cover image The Warship (Rise of the Jain #2)

The Warship (Rise of the Jain #2)

Neal Asher. Night Shade, $26.99 (384p) ISBN 978-1-59780-990-0

In this riveting sequel to The Soldier, Asher ramps up the pyrotechnics in the thunderous first salvoes of war between the human/AI Polity and the xenophobic Jain culture, which humans had believed long extinct. In the first book, a single Jain soldier was revived and then destroyed by Orlandine, a cyborg “haiman” in control of the Jaskoran system and one of the guardians of a nearby accretion disc, a former solar system scattered with dormant Jain tech. When the Clade, a swarm AI, assassinates multiple nodes of Orlandine’s consciousness, the Polity and the bellicose alien Prador Kingdom are alarmed and send armadas to the Jaskoran system. On Jaskor, Clade units cause further mayhem as they employ war and assassin drones to battle the no-longer-human (but still sympathetic) Captain Trike, who’s been overcome and made monstrous by the Shatterjay virus. Meanwhile, in the vicinity of the accretion disc, something mysterious is emerging from Underspace, and the Polity fears it’s a Jain ship. Asher depicts warfare as a catalyst of biological and technological evolution while entwining the reader in twisty conundrums and misdirections. This is Asher at the top of his game and the field of military science fiction. (May)