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Summary

Created to die - determined to live.

Jack Four - one of 20 human clones - has been created to be sold. His purchasers are the alien prador, and they only want him for their experimentation program. But there is something different about Jack. No clone should possess the knowledge that’s been loaded into his mind. And no normal citizen of humanity’s Polity worlds would have this information.

The prador’s king has been mutated by the Spatterjay virus into a creature even more monstrous than the prador themselves. And his children, the King’s Guard, have undergone similar changes. They were infected by the virus during the last humans-versus-prador war, now lapsed into an uneasy truce. But the prador are always looking for new weapons - and their experimentation program might give them the edge they seek.

Suzeal trades human slaves out of the Stratogaster Space Station, re-engineering them to serve the prador. She thinks the rewards are worth the risks, but all that is about to change. The station was once a zoo, containing monsters from across known space. All the monsters now dwell on the planet below, but they aren’t as contained as they seem. And a vengeful clone may be the worst danger of all.

©2021 Neal Asher (P)2021 Macmillan Publishers International Ltd

Critic reviews

"Neal Asher’s books are like an adrenaline shot targeted directly for the brain." (John Scalzi, author of the Old Man’s War series) 

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Preder Preder Preder

Neal, I know you look at these things, For my perspective, i'd just started playing a game called "Empyrion" You wake up as a clone in hostile territory with a hunger... and I seem to eat every 5 mins in that game or i'm in real danger of dying of hunger - good to see Jack feels the same way..or was it me ? Bravo for the uncanny timing of this coming out. FOR THE LOVE OF BROCKLE never ever use this Narrator again, ever. For every one of the your other books, the wonderful narrators say the word "Prador" and pronounce the "o" The genius narrator of this book has decided to pronounce it " Prader" with fekcin E instead of an O. It really really hurts to listen to the name diminished, it's just wrong.

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Has the feel of a spaghetti western .

Annoying mispronunciation of Prador throughout which grated during a fast paced action adventure which just happened to be based in the Polity.

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One of my favourite SF writers.

Good hard SF book with plenty of action in his familiar universe. Excellent narration.

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Profile Image for Stuart Forsyth
  • Stuart Forsyth
  • 26-06-21

Not up to Asher’s usual standard

Being a longtime fan of Neil Asher and the rich and terrifying universe he has created I couldn’t help at being disappointed with this one. Perhaps it was the first person perspective. Rather than creating a sense of intimacy or urgency it played out like a rather long winded first person shooter. Even the hooders, usually a terrifying menace in prior stories, felt like props that popped up at the end of a level and then went on their merry way. Overall entirely missable.