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Broken Angels
 
 

Broken Angels [Format Kindle]

Richard K. Morgan
4.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (1 commentaire client)

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Descriptions du produit

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Critics have compared Richard Morgan's first novel, Altered Carbon, to the classic hardboiled fiction of Raymond Chandler. The comparison doesn't accurately describe Morgan's second novel, Broken Angels. Morgan's prose never approaches Chandler's metaphoric excess, and Morgan's antihero, Takeshi Kovacs, doesn't wisecrack nearly as often as Chandler's hero, Philip Marlowe. Also, Kovacs's far-future universe is considerably darker than Marlowe's noir world. In Kovacs's universe, high-tech implants called "stacks" record memory and personality; this means soldiers can be sent to their deaths, have their stacks implanted in new bodies, and be sent to their deaths again, and again, and again. Generals needn't quibble about wasting lives in massacres or nuclear explosions. The slaughtered soldiers will soon be back in action--unless their stacks aren't recovered. Then their consciousness will go mad, isolated in an indestructible, inescapable virtual reality. The proper term for the Takeshi Kovacs novels isn't "hardboiled." It's "brutal."

The Martians disappeared long ago, but they left behind their star gates, which have allowed humanity to spread across the galaxy--and bring warfare to the stars. As Broken Angels opens, Takeshi Kovacs is a lieutenant in humankind's most feared mercenary company, but rumors of an astonishing archaelogical discovery inspire his desertion. Humans have never found a Martian starship until, perhaps, now. If the rumors are true, and the ruthless Kovacs can take possession of the unprecedented relic, he will make his fortune. But if he fails in his quest, he may find himself imprisoned in high-tech hell for eternity. --Cynthia Ward

Extrait

CHAPTER ONE

I first met Jan Schneider in a Protectorate orbital hospital, three hundred kilometers above the ragged clouds of Sanction IV and in a lot of pain. Technically there wasn’t supposed to be a Protectorate presence anywhere in the Sanction system—what was left of planetary government was insisting loudly from its bunkers that this was an internal matter, and local corporate interests had tacitly agreed to sign along that particular dotted line for the time being.

Accordingly, the Protectorate vessels that had been hanging around the system since Joshua Kemp raised his revolutionary standard in Indigo City had had their recognition codes altered, in effect being bought out on long-term lease by various of the corporations involved, and then reloaned to the embattled government as part of the—tax deductible—local development fund. Those that were not pulled out of the sky by Kemp’s unexpectedly efficient secondhand marauder bombs would be sold back to the Protectorate, lease unexpired, and any net losses once again written off to tax. Clean hands all around. In the meantime, any senior personnel injured fighting against Kemp’s forces got shuttled out of harm’s way, and this had been my major consideration when choosing sides. It had the look of a messy war.

The shuttle off-loaded us directly onto the hospital’s hangar deck, using a device not unlike a massive ammunition feed belt to dump the dozens of capsule stretchers with what felt like unceremonious haste. I could hear the shrill whine of the ship’s engines still dying away as we rattled and clanked our way out over the wing and down onto the deck, and when they cracked open my capsule the air in the hangar burned my lungs with the chill of recently evacuated hard space. An instant layer of ice crystals formed on everything, including my face.

“You!” It was a woman’s voice, harsh with stress. “Are you in pain?”

I blinked some of the ice out of my eyes and looked down at my blood-caked battledress.

“Take a wild guess,” I croaked.

“Medic! Endorphin boost and GP antiviral here.” She bent over me again and I felt gloved fingers touch my head at the same time as the cold stab of the hypospray into my neck. The pain ebbed drastically. “Are you from the Evenfall front?”

“No,” I managed weakly. “Northern Rim assault. Why? What happened at Evenfall?”

“Some fucking terminal buttonhead just called in a tactical nuclear strike.” There was a cold rage chained in the doctor’s voice. Her hands moved down my body, assessing damage. “No radiation trauma, then. What about chemicals?”

I tilted my head fractionally at my lapel. “Exposure meter. Should tell you. That.”

“It’s gone,” she snapped. “Along with most of that shoulder.”

“Oh.” I mustered words. “Think I’m clean. Can’t you do a cell scan?”

“Not here, no. The cellular-level scanners are built into the ward decks. Maybe when we can clear some space for you all up there, we’ll get around to it.” The hands left me. “Where’s your bar code?”

“Left temple.”

Someone wiped blood away from the designated area and I vaguely felt the sweep of the laser scan across my face. A machine chirped approval, and I was left alone. Processed.

For a while I just lay there, content to let the endorphin booster relieve me of both pain and consciousness, all with the suave alacrity of a butler taking a hat and coat. A small part of me was wondering whether the body I was wearing was going to be salvageable, or if I’d have to be resleeved. I knew that Carrera’s Wedge maintained a handful of small clone banks for its so-called indispensable staff, and as one of only five ex-Envoys soldiering for Carrera, I definitely numbered among that particular elite. Unfortunately, indispensability is a double-edged sword. On the one hand it gets you elite medical treatment, up to and including total body replacement. On the downside, the only purpose of said treatment is to throw you back into the fray at the earliest possible opportunity. A plankton-standard grunt whose body was damaged beyond repair would just get his cortical stack excised from its snug little housing at the top of the spinal column, then slung into a storage canister, where it would probably stay until the whole war was over. Not an ideal exit, and despite the Wedge’s reputation for looking after their own, there was no actual guarantee of resleeving, but at times in the screaming chaos of the last few months that step into stored oblivion had seemed almost infinitely desirable.

“Colonel. Hey, Colonel.”

I wasn’t sure if the Envoy conditioning was keeping me awake, or if the voice at my side had nagged me back to consciousness again. I rolled my head sluggishly to see who was speaking.

It seemed we were still in the hangar. Lying on the stretcher beside me was a muscular-looking young man with a shock of wiry black hair and a shrewd intelligence in his features that even the dazed expression of the endorphin hit could not mask. He was wearing a Wedge battledress like mine, but it didn’t fit him very well and the holes in it didn’t seem to correspond with the holes in him. At his left temple, where the bar code should have been, there was a convenient blaster burn.

“You talking to me?”

“Yes sir.” He propped himself up on one elbow. They must have dosed him with a lot less than me. “Looks like we’ve really got Kemp on the run down there, doesn’t it?”

“That’s an interesting point of view.” Visions of 391 platoon being cut to shreds around me cascaded briefly though my head. “Where do you think he’s going to run to? Bearing in mind this is his planet, I mean.”

“Uh, I thought—”

“I wouldn’t advise that, soldier. Didn’t you read your terms of enlistment? Now, shut up and save your breath. You’re going to need it.”

“Uh, yes sir.” He was gaping a little, and from the sound of heads turning on nearby stretchers he wasn’t the only one surprised to hear a Carrera’s Wedge officer talking this way. Sanction IV, in common with most wars, had stirred up some heavy-duty feelings.

“And another thing.”

“Colonel?”

“This is a lieutenant’s uniform. And Wedge Command has no rank of colonel. Try to remember that.”

Then a freak wave of pain swept in from some mutilated part of my body, dodged through the grasp of the endorphin bouncers posted at the door of my brain, and started hysterically shrilling its damage report to anyone who’d listen. The smile I had pinned to my face melted away the way the cityscape must have done at Evenfall, and I abruptly lost interest in anything except screaming.



•••



Water was lapping gently somewhere just below me when I next woke up, and gentle sunlight warmed my face and arms. Someone must have removed the shrapnel-shredded remains of my combat jacket and left me with the sleeveless Wedge T-shirt. I moved one hand and my fingertips brushed age-smoothed wooden boards, also warm. The sunlight made dancing patterns on the insides of my eyelids.

There was no pain.

I sat up, feeling better than I had in months. I was stretched out on a small, simply made jetty that extended a dozen meters or so out into what appeared to be a fjord or sea loch. Low, rounded mountains bounded the water on either side and fluffy white clouds scudded unconcernedly overhead. Farther out in the loch a family of seals poked their heads above the water and regarded me gravely.

My body was the same Afro-Caribbean combat sleeve I’d been wearing on the Northern Rim assault, undamaged and unscarred.

So.

Footsteps scraped on the boards behind me. I jerked my head sideways, hands lifting reflexively into an embryonic guard. Way behind the reflex came the confirming thought that in the real world no one could have gotten that close without my sleeve’s proximity sense kicking in.

“Takeshi Kovacs,” said the uniformed woman standing over me, getting the soft slavic ch at the end of the name correct. “Welcome to the recuperation stack.”

“Very nice.” I climbed to my feet, ignoring the offered hand. “Am I still aboard the hospital?”

The woman shook her head and pushed long, riotous copper-colored hair back from her angular face. “Your sleeve is still in intensive care, but your current consciousness has been digitally freighted to Wedge One Storage until you are ready to be physically revived.”

I looked around and turned my face upward to the sun again. It rains a lot on the Northern Rim. “And where is Wedge One Storage? Or is that classified?”

“I’m afraid it is.”

“How did I guess?”

“Your dealings with the Protectorate have doubtless acquainted you with—”

“Skip it. I was being rhetorical.” I already had a pretty good idea where the virtual format was located. Standard practice in a planetary war situation is to fling a handful of low-albedo sneak stations into crazy elliptical orbits way out and hope none of the local military traffic stumbles onto them. The odds are pretty good in favor of no one ever finding you. Space, as textbooks are given to saying, is big.

“What ratio are you running all this on?”

“Real-time equivalence,” the woman said promptly. “Though I can speed it up if you prefer.”

The thought of having my no doubt short-lived convalescence stretched out here by a factor of anything up to about three hundred was tempting, but if I was going to be dragged back to the fighting sometime soon in real time, it was probably better not to lose the edge. Added to which, I wasn’t sure that Wedge Command would let me do too much stretching. A couple of months pottering around hermitlike in this much natural beauty was bound to have a detrimental effect on one’s enthusiasm for wholesale slaughter.

“There is accommodation,” said the woman, pointing, “for your use. Please request modifications if you would like them.”

I followed the line of her arm to where a glass-and-wood two-story structure stood beneath gull-winged eaves on the edge of the long shingle beach.

“Looks fine.” Vague tendrils of sexual interest squirmed around in me. “Are you supposed to be my interpersonal ideal?”

The woman shook her head again. “I am an intraformat service construct for Wedge One Systems Overview, based physically on Lieutenant Colonel Lucia Mataran of Protectorate High Command.”

“With that hair? You’re kidding me.”

“I have latitudes of discretion. Do you wish me to generate an interpersonal ideal for you?”

Like the offer of a high-ratio format, it was tempting. But after six weeks in the company of the Wedge’s boisterous do-or-die commandos, what I wanted more than anything was to be alone for a while.

“I’ll think about it. Is there anything else?”

“You have a recorded briefing from Isaac Carrera. Do you wish it stored at the house?”

“No. Play it here. I’ll call you if I need anything else.”

“As you wish.” The construct inclined her head and snapped out of existence. In her place, a male figure in the Wedge’s black dress uniform shaded in. Close-cropped black hair seasoned with gray, a lined patrician face whose dark eyes and weathered features were somehow both hard and understanding, and beneath the uniform the body of an officer whose seniority had not removed him from the battlefield. Isaac Carrera, decorated ex–Vacuum Command captain and subsequently founder of the most feared mercenary force in the Protectorate. An exemplary soldier, commander, and tactician. Occasionally, when he had no other choice, a competent politician.

“Hello, Lieutenant Kovacs. Sorry this is only a recording, but Evenfall has left us in a bad situation and there wasn’t time to set up a link. The medical report says your sleeve can be repaired in about ten days, so we’re not going to go for a clone-bank option here. I want you back on the Northern Rim as soon as possible, but the truth is, we’ve been fought to a standstill there for the moment and they can live without you for a couple of weeks. There’s a status update appended to this recording, including the losses sustained in the last assault. I’d like you to look it over while you’re in virtual, set that famous Envoy intuition of yours to work. God knows, we need some fresh ideas up there. In a general context, acquisition of the Rim territories will provide one of the nine major objectives necessary to bring this conflict . . .”

I was already in motion, walking the length of the jetty and then up the sloping shore toward the nearest hills. The sky beyond was tumbled cloud but not dark enough for there to be a storm in the offing. It looked as if there would be a great view of the whole loch if I climbed high enough.

Behind me, Carrera’s voice faded on the wind as I left the projection on the jetty, mouthing its words to the empty air and maybe the seals, always assuming they had nothing better to do than listen to it.

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 696 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 544 pages
  • Pagination - ISBN de l'édition imprimée de référence : 0345457714
  • Editeur : Del Rey (2 mars 2004)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B000FC1BME
  • Synthèse vocale : Non activée
  • X-Ray :
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 4.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (1 commentaire client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: n°78.732 dans la Boutique Kindle (Voir le Top 100 dans la Boutique Kindle)
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4 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 action ,cyberpunk , hard science 6 juin 2003
Format:Broché
Vous voulez un livre avec de l'action et de la réflexion.ce livre est fait pour vous.Nous retrouvons Takeshi Kowacs d'Altered carbon.Cette fois , il est embringué dans une expédition archéologique en plein milieu d'une guerre planétaire.Le but est de prendre un vaisseaux extraterrestre vieux de milliers d'années.Mais il n'est pas seul dans cette aventure.Et la concurrence est sans pitié.Non décidément, l'humanité n'a pas changé au XXV° siècle.
L'action est violente et cruelle et très bien menée.bon , peut être un peu trop de cadavre.mais bon , ça marche parfaitement dans le contexte.
PS: ce n'est pas une suite , cela peut se lire indépendemment d'Altered carbon
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Amazon.com: 3.9 étoiles sur 5  129 commentaires
85 internautes sur 90 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 It's not Altered Carbon, but it's still fantastic 29 mars 2004
Par Jerry Brito - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
Last year I read Richard K. Morgan's first novel, Altered Carbon, and was blown away. Such smart, edge-of-your seat darkness is hard to come by. But it also meant that Morgan set a very high standard for himself in his debut.
Broken Angels is a wonderful book and I recommend it. It's a page-turner, but I have to say it isn't as hard-hitting as Altered Carbon. Still, to say that it is not as good would be unfair because the two books can't be compared. Where Morgan's antihero, Takeshi Kovacs, was ex-special-ops-turned-private-eye-by-circumstance in the first book, this time he returns to his military roots as a mercenary fighting a planetary rebellion. The mystery novel is a genre that lends itself to the twist and turns that makes Altered Carbon great. Morgan (perhaps smartly) avoids comparison by choosing a much more subdued wartime setting for this adventure.
One thing that remains constant is the darkness; you can't get more noir than this. While Morgan's consciousness-digitizing technology was cool and mind-bending in the first book, here it is dehumanizing and bleak. In one scene, Kovacs goes to a "souls market" where piles and piles of "stacks" (digitized personalities of real people) could be bought. Death is no longer the worst punishment possible; centuries of torture can be inflicted on your digital self. War and the attendant death have lost meaning. All this and the zero-sum power games played by governments, corporations, and guilds seem to contribute to Kovac's increasingly nihilist worldview.
Another difference that I wasn't so thrilled about is that while Kovacs was cast as a beat-down mercenary and half-hearted criminal just trying to "get to the next screen" in the first book, here he ultimately finds himself in the middle of one of the most important events in human history. I was expecting more of the anonymous and reluctant protagonist, so I guess I was a little thrown off.
Nevertheless, this is a fantastic book, and Richard K. Morgan is a great writer who I'm sure I'll pick up again. If you like Altered Carbon, you should definitely give this a shot. And is you haven't read Altered Carbon, what are you waiting for?
87 internautes sur 93 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 The next screen 14 mars 2004
Par John S. Ryan - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
_Altered Carbon_ wasn't a fluke. Richard K. Morgan is one _helluva_ writer.
This book has been available in the UK for the better part of a year, and having been thoroughly impressed with Morgan's first book, I've been eagerly awaiting the US release of his second. I am _so_ not disappointed.
You'll recognize the backdrop; it's the same corporate-controlled dystopian future we've seen in pretty much every cyber-nano-crypto-geno-neuro-psycho-techno-noir SF novel since Phil Dick founded cyberpunk and forgot to insist on receiving credit for it.
But Morgan isn't just recycling familiar themes here, any more than Beethoven imitated Bach by using some of the same notes. Morgan has his own outlook, his own themes, and his own voice.
If you've read the introductory plot summaries elsewhere on this page, you already know everything I could tell you without spoiling things. Suffice it to say that Takeshi Kovacs is back and in excellent form. Here, he's initially serving with Carrera's Wedge, deployed on Sanction IV against an uprising led by one Joshua Kemp, when he's approached with -- and accepts -- a surprising offer.
_Broken Angels_ not only has a fine plot of its own but fills in some more of the backstory for _Altered Carbon_. Nor is it a rehash of its hardboiled-PI predecessor; this one's military SF, more along the lines of _The Forever War_, with which it shares some abstract themes and narrative flavor.
That narrative flavor alone makes the book worth reading. Morgan is such a powerful writer that even if you get bored with the action (not likely), you can enjoy yourself by just sitting back and watching the prose crackle. (But don't look away for even a single paragraph; you'll miss something.)
In short, _Broken Angels_ will appeal to readers who liked _Altered Carbon_ but who don't expect Morgan to keep rewriting the same book over and over. _Very_ well done, and it belongs on the very shortest shortlist of good recent SF.
26 internautes sur 28 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 The best new SF writer in ages.... 11 avril 2004
Par D. Olson - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
I have now read Broken Angels and Morgan's first book Altered Carbon, and although most other reviewers seem to like AC better, I think the 2nd book is actually better. Altered Carbon was a brilliant book, but many of its concepts have already been done. It was the setting and character of Takeshi Kovacs that made it so outstanding. You should however go right out and read it if you have not yet done so.
With Broken Angels Morgan is moving into a different territory. There is still the "great mystery" that is the subject of just about any book of this type, but Morgan does a better job with the characters and plot. The one thing that I actually like that seems to upset other reviewers is that he does not always explain the 'cultural artifacts' that he inserts. I like how he references some idea, only to move on, leaving it for future exploration or your own imagination of how it ties into his world. In particular, I love the Quellist quotes that lay throughout both books. I'd love to see him write a "biography" of Quellcrist Falconer and hope its already planned. Given the big revelation at the end of the book, he certainly intends to continue with the Quellist involvement in the books.
Just as a possibility, by looking at the acknowlegements section of this book, it should be clear that he leans towards a feminist/evil government/evil corporation world view and it impinges upon his writing. I think in many ways he is trying to do for these subjects what Andrew Vachss has done for child abuse with his books, but he's not quite as good an author as Vachss.
Anyway, please go out and read both of these books. They deserve to be read as some of the better sci-fi with cyberpunk overtones that have been published in a while. I'd have to rate them as my most favorite books since Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson.
11 internautes sur 11 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Best new sf author in a decade . . . 2 juin 2004
Par Michael K. Smith - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
Morgan came out of nowhere in 2002 with _Altered Carbon_, the first novel about Takeshi Kovacs, overstressed, dangerously empathic diplomat/soldier trying to stay alive (more or less) four centuries into a future in which the mind lives in a bit of metal housed at the top of the spine and can be re-installed in any convenient "sleeve." This time out, a disgusted Kovacs is recruited by a deserter from the other side to set up an expedition to check out a major find left by the long-disappeared Martians -- who are the only reason humans are out in space to begin with. It's a quest tale, and a very good one, but the real pleasure, for me, is in the author's masterful portrayal and development of the characters. You don't necessarily have to like Kovacs, and you certainly wouldn't feel comfortable around him, but after two excellent novels, you would probably begin to understand him. There's some great quotable passages here, too, about the nature of war, and government, and loyalty, and the human situation in the universe. If _Broken Angels_ doesn't win the Hugo or the Nebula, or both, there is no justice. But, then, Kovacs knows that already.
20 internautes sur 23 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 My favorite Sci-Fi book since Snowcrash. Maybe ever... 29 avril 2004
Par Christian Hunter - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
...It would be difficult for me to overstate my appreciation and respect for Broken Angels; the second in what will be a series of novels about Takeshi Kovacs, the semi-immortal antihero who is as animated and complex as the mind-numbingly interesting times he operates in.
Not since (Neal Stephenson's) Snowcrash has my thirsty sci-fi craving mind been deluged with so many fantastically interesting technology spawned drama. From "cortical stacks" (devices that sit at the base of the brain stem and record the exact neural map of their host serving as a de-facto redundant brain) to "re-sleeving" (the process of transferring the stack to a new body); from "hypercasting" (speed of light transmission of consciousness from on point to another for re-sleeving) to the "virtuals" (AI governed simulations that serve every purpose, from entertainment to torture and interrogation - all at a subjective speed of their choice...5 minutes could equal 1 year, 100 years could equal 5 minutes...not fun when someone who wants the truth out of you decides to use fire and pliers at 1,000,000X slower than real-time).
At this day in age it's difficult for an author to spawn un-heard-of concepts, however, Richard K. Morgan gives life to theoretical possibility and stitches it into thrilling drama as good as any author today. Consider this is his second (after Altered Carbon) published book; we have reason to celebrate the arrival of a major force in the Sci-Fi scene. There is no doubt in my mind that this (still relatively obscure) author will be popularly regarded as one of the best in the genre in coming years.
So, with that glowing preface, a bit about the book. I guess there are two principle ways I could consider its value...first, in contrast to his first work, Altered Carbon; second, to other contemporary Sci-Fi.
To the first, in contrast with Altered Carbon, a book I regarded at reading as the best since Snowcrash, I consider Broken Angels a better work. In my opinion, Morgan's creative capacity for description has matured (from extraordinary to brilliant). As an amatuer writer, voracious reader, and semi-experienced reviewer, it's none to common to find an author in this genre that can combine high-minded scientific concepts with delicious prose.
Altered Carbon had Takeshi Kovacs serving as a mercenary detective working for a "victim" of a suicide that (when revived) couldn't buy the explanation of the police as to the motive of his suicide. A brilliant and fantastic work. Broken Angels centers Takeshi in a much broader and complex environment. Acting as a warrior-for-hire in a massive struggle to put down a planetary revolt, Takeshi is pulled into even higher drama when he is coerced into a close-knit consipiracy to lay claim to an ancient (Martian) spacecraft; the archeological find of several lifetimes.
In terms of how this novel matches up to others, as indicated at the start of this review, not since Stephenson has an author been able to "put so many conceptual balls in the air" and still maintain a cohesive, entertaining, and rich reading experience.
Without giving much away, the sophistication and abundance of Takeshi's adversaries; from hyper-evolving nanotech weapons, nuke-lobbing Rebel forces, Interplanetary governments, and even his own crew; keep you turning the pages like you've been poisoned and the next page has the antidote...However, it's not just carnage, quite the opposite, Broken Angels is rich in social commentary and philosophical perspective. From the effects of semi-immortality on individual perspective to this novels exploration of "Martian culture" and the mysterious evidence of alien civilization left behind, ideas and fascinating considerations abound...
So much FUN!
I deliberately saved this review until my 100th for amazon. Call me sentimental, but this book is such a treasure to me.
If you haven't read Altered Carbon, I'd recommend reading that first. I don't consider that necessary, but I do believe reading AC and being exposed to allot of the jargon and technical terms of the series will permit a richer experience in Broken Angels.
Anyway, I hope this review was helpful.
Enjoy.
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