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Necropath: Book One of the Bengal Station…
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Necropath: Book One of the Bengal Station Trilogy (Bengal Station Novels) (original 2008; edition 2008)

by Eric Brown

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
18619104,209 (3.06)12
1.  This is classic SF from the author of HELIX. 2.  Will appeal to mystery fans, as well as a core science fiction readership. 3.  Will appeal to fans of Richard Morgan and Alastair Reynolds. 4.  This novel has generated interest from movie production companies. 5.  Author will be promoting at conventions and events, including BEA.   Science fiction meets crime noir, as Jeff Vaughan, jaded telepath, employed by the spaceport authorities on Bengal Station, discovers a sinister cult that worships a mysterious alien god. We follow Vaughan as he attempts to solve the murders and save himself from the psichopath out to kill him. This is Eric Brown's triumphant return to hard SF.    … (more)
Member:cuffs
Title:Necropath: Book One of the Bengal Station Trilogy (Bengal Station Novels)
Authors:Eric Brown
Info:Solaris (2008), Mass Market Paperback, 416 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***
Tags:Science Fiction

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Necropath by Eric Brown (2008)

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Showing 1-5 of 19 (next | show all)
Bengal Station #1 ( )
  Ronald.Marcil | Jul 7, 2019 |
Necropath was, while simplistic and unchallenging, a fun little detective thriller set in a believably grim, dystopian future. If you were a fan of [b:Babylon-5] and its cynically world-weary security chief Garibaldi, you'd feel right at home digging for clues among the back-alleys and criminal lowlife of Bengal Station's impoverished lower decks.

As much of the novel occurs in brothels and bars, with addicts and alcoholics mutually exploiting defenseless refugees in a Dickensian cycle of debt-slavery, I found myself cringing in anticipation of a remorselessly dismal read. Instead, I was surprised and impressed at the nuanced balance the author struck while describing the unapologetically awful conditions in which his characters lived, never allowing the darkness to completely eclipse hope and succor. Without entirely painting over the many evils man will persist in inflicting upon man, he nonetheless created a palpable and true reminder that flowers may bloom from the unlikeliest of muck.

Sadly, the book's two sequels did not build on this success, instead (in my opinion) first subverting, then systematically betraying every good point from the first book. If Necropath would have made a potentially excellent 3-episode arc in B5, [b:Xenopath|6415567|Xenopath (Bengal Station)|Eric Brown|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1278721504s/6415567.jpg|6604621] could have been compressed into a single (and weak) episode of Doctor Who or Star Trek -- in fact, the same trite plot concoction has been used, repeatedly, on every sci-fi series ever filmed, and is generally understood to represent a point where the writers are running out of fresh ideas. This nonetheless excels [b:Cosmopath|6948521|Cosmopath (Bengal Station Trilogy)|Eric Brown|http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51n4FprWCIL._SL75_.jpg|7182753], whose clumsy script would hopefully have been left on the cutting-room floor.

In conclusion, Necropath is passable train-fare if you like your sci-fi with a dash of curry; but get off before the tale twists downhill and completely derails. ( )
  mzieg | Apr 1, 2013 |
I suppose that if you aren't irritated by the main character, the book could qualify as mediocre, but personally, it was a total waste of time. The premise had potential, but the pacing dragged, the setting is vague through most of the book, and the main character is not only kind of a jerk, he is utterly boring. The narrative is strongly focused on Jeff Vaughan, and every time he was on screen, my eyes glazed over. It was like the interminable camping sequence in Harry Potter 7. There were brief flickers of interest when other things happened, but they were promptly drowned out when the narrative returned to dwelling on Vaughan's manpain. Also, the entire subplot with Osborne and Sukara seemed clumsily tacked on. ( )
  esther_a | Mar 3, 2012 |
Jeff Vaughan is a telepath working on Bengal Station, a structure containing a bustling city and busy spaceport rising out of the Bay of Bengal. Vaughan’s special talent is as a necropath, a telepath who can access the thoughts of the very recently dead before they fade too far. He is sickened by the revelations his talent in general has given him about the nature of humanity and wishes for respite from it.

As the book starts he feels his boss - who wears a shield against telepathy as part of his job - is up to no good and the story seems set for the usual sort of trajectory, but his boss commits suicide (so does his wife after she kills their child) as soon as Vaughan’s police contact, Chandra, hauls him in on a small charge.

Thereafter, as part of his investigation, Vaughan finds himself drawn into the orbit of a new religious cult, the Church of the Adoration of the Chosen One, centred round a young girl from Verkerk’s World, where the cult originated; a child who closely resembles Holly, a dead girl from Vaughan’s past. There is a whiff of overkill here as there seem to be a few such resonances. Before she died of a drug overdose, Vaughan was friendly with a girl nicknamed Tiger who in pureness of mind also reminded him of Holly. There are echoes in this of Brown’s earlier New York trilogy where the protagonist also had a paternal relationship with a teenage girl.

Vaughan and Chandra take a voidship to Verkerk’s World. One of the sections set here is narrated from Chandra’s point of view - perhaps since Vaughan’s telepathic ability would mean the interrogation which takes place would otherwise have been over much too quickly. The pair eventually find the source of the religious cult is an alien species called the Vaith who are using their devotees religious impulses for their own ends. This aspect of the plot came close to being in the nature of pulp SF (see here) part 3, and does not quite suspend disbelief.

Another narrative strand involves Suraka, a prostitute in Thailand who, too, has a pure mind. Again, the sections dealing with Suraka’s relations with aliens fail to ring quite true.

While never being less than readable, throughout Necropath too much plot and sub-plot are being shoe-horned into the narrative, which in turn makes the characterisation seem rushed. Brown also withholds information about the dead girl Holly until too near the end.

Bengal Station itself is an interesting scenario, however, but Brown does not exploit it as much as he might. There are two more in the trilogy to come though. ( )
  jackdeighton | Jul 31, 2011 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
If the trilogy works well as a whole, I suspect I'll look at the whole as 4 stars. For a more in depth review:
http://mentatjack.com/2009/08/11/review-necropath-by-eric-brown/ ( )
  mentatjack | Aug 11, 2009 |
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Vaughan was in scan-mode when the kid found him.
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*'Necropath' a rewritten and expanded version of his 2004 book 'Bengal Station'
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