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Orbus (Spatterjay 3) by Neal Asher
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Orbus (Spatterjay 3) (original 2009; edition 2010)

by Neal Asher

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284465,850 (3.94)5
In charge of an old cargo spaceship, the Old Captain Orbus flees a violent and sadistic past, but he doesn't know that the lethal war drone, Sniper, is a stowaway, and that the past is rapidly catching up with him. His old enemy the Prador Vrell, mutated by the Spatterjay virus into something powerful and dangerous, has seized control of a Prador dreadnought, murdering its crew, and is now seeking to exact vengeance on those who tried to have him killed. Their courses inexorably converge in the Graveyard, the border realm lying between the Polity and the Prador Kingdom, a place filled with the ruins left by past genocides and interplanetary war. But this is the home of the Golgoloth, monster to a race of monsters, the place where a centuries-long cold war is being fought. Meanwhile, the terrifying Prador King is coming, prepared to do anything to ensure Vrell's death and keep certain deadly secrets buried ...and somewhere out there something that has annihilated civilizations is stirring from a slumber of five million years. The cold war is heating up, fast.… (more)
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Title:Orbus (Spatterjay 3)
Authors:Neal Asher
Info:Tor (2010), Paperback, 352 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:Science Fiction

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Orbus by Neal Asher (Author) (2009)

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As always, I'm surprised at how much I am eventually able to get into the psychology and biology and all the weirdness of the Prador aliens. I vacillate between annoyance and fascination.

Fortunately, I got into this by the end. Spatterjay's humble beginnings become very clear and the whole ultimate always-alive always-eating neverending replenishing food supply of everything on the planet, alive even as they're digested... or we are all digested, transforming, never dying... becomes clear at last.

No spoilers, but we've met the big bad before. :)

What we have here is a huge throwdown between different Prador factions including a handful of Polity peeps and the absolutely fantastic Sniper, the AI war drone. The interactions going on here made this novel a good deal better than average. :)

BUT, I will say that aside from the great end, the rest of the novel had quite a few dull parts. On the whole, I enjoyed it and the cool end made up for a ton of evils. Solid novel wrapping up Spatterjay. Better than the last, I think, but not quite as good as the first in the trilogy. I'm happy enough. :) ( )
  bradleyhorner | Jun 1, 2020 |
This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Orbus
Series: Polity: Spatterjay #3
Author: Neal Asher
Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Science Fiction
Pages: 352
Format: Digital Edition

Synopsis:


Captain Orbus is now captain of a Space freighter instead of a sailing ship on Spatterjay. He's trying to reform himself from the masochistic brute he was before. Unfortunately, he's rather bored, as the ship AI Gurnard, pretty much does everything. Then they are hired by a reif to recover a prador exoskeleton from the Graveyard, an area in space that acts as a buffer between the Polity and the Kingdom of the Prador. Orbus uncovers a lot of dirty dealing and the fact that Oberon, King of the Prador, is actually infected with the Spatterjay virus and has been for centuries. The wardrone Sniper and submind Thirteen hook up with Orbus and Gurnard to get this info to the Polity so the AI's can use it.

At the same time, Vrell, a prador who survived on Spatterjay and worked his way offplanet, has taken over a Prador warvessel. He too realizes the King is mutated and that this knowledge will kill him. Vrell is faced with fighting and losing to the Prador, running to the Polity and possibly being killed out of hand for his actions in escaping Spatterjay or running away into unknown space. Vrell is also infected and his mutating brain suggests hiding out in the Graveyard. He takes his ship, and reprogrammed Kings Guards, who are also mutated Prador, into the graveyard. This leads him into conflict with the Golgoloth.

The Golgoloth is a Prador that is over 1000 years old and has kept itself alive by growing replacements for itself (as it is both male and female) with its children. It was the kingmaker for the 1st and 2nd Prador Kingdom and fled to the Graveyard when Oberon took power. Through the centuries Oberon has approached the Golgoloth to return to the Kingdom to work for him and the Golgoloth has always refused. Now, with his secret about to be revealed, Oberon forces the issue with the Golgoloth and tells it it is either it or Vrell.

The conflict between Vrell and the Golgoloth suck in the crew of the Gurnard. It also places incredible strain on Vrell's resources, which reveals a hidden genetic code in the Spatterjay virus. This genetic material turns out to be Jain in nature and is a squad of Jain Soldiers. The Jain are resurrected and it takes everyone, including Oberon and his dreadnaughts, to destroy them. In the end, Oberon sacrifices himself to gain crucial knowledge about the Jain and passes it on to his successor, Vrell.

The Jain are destroyed, the Golgoloth gets its punishment at the hand of King Vrell, Orbus realizes his desire for action isn't crazy, the Prador Kingdom is in upheaval and the Polity can breathe easier for a few decades.

My Thoughts:

In all honesty, my review from 2011 still sums up my thoughts. Awesome violence between super powered beings (whether of mind or body or both) and we get Jain soldiers. I had completely forgotten they were introduced here. It is good to be reminded of them, since Asher's latest series is called Rise of the Jain and the first book is titled The Soldier. After this book, I'm totally ready for that.

I do have to admit that I don't understand the reason for the title. Captain Orbus plays as big a part as Sniper but nothing compared to Vrell, the Golgoloth or even Oberon at the end. He's the human connector between us the readers and the various factions in the book (Polity AI's, alien Prador, even the world of Spatterjay) but I didn't find him integral to the story.

The reason for this not getting bumped up to a full five stars is the tech descriptions that is a regular weakness of Asher's. He just can't resist writing about gadget X, Y and Z doing A,B and C and then being totally obliterated by O,F and U. It's like gun porn, but on a larger level. Tech porn maybe? Whatever you want to call it, it bores me, even more than scenary descriptions would.

I think that Orbus is probably the most violent of the whole Spatterjay trilogy and the Spatterjay trilogy is the most violent, to date, of his Polity books. Be aware of that when diving into these books. Mutated Prador are even worse than a Hooder on a ship of reifications!

★★★★½ ( )
1 vote BookstoogeLT | May 3, 2018 |
I love Asher's writing. Not a single human" [as we would think of it] in this book and yet characterization came through loud and clear.
Blood, guts, ichor and science. What a winning combo." ( )
  BookstoogeLT | Dec 10, 2016 |
Working my way through all of Asher's published works, I have been surprised at how many of his novels I read but did not review. This is the latest, and it is very good. Let's just say this is space opera on a grand scale set within an increasingly fully drawn universe where cultures and individuals change in believable (and sometimes unbelievable ways. ( )
  nmele | Jul 18, 2014 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Asher, NealAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Rawlings, SteveCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sullivan, JonCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For the big 50s. You know who you are!!
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A varied collection of interesting crates, boxes, storage cylinder and oddly shaped objects wrapped in crash-foam is strapped securely in the quadrate cargo scaffold of the enormous zero-gravity hold space of the Gurnard.
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