Neal Asher – Brass Man

From the title and the blurb, I knew in advance that Brass Man was going to return to one of the most interesting characters of Neal Asher’s earlier book, Gridlinked. (Brass Man is the third in the Gridlinked/Ian Cormac series.) What I hadn’t expected was the holy shit moment in the first chapter when you realize just how directly it follows on from The Line of Polity, too. From that point on, Brass Man is just as much of a head-over-heels race for survival as the previous two in the series.

It is probably the most reflective of the three, too. You spend a lot of time in Mr Crane’s head, learning more about what brought him to this point, and how his internal struggle works. The stage is also shared by more, and more powerful AIs than before, which leads to some duels that are cerebral as well as planet-shaking. (Fans of Iain M. Banks’s Culture novels will find a lot to like here.) And on top of all that, there is a wonderful parallel plot involving the quest of a knight on the far-out world of Cull to slay a dragon. If he can fight his way past the rest of Cull’s flora and fauna, that is…

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