll be getting stuck into part two. And the narrator is just brilliant too.

9 people found this helpful

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  • J Hitch
  • 01-22-18

A story of two halves

I really enjoyed the start of the book. It jumps right in at the deep end and has you asking questions. The ‘world’ reminded me of P.F.Hamilton’s Mindstar trilogy with a little bit of Orwell’s 1984 thrown in. It’s a real page-turner for the first 50%, maybe even 60/70%, but then the focus shifts to a more virtual world. It’s hard to say more without spoilers, so I won’t. I just found the last 40% a bit meh. Especially after enjoying the start so much. Saul starts off as an interesting character with a lot of questions he’s trying to answer, but ends up as a bit of a dullard :) There are two more books in the series. I would normally go straight onto the 2nd, but it didn’t grab me enough. I might return but won’t be upset if I don’t. Great narration.

9 people found this helpful

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  • M Fowler
  • 01-17-18

Excellent trilogy of quality writing and narration

I have just finished the whole trilogy in about 10 days. It's been a while since I had a story as well written and as well narrated as this was. And having said that, I'm not going to pick holes in either as some reviewers do. I just enjoyed the concept, the continuity, the characters and the excellent narration. Best sifi writing I have experienced in a long time. Thanks.

9 people found this helpful

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  • Fabio
  • 02-06-18

Childish propaganda, zero character development.

could do without the trite political treatises. the entire novel seems to be about tiresome set piece gore interlaced with hackneyed anti federalist aphorisms. Not a good read. Last time I buy based on a name and cover!

4 people found this helpful

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  • Mr. M. G. Helliwell
  • 01-13-18

Fun sci-fi romp

This is no classic but its a fun book to listen too. Given the number of books the author has written, it's better quality than I thought it would be. The weakest part are the action scenes - they're ok but a bit cliched and unconvincing, eg people don't fly backwards when hit with a bullet.

The narration is generally good but the narrator lacks a good range of voices so people sound a bit samey.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Moriarty
  • 02-08-18

Not heard of this author before

I bought this as an audible deal of the day and did not know what to expect. I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed it. I am not used to the "series" style of books, so need to find the next book to listen to. However not sure it's available.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Mr P Eldridge
  • 01-13-18

Enjoyable start to the series

Well performed start to a bleak dystopian future, think 1984 meets Cyberpunk. Do wonder why he didn't just knock up some rail guns on the station though would have saved a lot of bother.

3 people found this helpful

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  • A. Macgregor
  • 01-05-18

Very Good Scifi!

I'm always on the look out for excellent scifi and was very pleased with this one. Good concepts, characters and plot progression. Will be purchasing rest of series.

3 people found this helpful