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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
The Skinner by Neal Asher is a wildly bizarre science fiction adventure that takes place on a nightmarish oceanic planet (similar to the world in Harry Harrison's Deathworld saga) where the ecology has produced vicious predators who exist solely to consume.
Three travelers come to the perilous planet, Spatterjay, with very different agendas. Erlin is a researcher looking to rekindle an old romance with a legendary sea captain. Janer is a human representative for the Earth-based Hive mind -- a sentient race of hornets -- on a top-secret fact-finding mission. Sable Keech is a reification, a resurrected corpse, in search of psychotic criminals who have eluded him for more than 700 years. Once on the planet, the three eventually find their paths converging on an infamous island that was the site of gruesome war crimes and is the home of a mythical monstrosity known as the Skinner.
The scope of this novel is a match for the unfathomable depths of Spatterjay's oceans. What starts out as a seemingly lighthearted adventure revolving around three eccentric characters soon grows to encompass a centuries-old war, an alien monstrosity to rival any H. P. Lovecraft creation, and the Warden, an omniscient AI that protects the planet with an army of misfit drones.
A word of warning: After finishing this intensely entertaining and truly singular novel, some readers may have lingering nightmares about leeches the size of hippopotamuses with razor-sharp garbage disposal mouths, and could possibly find it impossible to ever eat seafood again! Paul Goat Allen