- 456 Pages
- October 24, 2023
- ISBN: 9781949102574
- Imprint: Night Shade Books
- Trim Size: 6in x 9in x 0in
A thrilling, fast-paced standalone novel in Neal Asher's acclaimed Polity universe
Created to die–determined to live . . .
Jack Four–one of twenty human clones–has been created to be sold. His purchasers are the alien prador and they only want him for their experimentation program. But there is something different about Jack. No clone should possess the knowledge that’s been loaded into his mind. And no normal citizen of humanity’s Polity worlds would have this information.
The prador’s king has been mutated by the Spatterjay virus into a creature even more monstrous than the prador themselves. And his children, the King’s Guard, have undergone similar changes. They were infected by the virus during the last humans-versus-prador war, now lapsed into an uneasy truce. But the prador are always looking for new weapons – and their experimentation program might give them the edge they seek.
Suzeal trades human slaves out of the Stratogaster Space Station, re-engineering them to serve the prador. She thinks the rewards are worth the risks, but all that is about to change. The Station was once a zoo, containing monsters from across known space. All the monsters now dwell on the planet below, but they aren’t as contained as they seem. And a vengeful clone may be the worst danger of all.
“Neal Asher's books are like an adrenaline shot targeted directly for the brain.”—New York Times bestselling author John Scalzi
“With mind-blowing complexity, characters, and combat, Asher’s work continues to combine the best of advanced cybertech and military SF.”—Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
“In this riveting sequel to The Soldier, Asher ramps up the pyrotechnicsin the thunderous first salvoes of war . . . while entwining the reader in twisty conundrums and misdirections. This is Asher at the top of his game and the field of military science fiction.”—Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
“Asher's intergalactic chess match combines vivid descriptions of human, alien, and AI psyches with explosive and violent confrontations. . . . Asher’s distinctive and compelling adventure will appeal to fans of of military science fiction, space opera, and even cyberpunk.”—Booklist
"Over the years I have returned to several comparisons when describing Asher’s work: Doc Smith (for space operatics), Olaf Stapledon (for vast galactic-historical sweep), Jacobean revenge tragedy (for grotesquery, melodrama, and gaudy violence), carnival thrill rides (for mere visceral excitement). All those apply here, and those titanic battle sequences suggest that I add the Marvel superhero franchise – thrill rides for the eyes – to the list. . . . but it’s also a lot smarter than those thrill-ride movies."—Locus, reviewed by Russell Letson
“A richly imagined, exotic world, nonstop action, and unimaginable stakes--I couldn't put The Soldier down.”—Yoon Ha Lee, author of Ninefox Gambit
“Neal Asher's coruscating mix of epic space opera, weaponised Darwinism and high-stakes intrigue channels the primal flame of deep-core science fiction.” —Paul McAuley, author of Four Hundred Billion Stars
"The Soldier provides everything we demand from Asher: a beautifully complex universe where AIs, aliens and post-humans scheme and struggle—magnificently awesome. Then Asher turns it up to eleven."—Peter F. Hamilton
“I had thought with the Transformation trilogy (Dark Intelligence, War Factory, Infinity Engine) that Asher had maxed out what could be done with the Polity setting—that the near-metaphysical implications of the fate of Penny Royal constituted a kind of narrative event horizon. I think I might have been mistaken.”—Russell Letson, Locus
“In addition to elaborate space battles between gigantic warships and spectacular descriptions of technology, Asher excels at “humanizing” his intelligent machines.”—Booklist
“Asher is a modern master of sci-fi.” —Starburst magazine
“A wide-screen special-effects extravaganza, a space opera featuring gods and monsters . . . Doc Smith and Olaf Stapledon in a blender, turned up to eleven, with the contents splattering across the ceiling.”—Russell Letson, Locus
“Asher has an amazing talent for world-building, for writing larger-than-life characters, for weaving gripping plots and for imagining exotic alien races and wonderful technologies. Huge ships! Big weapons! Space battles! Ground battles! Treason! Revenge! This is New Space Opera at its best.” —Sense of Wonder
“Hardboiled, fast-paced space opera . . . Asher’s books are similar to the world of Iain M. Banks’ Culture universe, but the Polity is arguably a much darker and more vicious environment—and all the better for it.” —The Register