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Martian Knightlife

Martian Knightlife

by James P. Hogan

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The Knight is a saint (with a twist)

At least you might think so if you read his curriculum vitae. You would swear, in fact, that this private eye of the future is honest, paying for what he gets, getting what he's paid for, wth somehow a little extra for everybody to go around. Take this case for example.

Well, perhaps not, because that


The Knight is a saint (with a twist)

At least you might think so if you read his curriculum vitae. You would swear, in fact, that this private eye of the future is honest, paying for what he gets, getting what he's paid for, wth somehow a little extra for everybody to go around. Take this case for example.

Well, perhaps not, because that would be telling, something this knightly saint would never do. But it did involve a matter transmitter which the inventor tested on himself—then found his bank accounts empty and his credit cards overflowing, all done by someone whose DNA looks just like that of the rightful owner...

But that wasn't all. There was also an archaeological expedition which had uncovered ruins that might solve the mystery of the Martian race that had vanished from the planet eons ago—except that a greedy interplanetary corporation was all set to bulldoze them over in pursuit of the bottom line unless a gallant knight—or Knight—could come galloping up on his charger...

Then there were some people who were not amused at how the Knight had foiled a sure-fire scheme worth billions, and were looking for him with heavy muscle and heavier artillery....

People in trouble and people who are trouble just seem to populate his life—and thank goodness, because they are the very thing the Knight needs to keep his life from getting boring. And the bad guys never seem to know what hits them...

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this modest SF-mystery hybrid, set on Mars circa the 22nd century, Kieran Thane (aka the Knight), a sort of futuristic Saint or Travis McGee, and his female companion, June, who's not quite a full partner but more than a sidekick, tackle the mystery of a teleportation experiment gone wrong. Instead of teleporting, the process duplicates the individual, with unfortunate consequences for one of the scientists involved, Dr. Leo Sarda. One Dr. Sarda is left with holes in his memory, while the other puts a hole in his double's bank account. The trail leads Thane and June to high-powered corporate shenanigans, which threaten to destroy through development priceless archeological sites that may hold a clue to the fate of the vanished Martian race. In addition to using biotechnology to wage psychological warfare against the corporate meanies, the Knight has to disguise himself as a mystic, the Khal of Tadzhikstan, and hire some plain old physical weaponry and its wielders. An amiable mutt named Guinness, part Lab, part Doberman, lends some canine interest. This lightweight page-turner, which demands a certain tolerance for expository lumps, libertarian preaching and Gods from Outer Space, won't make new converts for Hogan (The Proteus Operation; Endgame Enigma; etc). However, the author's competent handling of a number of standard themes in the SF adventure category will more than satisfy established fans. (Oct.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
In the tradition of Leslie Charteris's Saint and Jack Vance's Magnus Ridolph, etc., two long interconnected stories featuring Kieran "Knight" Thane, a medium-future knight errant who rights wrongs, cons the conmen and swindles the swindlers while bolstering his personal retirement fund: from the author of The Legend That Was Earth (2000), etc. In the first adventure, Kieran arrives on Mars after wandering the solar system and meets up with his longtime friend June Holland. Together they investigate the plight of scientist Leo Sarda; having invented a matter transmitter, Leo successfully transmitted himself, but then somehow was robbed of the five million credits he'd been paid. Leo himself, it emerges, is the only person who could have stolen the money; moreover, he proves to have lost certain recent memories after emerging from the receiving apparatus. The matter transmitter, it seems, actually creates a duplicate of the original; before Leo tested his invention, the original plotted with rival businessmen to cheat the duplicate and his sponsors, and make billions from the deal. Poor Leo's been swindled by himself. In the second adventure, archeologists exploring the Martian desert discover ancient ruins that might prove the existence of a recent civilization on Mars--and confirm a contemporary pre-Egyptian civilization on Earth. Some predatory bigwigs, however, want to develop the site. Just as Knight prepares to grapple with them, the bad guys from the previous escapade show up. Pleasant but featherweight, and a pretty thin stretch even at this modest length.

Product Details

Publication date:
Product dimensions:
4.20(w) x 6.60(h) x 1.20(d)

Read an Excerpt

Martian Knightlife

By James Patrick Hogan

Baen Books

Copyright © 2003 James Patrick Hogan
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0743435915

Chapter One

Consciousness reintegrated slowly out of fragments, like the threads of a frayed rope coming together. Sarda felt dizzy and disoriented in the darkness-the nauseous sensation of spinning in a void with no reference point. It passed quickly. Thoughts meshed raggedly and began running again. Physically, he seemed to be intact and functioning. He registered the thumping of his heartbeats, chest panting, skin wet and clammy. His body was ridding itself of excess heat, not working to build up heat from cold. So the crucial experiment had worked perfectly....

Except that he was the wrong one!

His mind recoiled in protest as images returned of the resigned look on Elaine's face when he last saw her, and Balmer reassuring them that everything would be fine.

They were going to rob him, sell out his work-and that would be fine?

Rage and panic overcame him. He tried to struggle, but it was useless against the restraints protecting the equipment inside the reconstitution chamber. Light came on, revealing the planes of densely packed condenser arrays and indexing heads positioned all around and above him like slabs of venetian blind woven with multicolored wires and tubing. The panels in front retracted back from their operating positions to clear the access door, the inside of which carried its own growth of wires and mechanisms, along with a number of technical labels and warning signs. Included among them was a curiously vivid graphic design in the form of a purple disk inside a silver outer ring, containing a spiral pattern of red, yellow, and aquamarine. It seemed to grow in Sarda's vision, drawing his attention like field lines to a charge. In seconds his agitation subsided. He forgot all of his outrages. Latches released in a series of clacks, and the door opened.

Stewart Perrel, chief physician on the TX Project, leaned into the chamber, his face anxious. A light shone into Sarda's eyes, while a hand lifted his chin, and fingers felt for a pulse at his neck. "It's okay, Stew. You don't need to bother," Sarda said. "I feel fine."

"He's okay!" Perrel threw over his shoulder to others behind. "It worked fine! Leo's okay!"

Whoops of relief and delight greeted the words. Perrel unfastened the restraints and then draped a surgical gown over Sarda's head, helping him work it down to cover his body in the cramped space of the chamber. The mixed company of project crew and technicians waiting outside crowded forward to press him with backslaps and handshakes as Sarda emerged into the clutter of the R-Lab. After the sweltering confines of the machine, he felt as if he were coming out of a sauna into clean, snowy air.

The expressions of the two men watching from farther back with the small group of specially invited visitors were more restrained, but their eyes had a jubilant look. Their loose, dark jackets, worn tieless with polo-neck shirts, were the closest to business dress likely to be found on Mars, even in Lowell City, generally considered to be the main metropolis. The broad, balding form of Herbert Morch, Quantonix's managing director and technical head of the TX Project, moved forward to grip Sarda by both shoulders as he approached, his fleshy face breaking into a smile. "Leo, today we've made history!" he exulted. "No, you've made history! You took the risk. It succeeded...." He shook his head, momentarily unable to find further words.

Beside him, his brother Max, lean and gaunt-faced, cofounder and financial vice president, reached out to add his own bony handshake to those Sarda had already collected. "You'd better get used to the idea of being a celebrity before much longer, Leo," he said. "Quantonix is going to change the world."

"The world?" Herbert turned his head quizzically, looking at him with mild reproach. "Think big, Max, think big. That's what this has been all about, hasn't it? We're going to reshape the Solar System!"


Excerpted from Martian Knightlife by James Patrick Hogan Copyright © 2003 by James Patrick Hogan. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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