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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
British author Neal Asher's Cowl is equal parts time-travel adventure and knock-down, drag-out post-apocalyptic thriller. When a monstrous preter-human manages to escape back into time (while two future humanoid offshoots wage war), it is the mission of a lone assassin to somehow find and exterminate him. Failure to complete the assignment could mean the total and utter destruction of the human race.
The Heliothane Dominion, highly advanced descendants of humankind, have their Umbrathane cousins on the run. But when the worst of their foes, a post-human sociopath named Cowl -- "the ultimate application of Darwin's laws" -- escapes millions of years back into the past with advanced tech, the Heliothane must somehow find and kill him before he irrevocably changes history forever. Enter Tack, an "inherently immoral" assassin cloned from a particularly efficient CIA killer. Programmed to kill ruthlessly, Tack is nothing more than a highly advanced automaton. But as he hurtles back through time, encountering mind-blowing people and places and becoming exponentially wiser with every jump, he begins to understand free will. When he finally reaches his destination, the real motive behind his mission becomes clear.
Cowl is wildly imaginative, shockingly gruesome, and deliriously entertaining -- comparable to a nightmarish carnival thrill ride that, once over, duly slack-jawed and trembling riders will instantly want to experience again. Reminiscent of brutally brilliant works like Steve Aylett's Slaughtermatic and Everybody Scream! by Jeffrey Thomas, Cowl's high-energy science fiction packs a wallop. Paul Goat Allen