Broken Angels is a novel of pain and guilt. Despite the neural enhancements that make him faster, smarter and stronger than his adversaries, Kovacs suffers from what might be called recurrent conscience syndrome. As a professional soldier working for one dubious cause after another, he insists that his only commitment is to his immediate comrades in arms, his only credo a determination to avoid what he calls ''abstract hate.'' Yet for all his hard-earned cynicism, he remains a seeker of sorts, willing and even eager to engage in moral debates with friends and foes alike. Occasionally, he lets slip a clue to the underlying conviction that both tortures and sustains him: ''You find innocence in the strangest places.''
… Broken Angels is clearly the work of a gifted, ambitious storyteller. Morgan's prose is clean and direct, his characters almost uniformly hard-edged, his future convincing, well conceived and decked out with an almost limitless array of technological marvels.
Despite its slick formulaic structure, Morgan's SF-hardboiled hybrid, the sequel to the well-received Altered Carbon, bursts with energy and intelligence. Protagonist Takeshi Kovacs is the product of a brutal future in which corporations and politicians fight for supremacy. Humanity has spread to the stars by deciphering charts left behind by the long-extinct Martians. Since people haven't discovered how the Martians surpassed the speed of light, however, they usually travel through space by broadcasting their digitalized personalities from one planet to another and having them installed in new bodies, a technique that gives virtual immortality to the most unscrupulous individuals. One such is Kovacs, a young sociopath whom the interstellar government transformed into a super warrior before he went freelance. Kovacs resembles a smarter and deadlier Mike Hammer; part of the pleasure is watching him not only use his skills and conditioning but also struggle past his limitations to develop empathy for other humans. The few people Kovacs gets close to are the team that accompanies him on an expedition to claim the ultimate Martian relic-a functioning FTL starship. Morgan is good at presenting Kovacs's mastery of high-tech weapons and other gadgets, as well as his reactions to disturbing alien artifacts. The mystery aspect of the story is also well handled, always hovering in the background of the violent action as Kovacs gathers clues. It all adds up to a superior, satisfying cyberpunk noir adventure. (Mar. 2) Forecast: Warner Bros. has picked up the movie option to Altered Carbon. A six-city author tour, backed by blurbs from Peter Hamilton, Ken McLeod and Larry Niven, should help ensure sales at least equal to its predecessor's. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
In the far future, UN Envoy and special operative Takeshi Kovacs travels to the planet Sanction V to crush a revolution. When he joins a secret team assigned to recover an archaeological find, he becomes involved in a deadly conspiracy that threatens the existence of the human race-and war seems an easy ride in comparison. Set in a grim future in which consciousness is transferable and death is a temporary state of being, Morgan's sequel to Altered Carbon combines sf noir with technothriller overtones to produce a first-rate action-adventure that belongs in most sf collections. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
The second in what might be a series on the exploits of Takeshi Kovacs. In Altered Carbon ( Mar. 2003), Morgan put his antihero's antihero on a Chandler-esque mission in a futuristic San Francisco, mopping up with ease all the lowlife scum who got in his way. This time out, Kovacs is back to being what he initially trained to be: a soldier. War has been raging on the planet of Sanction IV, where Kovacs's mercenary unit, Carrera's Wedge, is helping the Protectorate crush a nonsensical but nevertheless vicious uprising. Recuperating from his wounds in an orbital hospital-his current body, or "sleeve," is being fixed, while his consciousness, or "stack," is downloaded into another sleeve-Kovacs meets Jan Schneider, a pilot with an interesting proposition. Schneider was hauling some archaeologists around a dig for Martian artifacts (such artifacts are discovered quite often, on many planets, apparently, but nobody knows what to make of most of them) when she and her crew came across some sort of hyperspatial gateway that led to a point in space far, far away, where was parked an actual Martian spaceship. But the war got in the way. All that's needed now is to bust the lead archaeologist out of the internment camp she's being held in, line up some corporate backer for more manpower, equipment, and financing, stake a claim without being killed, and get filthy rich. It's not quite so easy in actuality, of course, what with all the corporate espionage going on and a senseless war raging, but Kovacs (a killing machine who's sick to death of death, though he can't deny his knack for it) will likely manage. Here, Morgan has nicely expanded the scope of his series, giving a detailed look at thechaotic hodge-podge that interstellar discovery has turned a small section of the galaxy into, along with the Milosevic-like bureaucrats and soldiers jockeying for position in it. Occasionally overdosing on world-weariness, but nevertheless a thrilling cyberpunk actioner.
“A cinema-rich world rivaling that of Philip K. Dick.”
“Morgan writes with . . . panache and conviction. . . . Drenched in brutality and yet with a sensitivity in the [narrative], it seems a fairly safe bet Morgan’s going to be a heavy hitter in the genre.”
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