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Shadow of the Scorpion: A Novel of the Polity (Polity, #3)
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Shadow of the Scorpion: A Novel of the Polity (Polity #3)

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3.95 of 5 stars 3.95  ·  rating details  ·  1,646 ratings  ·  65 reviews
Raised to adulthood during the end of the war between the human Polity and a vicious alien race, the Prador, Ian Cormac is haunted by childhood memories of a sinister scorpion-shaped war drone and the burden of losses he doesnOCOt remember. Cormac signs up with Earth Central Security and is sent out to help restore and maintain order on worlds devastated by the war. There ...more
ebook, 152 pages
Published May 1st 2008 by Night Shade Books (first published 2008)
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(showing 1-30 of 2,367)
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Dirk Grobbelaar
Shadow of the Scorpion isn’t a very big book, compared to other entries in the Polity series. This is a good thing, since all it really sets out to do is reveal that Agent Cormac was a serious bad-ass long before Gridlinked.

She turned and gazed at Cormac for a moment. "It would appear that this soldier is a walking abattoir."

That said, this isn’t criticism, it’s actually a nod to an author who keeps himself in check when that is what is required, or at least as far as page count is concerned. Th
...more
Ben Babcock
Fresh from the worldbuilding present in Perdido Street Station, it's not surprising that Shadow of the Scorpion's worldbuilding does not impress me much. This is straight genre fiction—and that is not a bad thing. It appeals to the ardent science fiction fan in me by using standard tropes or settings like artificial intelligences running the society; a "space army" composed of infantry, marine troops, etc.; an alien enemy that is distinctly non-human in both form and thought; and a lone protagon ...more
Lady*M
4+ stars

This is a prequel of the Agent Cormac series and follows Ian Cormac through two time periods - his childhood during the war with the aliens and his youth when he joined the Earth Central Security.

The war is over, but there are alien stragglers left behind who are still lethal. Their technology is attracting the separatists determined to use it against the Polity. Cormac shows certain skills which involve him with the intelligence operations and hunt for the traitor. Through these events
...more
Mark
Having enjoyed Ian Cormac in Gridlinked and later in Brass Man, I thought I really ought to get my act together and read the entire Ian Cormac series in order. This starts with Shadow of the Scorpion in which Cormac, an 8-year-old with a dysfunctional family begins to notice that this scorpion-shaped war drone keeps showing up where it isn't supposed to and it has something to tell him.

Or does it? This book does two things really nicely:

1. Tells us the story of how Ian Cormac came to join ECS an
...more
Allan
The story centers round Ian Cormac, showing his beginnings as a soldier, promoted to the Sparkind and later as an ECS agent. Interspersed with this are flashbacks to his childhood, relating the details of his mother and brother's tales during the Prador war and how he has no memories of his father or how he died in that war.

Another installment in Asher's Polity Universe, this tale gives us some of the background to Ian Cormac's early life, his joining ECS and how he acquires that lethal Tenkian
...more
Meera Flame
This is only my second Asher book so I'm not that knowledgable on Polity stuff. What I can say is that I loved it! I enjoyed the world and the characters very much and thought it a very engaging story. The action is awesome and I like the fact that he's not afraid to get quite gruesome in detail. Very taken with Cormacs character and liked reading about his young life in parallel to current events. The scorpion drone is amazingly cool and scary, I want one!!! Having previously read Prador Moon, ...more
Liviu

Prequel/last book in the Cormac saga offers all that you expect in a Polity novel; a fast and satisfying read, however it does not offer anything essentially new for Polity "veteran reader" and it is quite predictable in some ways.

The novel rounds Ian Cormac's character well showing his beginning as soldier and later ECS agent with childhood flashbacks.

It could also serve as a great introduction to the 5 book "main" Cormac saga and I think that newcomers to Mr. Asher's work would enjoy it gre
...more
Guy Haley
Agent Cormac is the star of five of Neal Asher’s numerous Polity novels. Cormac’s like the Daniel Craig James Bond of the future, hard as nails, sexually liberated, emotionally stunted, resourceful, prone to employing violence to solve the Polity’s problems yet strangely moral anyway. This is the Batman: Year One of the series, following Cormac’s early years and first mission in service of the Polity (though we note here that even by the end he is not been made an ECS agent).

There are two faces
...more
Fred Hughes
I liked this so much I bought two more of his books. A dual storyline separated by 14 years of a regular soldier who does extraordinary stuff. Very entertaining. Review to follow
Kristin
The best thing about airplane trips is nearly uninterrupted reading, which, for a book like this, is a sheer delight.

This book is listed on Goodreads as Polity #3, but I think it could also be listed as Cormac #1, because we get to see Agent Cormac's formative years. A blending of events, the winding down of the Prador War and Cormac's background information all nicely packaged into one strong book.

I'm usually not a fan of back and forth timelines, where the characters bounce between the past a
...more
David Conyers
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mya
I’m chalking my review score of “Shadow of the Scorpion” which is 4 out of 5 stars up to pure selfishness. Did I love this prequel to one of the most badass Syfy heroes I have ever read; hearing about how the infamous Ian Cormac came to be? Hell yeah. Getting the back-story on how and why Ian ended up joining the ECS, his stint with the Sparkind, and his fated meeting with his sick weapon ‘Shuirken,’ all made this work a prized read that I devoured with every opportunity I had to sneak my kindle ...more
Kate
I usually adore Asher’s books and have had a crush on the character Cormac since ‘Line of Polity’; so I speak as a fangirl when I say that as origin stories go, this one is really meh. Perhaps it was written when very young and when success came with the other novels, it was pulled out of that dusty bottom drawer and sent it off to the publisher unread... it can be the only explanation.

The writing is uneven (there are chapters that verge on torture-pron), the characters linear and dull and the
...more
Macha
sigh. bit hard to rate, maybe 3 and a quarter stars. sort of a prequel to the Agent Cormac series. which is basically pulp sf and written accordingly. Cormac never gets what Amistad comes so far to tell him: he doesn't want to know. on some level the book is less about intergalactic war and more about memory, and the consequences of being able to, and so electing to, forget. so, in the context of the larger Polity Universe, not so unimportant. but as a standalone, a throwaway.
Andreea Pausan
An agent Cormac book, suspenseful and thrilling. Young Ian Cormac, while living on Earth with his mother, encounters a war drone in the shape of a scorpion that seems to be following him. When he is later assigned for a brief period to a Sparking unit (one of the elite military troupes)he encounters traces of the war with an insectoid race, the Prador, he is reminded of his childhood and learns the truth about his father's death and his connection with Amistad, the scorpion drone.
Tim Bancroft
Loads of action and combat from a trainee in a universe that is a quickly-assimilatable merge of Firefly, Special Circumstances, Traveller plus loads of others. I was left wanting more cohesiveness in thought and universe: I just wish the star rating was multi-dimensional as, in some ways, I liked it. However, if you like loads of rolling action, and an occasional question over the self-awareness, hence status, of independent robots, then this will really fit nicely.
Howard Fackler
I'd forgotten how graphically this author treats violence, and care should be taken by those squeamish about gory descriptions of mayhem. Otherwise I enjoyed this well crafted addition to the Ian Cormack saga. It is a prequel to the five earlier installments of this rambling space opera about the aftermath of a multi-generational interplanetary war. In this book, the war is just over and mopping up from it will take another generation, as revealed by the earlier books of the saga. The seeds of d ...more
Eugene
I decided to read this series in chronological order, and there are pitfalls to that. This book is a prequel to another set of books in this universe, and I'm certain that I've missed several references. I still had fun reading this. It's quite an interesting setting Asher has built here. I'm worried that being that the books weren't written chronologically, there will be dips in quality on the way. Liked this better than the first one.
Bookmarks Magazine

Critics read Shadow of the Scorpion in several different ways. The book can be read as a political commentary on the impacts of war, especially counterinsurgency campaigns, on an individual's memory and personality. Or it can be read as an action-packed, well-plotted story with larger-than-life heroes and highly sophisticated weaponry. It was the coexistence of these two levels of storytelling that impressed reviewers. Those who were fans of Asher's other books felt it lived up to his previous w

...more
Christianto Sumbung
Excellent story, good cleanup and a must read for Polity fans

Excellent story, good cleanup and a must read for Polity fans. Reveals a lot about Cormac and Amistad who are scatterred throughout all the other Polity books.
Paul
After having seen comparisons to Alastair Reynolds and Richard Morgan on here, I thought I'd give Neal Asher a go. First thing I have to say is the comparisons are wrong on many levels.
Asher's writing in this books lacks any depth whatsoever, and reads more like a book written by a child. He feels the need to explain some things that are patently obvious given their context, but leaves other things (the words he seems proud to have invented or appropriated) unexplained. His repeated use of a non
...more
Lauri
Ian Cormaci noorus ja esimene missioon ECS'is. Vinge, vinge. Nimitegelane, hiigelsuur skorpionikujuline sõjadroon Amistad, kelle relvastisest piisas keskmise linna maatasa tegemiseks oli eriti äge. Aga ka muud asjad. Nagu Asheri puhul tavaline, detailides peitus vähemalt pool võlu...
Chuck
Excellent scifi. Yes, the characters are one-dimensional, but that's to be expected. The story is compelling, and the writing is competent, something which is uncommon in most scifi.
Psychophant
Just when I thought Asher had finished with Ian Cormac, here we get a story of his youth and how he became an agent. It feels a bit tired, but Asher has clearly given much thought (more than when he started writing about the Polity) to how that future society would work and feel, so it is that care for the detail, as well as the light on some background, what makes the book enjoyable. The plot is simply as expected and the scorpion of the title has a smaller shadow than suspected.

Only for those
...more
Torstein Rødset
So tightly focused on Cormack that it reminds me of reading a book the Kovach series.

It works really well and it makes me hunger for more.

Liam Proven
Not perhaps Asher's greatest, but still pretty good. A chronologically cut-up look at Agent Cormac's early life - both his early days in the forces, and his childhood. Affecting in places and somewhgat defeats the unkillable-hero motif by having the young Cormac regularly hit, caught, trapped, severely injured and rebuilt again.

Interesting, insightful, exciting in places, if not genre-redefining. Perhaps bloodier than I really like, personally, but that is Asher's style. Maybe he'll grow out of
...more
Mine
The first half was utterly not engaging, I often thought of quitting but held on for the sake of the other 5 Cormac novels that I did like. I guess he needed a beginning...
Skylar
This novel is less about the Prador/human war and more about the events that made Ian Cormac who he is in the later novels.

(view spoiler)

This definitel
...more
Lisandro
usual Neal Asher! good backdrop for the Cormac history too. Links with other histories from the author too...
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56353
I’ve been an engineer, barman, skip lorry driver, coalman, boat window manufacturer, contract grass cutter and builder. Now I write science fiction books, and am slowly getting over the feeling that someone is going to find me out, and can call myself a writer without wincing and ducking my head. As professions go, I prefer this one: I don’t have to clock-in, change my clothes after work, nor scru ...more
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Other Books in the Series

Polity (5 books)
  • Prador Moon  (Polity Universe, #1)
  • Hilldiggers (Polity, #2)
  • The Technician
  • The Gabble: And Other Stories
Gridlinked (Agent Cormac, #1) Brass Man (Agent Cormac, #3) The Line Of Polity (Agent Cormac, #2) The Skinner (Spatterjay, #1) Polity Agent (Agent Cormac, #4)

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