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Broken Angels by Richard K. Morgan
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Broken Angels (2003)

by Richard K. Morgan

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Takeshi Kovacs novels (2)

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Set 30 years after Altered Carbon, Takeshi Kovacs has escaped Earth, fleeing both the consequences of the events in Altered Carbon, and the relationship he was forced to abandon. He is now serving in Carrera's Wedge, a mercenary organisation which joins a corporate war on a distant colony, Sanction IV, and fights the rebellion against the corporate-sponsored government. While having his latest body repaired after a disastrous campaign, Kovacs is approached by pilot Jan Schneider, who is looking for protection for an expedition to exploit a Martian artifact discovered just before the war broke out.

The artifact, located in the middle of the war zone, is actually a portal linked to a point in outer space where a Martian starship lies. Kovacs and Schneider formulate a plan to recover the portal and begin by rescuing Tanya Wardani, the archaeologist who coordinated the pre-war dig, from a prison camp. Unable to reach the heavily contested location alone, Kovacs enlists the support of one of the major companies involved in feeding the war, the Mandrake Corporation, which is represented by an executive named Matthias Hand.

Kovacs and Hand buy hundreds of soldiers and from them select a squad for the expedition. Hand secretly leaks information that prompts the rebels to drop nuclear bombs on the city of Sauberville close to the site, which clears the site of opposing forces and the recovery expedition begins.

Near the artifact, an abandoned fishing boat is found with two dead bodies, drifting in its net. The portal is located in a cave and Tanya starts her work to translate the Martian hieroglyphics on the artifact in order to activate it. While awaiting Tanya's progress, the party are slowly being poisoned by radioactive fallout from the blast. During their first night at the dig site, an unknown member of the party attempts to sabotage the mission by using a grenade to destroy some equipment.

Upon securing the area, they encounter a group of nanobes - microscopical living components that can assemble into an intelligent bio-machine able to learn how to defend itself once attacked. Hand reveals to Kovacs that nanobes were deployed by a rival representative of the Mandrake Corporation in an attempt to secure the site. The nanobes evolve into more and more aggressive forms which attack the squad several times, eventually killing two members. During the last and strongest attack by nanobes, Tanya succeeds in opening the portal which, when confronted by the nanobes, deactivates them.

The party goes through the portal and finds a huge and inactive Martian starship, along with the bodies of Tanya's original archaeological team. Kovacs' squad enters the starship in order to place an ownership claim buoy inside. Kovacs notices that Schneider is free from radiation sickness. When confronted he escapes in the shuttle, killing another member in the process. Unknown to Schneider, Kovacs had mined the shuttle to explode on gate re-entry, apparently eliminating the mission's traitor.

During their exploration, the Martian starship is attacked by an unknown ship which causes its automated defence systems to come online. During the attack the party begins to experience visions and emotions from the dead Martians and comes close to madness. Hand realizes the danger and orders Kovacs to shoot the others with a stunning weapon to render them unconscious.

After the battle is over, the Wedge rescues and then imprisons the remaining members of the squad as one of them is wanted as a traitor by the Wedge. By this point Kovacs has become completely loyal to his new squad and retains no allegiance to the Wedge. During the traitor's torture, he is able to free his squad and kill the entire Wedge unit, apart from Carrera, who manages to escape through the portal. Despite being almost dead from radiation exposure, Kovacs follows him through and kills him.

Kovacs realizes that Wardani sabotaged the first archaeological expedition after discovering that her team wanted to use the Martian ship as a weapon. She was responsible for the two corpses on the fishing boat and for closing the portal behind the others. She also destroyed the equipment in the shuttle to prevent the team from finding out what happened. Tanya confesses everything to Kovacs and decides to stay and oversee the recovery of the portal, while Kovacs trades the rights to the Martian ship for safe passage out of the war zone for the surviving members of his team, who leave for another planet.

  bostonwendym | Mar 3, 2016 |
Takeshi Kovacs is a man for hire. He exists in virtual reality, like all minds without bodies, and is "re-sleeved" into a body when he has a job to do. And this time, his job is to get an archaeologist to an abandoned Martian spaceship. To get there, the team has to make their way through a war zone--a war in which Kovacs has already fought on both sides. The ship is flooded with radiation, drifting in the middle of space, and the architecture of the Martians is enough to literally drive humans mad.

It's one hell of an adventure. Less enjoyable than the last, though, I think mostly because there's nothing fun about war. Especially when Morgan, master of emotional and physical trauma, writes it. ( )
  wealhtheowwylfing | Feb 29, 2016 |
I love Morgan's writing, and I love Takeshi Kovacs, but even that couldn't save this novel. It's not terrible, but beside Altered Carbon it becomes dull and pointless. Maybe we're just seeing Kovacs on a standard, everyday mission (that involves alien artifacts and a war zone) but I'm not sure why we needed a switch to a space opera mercenary when former-elite soldier turned detective was working so well. ( )
  semjaza | Nov 7, 2015 |
I didn't think this was a good follow up to Altered Carbon, a book I really liked. In it, Takeshi Kovacs is a 25th century ex-military noir detective who has been resleeved (lived quite a few lives) and who solves a murder/suicide mystery. It's a good tale. I expected more of the same. Now, in a sequel, you do expect the author to deviate a LITTLE from the original, or it'd be more of the same. Same with music. But this? In Broken Angels, Takeshi Kovacs is a mercenary who is persuaded to become a ... mercenary to find some leftover Martian garbage that may or may not be worth a fortune. And he has to do it in a nuclear war zone. Pretty different from the first. And he's changed in this book. He's darker. He's more introspective. Not necessarily bad things -- just different. Also the sex is different. In the first book, it fit the plot. In this book, you get the most ridiculous sex scene that's perhaps ever been written, in VR no less. Stupid. The sex scenes seem forced and I didn't like them. They also all seem boilerplate to me. All of the women do all of the same things in exactly the same order to Kovacs, I guess exactly as Morgan likes in real life. Gag. I didn't finish this book. It wasn't exactly terrible. I just started reading other books and set it down. After it had been on my table for a month, I realized I just was no longer interested, so I'm giving up on it. 'Fraid I can't recommend it. ( )
  scottcholstad | Mar 9, 2015 |
The sexy man-beast Takeshi Kovacs is back in action, for yet another adventure! Yay! Get that sexy hunk a stripper pole to dance around. Don't bother with the g-string. Just let that hot wang flap in the breeze for us all to drool over.

Damn. That sounded gay. I'm not 100% gay, okay? But goddamn. I'm 90000% gay for Takeshi Kovacs. I guess it's because he's just so good at what he does. He always wins. If it's mind games, a sword fight, a shootout, or a straight-out brawl, Kovacs will win every time. Because he's just that fucking good.

Okay, enough of my drool...

This book is about Kovacs teaming up with yet another group of mercenaries, to recover an important alien artifact. You see, pretty much all of the high-tech stuff in their world, they stole from the aliens.

The problem is, those aliens were smart as fuck, and they put fun little booby traps in and around most of their artifacts, to wreak havoc with any fool who tries to snatch up such valuable items.

It's crazy, because all the aliens are long past dead. Like centuries past dead. But their ghosts haunt the artifacts. Not real ghosts, of course. That'd be silly. I mean hologram type ghosts and such. Defense ghosts.

This story isn't quite as good as the other Kovacs books, simply because there's much less anal porn. Hardly any fucking at all happens in this book. It's so sad. How can anyone deny such a hunky man-beast?

Dammit. Now I've got to go scour the interwebs for hot Kovacs slash fic. Because he's so heterosexual in these books, that it actually offends me. How dare you keep that huge cock, just for the womens. How dare you! ( )
  gecizzle | Mar 5, 2015 |
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» Add other authors (9 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Richard K. Morganprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Moore, ChrisCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rawlings, SteveCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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I first met Jan Schneider in a Protectorate orbital hospital, three hundred kilometres above the ragged clouds of Sanction IV and in a lot of pain.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0345457714, Paperback)

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

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:21 -0400)

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Serving as a mercenary in a distasteful war, Takeshi Kovacs joins a covert team that aims to secure a coveted archeological prize, an endeavor that ensnares him in a web of treachery and betrayal.

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