Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Dark Intelligence (Transformation #1) by Neal Asher

Science Fiction 

From Goodreads:

One man will transcend death to seek vengeance. One woman will transform herself to gain power. And no one will emerge unscathed...

Thorvald Spear wakes in a hospital to find he's been brought back from the dead. What's more, he died in a human vs. alien war that ended a century ago. Spear had been trapped on a world surrounded by hostile Prador forces, but Penny Royal, the AI inside the rescue ship sent to provide backup, turned rogue, annihilating friendly forces in a frenzy of destruction and killing Spear. One hundred years later the AI is still on the loose, and Spear vows for revenge at any cost.

Isobel Satomi ran a successful crime syndicate, but after competitors attacked she needed power and protection. Negotiating with Penny Royal, she got more than she bargained for: Turning part-AI herself gave Isobel frightening power, but the upgrades hid a horrifying secret, and the dark AI triggered a transformation that has been turning her into something far from human…

Spear hires Isobel to track Penny Royal across worlds to its last known whereabouts. But he cheats her in the process and quickly finds himself in her crosshairs. As Isobel continues to evolve into a monstrous predator, it’s clear her rage will eventually win out over reason. Will Spear finish his hunt before he himself becomes the hunted?

Dark Intelligence is the explosive first novel in a brand new trilogy from military SF master Neal Asher and a new chapter in his epic Polity universe.

Dark Intelligence is a very complex story that starts out with the POV of Thorvald Spear and gradually adds new characters and new POV’s. Asher has written books set in the Polity Universe before so much of the background world building was done in previous books.  This is book one in a new series so even though I had not read anything by Asher before it worked well as an intro to the Polity.

Penny Royal, a rogue AI, is at the heart of the story.  Everyone has some connection to the AI.  Most want to end its existence.  As the story progresses everyone has a change of attitude about the AI.  Thorvald and the rest of the characters find some resolution at the end but transformation is the key and it is clear that there is still a lot of transformation left for both Penny Royal and the rest of the characters.

I found this to be a very well written and plotted story.  It held my attention for the entire the book.  The action was often different from what I expected which added to my enjoyment.  The characters are interesting and the plot crisp.  I think any Science Fiction fan would enjoy Dark Intelligence.  I found it a great start to a new series.

Night Shade Books published Dark Intelligence by Neal Asher in 2015.

I received an ARC of Dark Intelligence from Edelweiss in return for an honest review.

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