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Shadow of the Scorpion: A Novel of the Polity [Anglais] [Poche]

Neal Asher

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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 4.4 étoiles sur 5  31 commentaires
14 internautes sur 16 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 superb 12 novembre 2008
Par Thomas D. Gulch - Publié sur
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
Neal Asher is becoming something of a phenomenon. The man never fails to deliver. This novel 'shadow of the scorpion' could be taken as a prequel to his entire polity universe, the description of Ian Cormac as a child,his first foray into combat with the sparkind and ECS, his first meeting with terrorists or as asher has it 'separatists' and what formed Cormac's life and morality. We meet Cormac's mother, brother and the memory of his heroic and yet tragic father. We discover that it is indeed possible for 'golem' or androids to engage in the sports of venus when it suits them. In it we meet some friends and characters both human and AI from the polity universe brought to life in all of his wonderful 'polity' novels. This being a prequel in no way diminishes any of the fun that Asher's fan's expect and that Asher does, indeed, deliver with a CTD of pure enjoyment. Good going, and I hope Asher never tires of writing these wonderful books.
7 internautes sur 8 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Ian Cormac: The Early Years 5 avril 2010
Par Michael Lichter - Publié sur
Ian Cormac is Neal Asher's James Bond, albeit a Bond colder, more calculating, and deadlier than even the new Daniel Craig version. Cormac's lack of affect and human connection is central to the plot of the first Cormac novel, GRIDLINKED, but how did he become a cold-blooded killer in the first place? Were his parents murdered before his eyes by a petty thug, like Bruce Wayne's in "Batman"? Did he experience some other sort of transformative event?

The best answer I can glean from Asher's sixth Cormac novel, SHADOW OF THE SCORPION, is that he was just born that way. The novel proceeds on two tracks, one dealing with his experiences as an eight-year-old on Earth during the Prador War, and another dealing with his first mission with Earth Central Security at age twenty-two (or so). Cormac's childhood was not idyllic--his father was away fighting in the war, his mother was emotionally fragile and possibly alcoholic, and his older brother returned from the war badly damaged and barely able to talk about the horrors he had witnessed. Cormac wasn't abused or badly neglected, however, and little that happened appeared to faze him. The only shred of psychological explanation is an oblique reference to mild autism.

The core of the novel, however, is not Cormac's childhood but the other track. As a newly minted grunt, Cormac is quickly thrust into an adventure that involves him infiltrating a terrorist network and ultimately chasing a bad guy halfway around the galaxy. By the end, he has advanced into the elite ranks of the Sparkind and is well on his way to becoming a full-fledged Polity Agent. This does little to differentiate SHADOW OF THE SCORPION from the other Cormac novels, but it's done well enough that few Asher fans will complain ... at least not loudly.

The titular scorpion is a war drone that ominously appears several times in the novel, and each time he appears to want to speak with Cormac, but is thwarted. There is clearly some connection between the drone and Cormac's father, but the nature of that connection is left hazy until the very end. Asher provides few clues, leaving the reader to wonder whether the drone might somehow *be* Cormac's father, or might know that Cormac's father is alive somewhere and playing at Darth Vader, or under the spell of an evil wizard, or something like that. The scorpion is in the title, he appears several times in the book, so he must have something really important to say, right? Unfortunately, when Cormac finally catches up with the scorpion, what the scorpion tells us, while sad, will have about as much impact on the reader as it does on Cormac, which is to say not much. And that says a lot about this novel.

SHADOW OF THE SCORPION will appeal most to those who have read most or all of the preceding Cormac novels, and it will make the most sense to readers who have completed at least GRIDLINKED and SPATTERJAY, but readers without prior exposure to Asher and his Polity universe will not be lost.
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Another excellent novel from Asher 17 mai 2010
Par Mark Chitty - Publié sur
Shadow of the Scorpion is another stand alone novel from Night Shade Books (the first was Prador Moon), this time focusing on the early years of Ian Cormac, the ECS agent we all know from the Gridlinked sequence. Neal has taken a character that has gone through many experiences and gone back to the beginning, to see what made IanCormac what he is. The story is told against the backdrop of the end of the Prador war, still ongoing while he was a child and the aftermath to deal with during his ECS training.

Cormac and his two squad mates are stationed on Hagren, a planet near the Graveyard of wrecked worlds from the Prador war. With a Prador dreadnought crashed on the surface they are given the job of routine sentry duty, a task that is considered both mundane and routine. That is until theseparatists try to sneak in and steal a deadly CTD, a bomb with devastating power. With surviving Prador aboard the dreadnought and the separatist threat, Cormac soon finds himself in a dangerous situation and an investigation into the separatist activities, one that leads him to discover just what he's capable of.

During this narrative we are given flashbacks to Cormac's youth, the unusual appearance of a scorpion shaped war drone and the experiences his family go through. Why this drone turns up is a question thatCormac asks himself, and will reveal a secret that has been hidden for years.

I will make no apology about being a huge fan of Neal's work, I love the way he can create believable and hugely enjoyable worlds and his story telling skills are second to none. When I found out that this book was to focus onCormac's earlier life, and that it was to be published by Night Shade Books, I got pretty excited. The excellent Prador Moon was the first collaboration between the two and my only real criticism was the fact that the story was a little on the short side. Of course, there are perfectly good reasons for this, but when I heard Shadow of the Scorpion was out from the same publisher I feared it may be the same situation. There was nothing to worry about though, this is a decent sized novel (although not quite as long as Neal's usual output) and thoroughly enjoyable.

As I've not read all the Cormac novels that Neal has written I can't compare to them, but of the ones I have read (Gridlinked, Line of Polity), this measures up nicely. There are obvious differences between a raw recruit and that of a fully fledged ECS agent, but apart from that Shadow of the Scorpion does a great job introducing a likable and motivated character in Cormac. He's got strengths and weaknesses, but it's his determination and adaptability that shines through here. In fact, all the characters that we meet are very well presented, none come across as shallow or two dimensional and each contribute effectively to the story.

As for the story itself, another winning combination of character development, aliens, action and political undertones. If you like Neal's other stuff then this is a novel you can't miss, but it's also an ideal step on point for those new to Neal's work. I thought this was one of Neal's best to date, and if this is any indication of what to expect from the next few novels, we're all in for a real treat.
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Good solid Asher work 12 mars 2009
Par Sci Fi Guy - Publié sur
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
This is another excellent book by Neal Asher (who is fast becoming my favorite author). This book is basicly a little biography of Polity Agent Ian Cormac, starting from his childhood and going thru his younger years. It provides some good background of his development into the character we recognize in Gridlinked and Brass Man, with some interesting little sidetracks into other areas of the Polity universe.

If you like other Neal Asher works this should definitely be a good purchase, used to fill in your knowledge of his Polity
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 One of the best Ian Cormac novels 6 septembre 2010
Par Daniel A. Segel - Publié sur
While shorter than the other Ian Cormac novels and a quick read, Shadow of the Scorpion is an outstanding story; it is both better paced and more interesting than some of Gridlink series. Probably best read after the other 5 novels, and after The Skinner if you want to fully understand some key elements, but it stands alone and could also serve as an introduction to Ian Cormac as well. SotS is one of my favorite Neal Asher novels now.
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