Richard K. Morgan has received widespread praise for his astounding twenty-fifth-century novels featuring Takeshi Kovacs, and has established a growing legion of fans. Mixing classic noir sensibilities with a searing futuristic vision of an age when death is nearly meaningless, Morgan returns... read more
Takeshi Kovacs finds himself back on his home planet of Harlan's World. Nine-tenths water, Harlan's World is surrounded by 'orbitals' that were created by "Martians". The Harlan's World orbitals are programmed to destroy any object of sufficient technological level flying above ~400 meters... read more (warning: may contain spoilers)
Takeshi Kovacs finds himself back on his home planet of Harlan's World. Nine-tenths water, Harlan's World is surrounded by 'orbitals' that were created by "Martians". The Harlan's World orbitals are programmed to destroy any object of sufficient technological level flying above ~400 meters altitude and do so with high-energy beam weapons know as "Angelfire".
In the Kovacs universe, "Martians" are a long-dead, super-advanced, avian/winged species who disappeared from our galaxy, leaving behind inscrutable artifacts and a few pieces of operating technology. They are referred to as "Martians" by humans because our first discovery of them is on Mars. Their homeworld is unknown, lost in the millennium since they were active in any space humans have discovered. This mystery is compounded by the Martians peculiar habit of showing all maps with the local settlement at the center of the universe, rather than relative to a fixed homeworld or system. Martian civilization is covered in more detail in the second Kovacs novel Broken Angels which centers around a Martian gateway.
Kovacs is on the run after making numerous attacks against the Knights of the New Revelation, an extremist religious order. He has declared a personal vendetta against the New Revelation with the express intent of killing every member, revenge for the killing of a long lost love and her daughter for violating the strict tenets of the order.
While trying to secure passage after his most recent attack, he saves a woman named Sylvie from a group of religious zealots. In return, she allows him to take refuge with her mercenary "deCom" crew as they head out to decommission sentient military hardware that has run amok on a nearby continent. Sylvie is the "command head" of her crew, coordinating their missions using embedded circuitry and software. During one of these missions, Sylvie collapses, and upon recovery her personality appears to have been replaced by that of long-dead revolutionary leader Quellcrist Falconer.
The crew return to base where they discover a younger version of Kovacs has been illegally duplicated and is hunting them on behalf of the Harlans, dictators of Harlan's World. Most of Sylvie's crew is killed and Sylvie/Quellcrist is captured. Kovacs schemes to rescue Sylvie by approaching old criminal associates of his, the Little Blue Bugs.
The Little Blue Bugs mount a semi-successful attack on a Harlan fortress and rescue Sylvie/Quellcrist. Hiding from Harlan forces in a floating base, the neo-Quellists are sold out by its owner and recaptured. An assault by Kovacs and a single UN Envoy on the base ends badly when Kovacs is betrayed by the Envoy who was actually embedded with several colleagues. However, Sylvie/Quellcrist has established a connection with the AI/consciousness which operates the orbitals and calls down anglefire, eliminating their captors but sparing Kovacs and his original Envoy instructor and current revolutionary comrade-in-arms, Virginia Vidaura. Kovacs' younger self catches up with him and after a struggle, Kovacs decides not to kill his younger self but instead allow him life and the chance to make the same decisions he himself had to make. Nonetheless the younger self is killed by one of the survivors of the combat.
Kovacs, Vidaura and Sylvie/Quellcrist are left to wait and see whether they will be able to incite a planet-wide revolution with Sylvie/Quellcrist's newfound connection to the orbitals and the expansion of a long-dormant genetic virus which will turn the population against the ruling oligarchy.
“Classic poverty dynamic, people clutch at anything. And if the choice is religion or revolution, the government's quite happy to stand back and let the priests get on with it.”Takeshi Kovacs
“You think this war ever stopped? You think just because we clawed some concessions from them three hundred years ago, these people ever stopped looking for ways to fuck us back into … poverty again. This isn't an enemy that goes away.”
it’s amazing how constant repetition can make even the most obvious truths irritating enough to disagree with.Highlighted by 27 Kindle customers
“This enemy you cannot kill,” I murmured. He nodded and finished the quote for me. “You can only drive it back damaged into the depths and teach your children to watch the waves for its return.”Highlighted by 20 Kindle customers
There is thought and there is action, a youngish Quell once said, stealing liberally, I later discovered, from Harlan’s World’s ancient samurai heritage. Do not confuse the two. When the time comes to act, your thought must already be complete. There will be no room for it when the action begins.Highlighted by 20 Kindle customers
If the facts are against you, she said, but you cannot bear to cease believing—then at least suspend judgment. Wait and see.”Highlighted by 19 Kindle customers
“Rage at injustice is a forest fire—it jumps all divides, even those between generations.”Highlighted by 19 Kindle customers
“Many of you cringe along in compliance, hoping to peel something of worth from the less psychotic directives of your gynocidal belief system because you don’t have the wit or nerve to build something entirely new. I know.”Highlighted by 17 Kindle customers
“Every previous revolutionary movement in human history has made the same basic mistake. They’ve all seen power as a static apparatus, as a structure. And it’s not. It’s a dynamic, a flow system with two possible tendencies. Power either accumulates, or it diffuses through the system.Highlighted by 15 Kindle customers
“Skip it. We all get our dreams stamped on from time to time, right? And if it didn’t hurt, what kind of second-rate dreams would they be?”Highlighted by 15 Kindle customers
The priest I didn’t talk to at all, because I didn’t want to have to hide his body afterward.Highlighted by 13 Kindle customers
If in the end I have to fight and die for the ghost and memory of Quellcrist Falconer and not the woman herself, then that will be better than not fighting at all.”Highlighted by 10 Kindle customers
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