Gridlinked is my second Neal Asher read-earlier in the year I read 2006's Prador Moon, but this book, though similar, is somewhat different. While that other book deals with the nasty crab-like Prador and the military's attempts to deal with them, this book is about an agent with the Earth Central Security (ECS), name of Ian Cormac. It dates from 2001 and is the first Cormack novel. I enjoyed Prador Moon immensely-it was all fast action, kill the bugs, get home safely kind of stuff, but Gridlinked is a much slower paced read. Both books feature similar technologies, AIs, runcibles etc, but Gridlinked focusses on Cormack's mission, chasing mercenaries (and one mercenary in particular) half way around the galaxy. The book has been described as a far-future James Bond type story but the story deviates from different viewpoints-that of Cormack and that of Pelter and co., and is less focussed on the agent himself. Basically people in this time have AIs implanted in their skulls, which gives them an interactive live network allowing them to recieve information instantly and act upon it. Unfortunately Cormack is instructed to disconnect himself from the 'grid' and so although the book is called Gridlinked, Cormack spends most of the time out of it!
I didnt enjoy the book as much as Prador Moon and a lot of that is to do with size-the books is 521 pages long and my reading time is scarce, and while the beginning is promising, the middle section seems to ramble a bit-for me there wasnt enough focus on Cormack. I wanted to see him kick ass and do his stuff but it was much more subtle. The last 200 pages picked up and I'm glad I stuck with it as it got quite interesting and 'fighty'. The only thing is towards the very end I found myself scratching my head-I wasnt sure just who or what the Dragon was and the Maker wasnt described at all-was he defeated, I'm not sure! Overall though a fun romp through time and space-(I could use one of them runcibles!)-but I found it just a little too long-350 pages would have sufficed or more stuff for Cormack to do in the middle would have been nice!
The next book in the Cormack series, Line of Polity, sounds quite different-I just have to find it in my library.....
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