1/09/2010. Contributed by Geoff Willmetts
pub: Orbit. 353 page paperback. Price: £ 7.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-84149-875-1)
check out websites: www.orbitbooks.net , www.jeffreysomers.com and www.theterminalstate.com
The fourth book covering the exploits of tough assassin Avery Cates in the after-math of defeating Dick Marin's avatar police force has him somewhat rather too easily captured by the army. They in turn augment him with nanotechnology with a control switch held by an officer so he can't turn against them. This is a somewhat change of events for Cates as he no longer has his independence. Neither for that is he alone, although this time his two other team members are chosen for him, each with their own abilities and baggage. The Poet aka Adrian is the muscle and Mara is the lady to open the doors for them to complete their mission, not to mention holding the button to keep the other two in line. Their mission is to assassinate Londholm, an enemy to Cainnic Orel and the System Police. They have to make a hazardous trip to Hong Kong with an obstacle course of regulation customs, not helped by the fact that Cates is on a most wanted list and various military and rebel bands who might or might not help them along. To say this book is riddled with bloodshed is putting it mildly.
In fact, as these books progress the Science Fiction aspect is more an acknowledgement used in the normal sense of the word. Nanotech-powered Cates might be more powerful but it doesn't make him any better than he was previously, just means he can survive longer. As such it becomes more a plot device than as aspect of the reality and the bigger picture. Interestingly, these books are still an oddly interesting read but as Cates world falls down around him, he doesn't really seem to care what is happening to it other than surviving for himself. Would that be deemed as a reflection of today's society where people only care for themselves and should Cates want to do some serious changing before his world improves, only future books can tell.
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Stephen Hunt's novels - USA