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Thirteenby Richard K. Morgan
Thirteen is a futuristic techno-thriller and a sci-fi masterpiece. I was reminded of Dan Simmons's Hyperion the world and its people are that richly drawn. At once gripping and thoughtful, this is a novel worthy of the top awards. It's got my vote.
Synopses & Reviews
The future isn't what it used to be since Richard K. Morgan arrived on the scene. He unleashed Takeshi Kovacs — private eye, soldier of fortune, and all-purpose antihero — into the body-swapping, hard-boiled, urban jungle of tomorrow in Altered Carbon, Broken Angels, and Woken Furies, winning the Philip K. Dick Award in the process. In Market Forces, he launched corporate gladiator Chris Faulkner into the brave new business of war-for-profit. Now, in Thirteen, Morgan radically reshapes and recharges science fiction yet again, with a new and unforgettable hero in Carl Marsalis: hybrid, hired gun, and a man without a country...or a planet.
Marsalis is one of a new breed. Literally. Genetically engineered by the U.S. government to embody the naked aggression and primal survival skills that centuries of civilization have erased from humankind, Thirteens were intended to be the ultimate military fighting force. The project was scuttled, however, when a fearful public branded the supersoldiers dangerous mutants, dooming the Thirteens to forced exile on Earth's distant, desolate Mars colony. But Marsalis found a way to slip back — and into a lucrative living as a bounty hunter and hit man before a police sting landed him in prison — a fate worse than Mars, and much more dangerous.
Luckily, his "enhanced" life also seems to be a charmed one. A new chance at freedom beckons, courtesy of the government. All Marsalis has to do is use his superior skills to bring in another fugitive. But this one is no common criminal. He's another Thirteen — one who's already shanghaied a space shuttle, butchered its crew, and left a trail of bodies in his wake on a bloody cross-country spree. And like his pursuer, he was bred to fight to the death. Still, there's no question Marsalis will take the job. Though it will draw him deep into violence, treachery, corruption, and painful confrontation with himself, anything is better than remaining a prisoner. The real question is: can he remain sane — and alive — long enough to succeed?
"This stellar new stand-alone from Morgan, known for his compelling future noir thrillers (Altered Carbon, etc.), raises tantalizing questions about the nature of humanity. Future governments have used genetic manipulation to create subhumans twisted to fit specialized tasks. Normal people are intrigued as well as repulsed, but they instinctively dread variation thirteen, an aggressive, ruthless throwback to a time before civilization. When a thirteen escapes from exile on Mars and apparently goes on an insane killing spree, Carl Marsalis, a soul-weary freelance thirteen hit man, is hired to help track him down. Morgan goes beyond the SF cliché of the genetically enhanced superman to examine how personality is shaped by nature and experience. Marsalis is more empathetic than the normal people around him, but they can see him only as an untrustworthy killer. At the same time, surveying corrupt, fractured normal society, the novel questions whether the thirteens are just less successful at hiding their motives. Without slowing down the headlong rush of the action, the complex, looping plot suggests that all people may be less — or more — than they seem." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"The prose, as always, is hard-edged and often violently graphic, and the dialogue punchy and realistic....Similarities in tone and substance to the genre-bending works of Philip K. Dick and (to a lesser extent) William Gibson are surely not accidental, although Morgan is no imitator. He's too good for that." Booklist (Starred Review)
"Thirteen is almost unbearably good....Harrowing truths, gritty romance, complex politics, synapse-swift action, technological advances just vanishing over the event horizon: they're all there. They're all achingly good." Seattle Times
"Fans of Altered Carbon will embrace this novel as a must-purchase for their sci-fi library. Morgan is a genius at holding the reader's attention, and storytelling mastery is his forte. Thirteen is his latest triumph." BookReporter.com
From the award-winning author of Altered Carbon, Broken Angels, and Market Forces comes this near-future thriller featuring a hit man who has lost his desire to kill. Unfortunately, certain government officials don't want to let him off the hook that easily.
About the Author
Richard K. Morgan is the acclaimed author of Woken Furies, Market Forces, Broken Angels, and Altered Carbon, a New York Times Notable Book that also won the Philip K. Dick Award. Morgan sold the movie rights for Altered Carbon to Joel Silver and Warner Bros. His third book, Market Forces, has also been sold to Warner Bros. He lives in Scotland.
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