Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Line Of Polity (Agent Cormac, #2)” as Want to Read:
The Line Of Polity (Agent Cormac, #2)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Line Of Polity (Agent Cormac #2)

4.1  ·  Rating Details ·  4,166 Ratings  ·  109 Reviews
Outlink station Miranda has been destroyed by a nanomycelium and the very nature of this sabotage suggests that the alien bioconstruct Dragon - a creature as untrustworthy as it is gigantic - is somehow involved.
Mass Market Paperback, 663 pages
Published 2004 by Tor Books (first published March 2003)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Line Of Polity, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Line Of Polity

Ready Player One by Ernest ClineThe Martian by Andy WeirOld Man's War by John ScalziThe Hunger Games by Suzanne CollinsAnathem by Neal Stephenson
Best Science Fiction of the 21st Century
155th out of 512 books — 5,684 voters
Revelation Space by Alastair ReynoldsThe Martian by Andy WeirFoundation by Isaac AsimovRingworld by Larry Niven2001 by Arthur C. Clarke
best hard science fiction
72nd out of 268 books — 420 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Jan 17, 2012 Jason rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2012
4 Stars

This is a wildlyfrenetic, imaginative, and non stop pseudo hard science fiction action novel. I confess, that this type of sci fi is a guilty pleasure of mine, and as a result my review will probably be a bit biased.

This is the second Cormac novel, and also the second Neal Asher novel that I have read. It does not quite live up to the level of Gridlinked, as their is much less character development in this one. This book is extremely imaginative, in both the science involved, and the crea
4.5 stars. Excellent sequel to the amazing Gridlinked and the second book in the Ian Cormac series. Set in the far future where an extremely advanced group of AIs "directs" (i.e., controls) most of the thousand worlds colonized by humans known as "The Polity." Most people are content but there is a large (and growing) movement of "separatists" that resent AI control and desire to govern themselves. Add to this a mysterious god-like alien bio-construct known only as "Dragon" and the remnants of a ...more
Ben Babcock
Hi! Remember me? I’m that guy who drops into one of your favourite series without reading the first book, writes a lukewarm review, and then leaves! Because why should I have any sense of continuity or context before I go on about how the book was “confusing” or “didn’t explain any of its basic concepts??

Actually, I’m not that guy. It’s true I didn’t read Gridlinked, and while I’m wishing I had, it’s not because I found The Line of Polity hard to grok. Rather, I enjoyed this book so much I’m thi
Feb 17, 2015 Lee rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Outlink station Miranda has been destroyed by a nanomycelium and the very nature of this sabotage suggests that the alien bioconstruct Dragon - a creature as untrustworthy as it is gigantic - is somehow involved.

The second Cormac book in the series takes us to a whole new level of 'other' entities. As you can see from the description above it is all a tad out there.
Whilst I did enjoy this one, it didn't grip me as much as book one, but I still would say that it was a throughly good read. We didn
Mar 23, 2015 Lady*M rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
4.5 stars

This is, so far, the best Polity book I have read. Though it is part of the Agent Cormac series, Cormac himself is not featured as heavily as in the previous two books, but is just one of the main characters.

I feel that this is the first time Asher has a complete grip on his world and world-building as the stories of different characters (some of which we have met in Asher's previous books) converge on the planet Masada, ruled by the vicious Theocracy. The genius separatist scientist me
Nicholas Karpuk
May 27, 2015 Nicholas Karpuk rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In summary, this book sounds really similar to Gridlinked, the first Ian Cormac book. I noticed the blurb for the book after I'd already purchased it, and I had this fear that every book would end up being the same deal, with Cormac having to foil Dragon's newest wacky scheme, while an extremist group tries to hunt him down, and it all ending with Dragon howling, "I'll get you next time, Cormac! Next tiiiiiiime!"

Fortunately, it changes up the formula in some decent ways, and manages to improve o
Nov 17, 2015 Chris rated it it was ok
I've got an idea for an Agent Ian Cormac novel. Let's introduce some super-powerful alien thing millions of years beyond our technology that presents an existential threat to humanity. It can putter around for 400-600 pages and then Agent Ian Cormac can (view spoiler).

Have you ever read epic fantasy or sci-fi, where the author sets up many seemingly independent characters and plot-lines that seem to just effortlessly merge and collide towards a final crescendo. This bo
Feb 06, 2012 James rated it liked it
This book was a definite improvement upon it's predecessor, but still somehow failed to impress me enough to make it to four stars. For some reason, it just felt like a Three Stars even though it was in every way possible better than before... well, there you go. It is what it is.

The plot line is much more interesting this time around. There is no slow introductory period that you have to trudge through to find the good stuff. This book takes off from the very word go. However, having said that
Michael Cummings
Mar 23, 2013 Michael Cummings rated it really liked it
There is a certain ineffable quality to Neal Asher's books. They are first and formost high tech, far future adventure stories. The rare scenes of an idyllic worldscape are usually shattered in moments by explosions, nanomanipulating alien technology, or the occasional AI trying to make the world a safer place. Line of Polity carries that burden well. Following shortly after the events of Gridlinked, Line of Polity continues to follow Ian Cormac, along with a small cast of characters working wit ...more
Jamie Revell
Mar 15, 2013 Jamie Revell rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
I greatly enjoyed the first of Neal Asher's "Ian Cormac" books, and this, the second, is, if anything, an improvement. Cormac himself doesn't feature quite so much in this one, although he's still a major presence. But we also have a wider cast of supporting characters getting their moment in the spotlight in a plot concerning a religious dictatorship and a madman with access to planet-destroying technology. It's more explicitly military than the first novel, and manages to explore some differen ...more
Mar 09, 2016 Senzanom rated it liked it
The second book in the Agent Cormac series brings back a lot of the previous characters and continues some of the overarching story lines of the first book. While a pretty good story overall it felt 50-100 pages too long, and the actual end of the book happened with a whip crack in about 10 pages. The series is enjoyable and offer a decent amount of intriguing ideas, always good in scifi, but much like the first book, the bad guys, which are never really the driving force of these stories are bo ...more
Dan Lemke
This book might have been 3 1/2 star quality, but I deducted half a star for the plot essentially being the same as Asher's first novel featuring Agent Cormac (Gridlinked).

Basic premise is Agent Cormac is sent to investigate the destruction of a station (same type of investigation which propelled his action in the first book) and is followed/hunted by a vengeful antagonist whose presence is completely unrelated to the central plot (again, just like the first book).

Now, with that established, wh
Donald Mosier
Apr 10, 2015 Donald Mosier rated it really liked it
This is the first sequel (of several) to Gridlinked. It picks up a few years after the conclusion of Gridlinked. Once again, lots of action, lots of gritty sci-fi, lots of impossible??? technology, bad guys, good guys, who-knows-guys. Ian Cormac, the James Bond of this time (without all the love interests, though) remains the hero that everybody respects but nobody really likes all that much. The story splits between several points of view to fully tell the story. It's complex, and involves a pl ...more
Sep 30, 2015 M rated it it was amazing
This was my first Neal Asher read, and I think this is a 'BIG' epic...
If you love Space Opera, if you read Banks, Reynolds and the likes, this is for you. It's excellent world building at an epic scale, and great entertainment on top of it. This is how movies should feel like!!!

What fascinated me most about the book were the mix of big ideas in a single book:
- Big AI and Nanotechnology, a mad scientist gone madder and turned via nanotech in some kind of spaceship/bio-AI, reminiscent of Event Hor
Even though Neal Asher's "The Line of Polity" (4th in the "Polity" series and 2nd in the "Agent Cormac" sub-series) is written very similarly to the earlier books in the series, I'm dropping it a star from my ratings for those books. In this one, Asher introduces too many characters, too many points-of-view, and the battles just go on for too long. One of the nicer things he's done here, though, is to get rid of his usual completely gratuitous sex scenes. Overall, it's a good book and a good con ...more
David Buchan
Oct 01, 2014 David Buchan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
Mayhem in space

Fast paced journey through mayhem & warped religion. The Polity's 007, Ian Cormac, is given a free hand to conduct undeclared war, while sparring with a second Dragon and an insane scientist Skellor who infects himself with Jain technology to become an evil Demi-god. Interesting technologies and worlds despite the uniformly monstrous wildlife. Villains were sufficiently obnoxious that I could suspend disbelief regarding their improbable motivations. Hopefully, a harsh and over
Mike Gilbert
Mar 18, 2016 Mike Gilbert rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
It seems somewhat strange to review the second book in Asher's James Bond I mean Agent Cormac series, but I have been loaded up with life both goo (baseball games, vacations and camping trips) and bad (work). Some of which has been conducive to reading but none of it really worked for reviewing. But now that I am back on the road again...I should have some opportunity to catch up - even if the sequence of my book reviews becomes somewhat Joycian.

Agent Cormac is a hard, focused man. That much we
Feb 16, 2016 Mary rated it really liked it
I was pleasantly surprised, since I had forgotten all the joys of reading a Neal Asher novel: the complex storylines that converge beautifully; the dry-witted characters; the vivid imagination that creates the futuristic world in which Cormac & co. live. I actually think this second installment was even better than the first (although perhaps that had something to do with how it was slightly less confusing, since less world building and exposition regarding the Polity was necessary after the ...more
Roddy Williams
‘Outlink station Miranda has been destroyed a nanomycelium, and the very nature of this sabotage suggests that the alien bioconstruct Dragon – a creature as untrustworthy as it is gigantic – is somehow involved.

Sent out on a titanic Polity dreadnought, the Occam Razor, agent Cormac must investigate the disaster, and also resolve the question of Masada – a world about to be subsumed as the Line of Polity is drawn across it.

But the rogue biophysicist, Skellor, has not yet been captured, and he now
Nov 29, 2010 Kristin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
I enjoyed this selection for several reasons: the story moved right along, with neither a huge amount of description, unnecessary background building, or grandiose space-physics explanations; the characters were predominantly interesting; the chapter beginnings, where a woman was reading to her child, were quite humorous; and the world Masada was a delight to read about.

Items I didn't care for: even though this was the protagonists vengeance against Cormac, Cormac really wasn't the main story.
Oct 11, 2011 Mark rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2011-read
The Line of Polity is the second novel in Neal Asher's Cormac series, following on from events in Gridlinked. I read Gridlinked quite a while back and enjoyed it and I've also read plenty of other works by Asher that I've thoroughly enjoyed. I picked up the complete series some time ago but, for some reason that eludes me at present, never got around to reading the sequels. Well, despite the long gap between reading the first and second I jumped straight in wondering what exactly I'd be getting ...more
Feb 07, 2013 Peter rated it it was ok
While it's slightly more enjoyable than the first book in the series, this book didn't particularly do much for me. It's sort of a combination of secret agent tales and space opera, and I suppose it's fine for all that, but none of the characters really connected to me and I saw many of the events coming, and, for the most part, I read just to get through it. I did notice that one of the main personality characteristics of the main character, from the first book, seemed to have been completely b ...more
Dustin Wyatt
Oct 28, 2012 Dustin Wyatt rated it liked it
Better (but not by a lot), than the first book in the series, Gridlinked.

In Gridlinked, Asher didn't realize who his best and most interesting characters were and thus didn't spend enough time exploring them. In The Line of Polity, Asher corrects that to some degree. What he didn't correct was that the main character, Cormac, is ... well ... boring.

Cormac is supposed to be this super agent, but he doesn't ever do anything! While he's surrounded by characters with amazing powers, Cormac is just
Louis Vigo
Oct 21, 2010 Louis Vigo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
A really fun and thought provoking book. The characters are simple, yet the story is complex. So it balances out nicely.

Asher does a good job with technology and describing it. It probably won't be dated for many years to come, and he seems to take the initiative from writers like Frank Herbert, who's description of technology isn't so scientific, but more philosophical in nature, and lends longevity to the universe he created

He covers some really great topics, such as eugenics, religion, AI go
Jaime McEnnan
May 16, 2016 Jaime McEnnan rated it really liked it
I read Asher's book "Gridlinked" years ago. Absolutely loved the character Cormac. Some very gritty sci-fi/action. It was fun to revisit the world he created. Have to find the rest of his now. Not exactly a series, but all interconnected in the same world. Parts of this were not as strong as his first, seemed rushed. But still fun.
Jim Mcclanahan
Jun 11, 2013 Jim Mcclanahan rated it really liked it
The second of the Ian Cormac novels, this one was replete with much of what I have come to expect of the author, lots of action, incredibly creepy and horrifying native fauna and a thoroughly satisfying space opera. Interesting characters. As usual, one of my favorites was the old cyborg, Fethan. Nobody's fool, he played a pivotal role in much of the twists and turns of events. Much like Sniper the ancient war drone in the Spatterjay series. The villains in the piece, Skellor the "mad scientist" ...more
Joe Hoy
Jul 25, 2013 Joe Hoy rated it really liked it
Other reviewers have complained about the characterisations in this series, but to my mind the whole point of the series is the juxtaposition of humanity and technology, and where (if at all) the twain can meet.

Ian Cormac is explicitly introduced as a human who has spent so long hardwired into the galactic technology network that his "human" characteristics have atrophied to the point where he can be mistaken for an artificial intelligence. He's *supposed* to be boring!

That in itself sets a sig
Jim McGrath
Jul 24, 2016 Jim McGrath rated it it was amazing
I accidentally typed my review in the comments section. So here's the gist of it. Another amazing book by Neal Asher. Everyone who likes Sci-fi and sub genres Space Opera are in for an incredible treat. Read Gridlinked first. Then Shadow of the Scorpion. Then split your time between Agent Cormac Books and Polity Books. though they do crossover often.
Aug 28, 2010 Shane rated it liked it
Line of Polity is a good book, and I recommend it for anyone that enjoys "space opera" style science fiction with a healthy dose of biotech, AI psychology, alien-ology, and other concepts that one commonly finds spattered about in similar books written in the past several years.

I would have given the book four stars, as I really did enjoy it, but while the "secret agent man, ultra-tech style" charm of the book made it a very enjoyable read, it really isn't up to the standard of other books I've
Poetic Justice
Oct 07, 2012 Poetic Justice rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There is no middle ground with Asher's stories. You either love' em to death or run like hell from them.

Fast paced, explicitly gory, multithreaded with multiple POVs and angles of attack are the typical ingredients that constitute an Asherian novel, and The Line of Polity is one more prime example. AIs, FTL travel, villains manifesting quantum level evils, mainstream nano tech and some non-mainstream uses of it, ecologies with lethal faunas and floras, titanic battles, cosmic scale eradications,
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
The Line of Polity: The Line of Polity - finished/spoilers 1 1 Jul 24, 2016 10:17AM  
  • A Quantum Murder (Greg Mandel, #2)
  • Nova War (The Shoal Sequence, #2)
  • Zima Blue and Other Stories
  • Marrow (Marrow, #1)
  • Woken Furies (Takeshi Kovacs, #3)
  • The Parasite
  • Learning the World: A Scientific Romance
  • Iron Sunrise (Eschaton, #2)
  • Remix
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
More about Neal Asher...

Other Books in the Series

Agent Cormac (5 books)
  • Gridlinked (Agent Cormac #1, Polity Universe #3)
  • Brass Man (Agent Cormac, #3)
  • Polity Agent (Agent Cormac, #4)
  • Line War (Agent Cormac, #5)

Share This Book

“The greatest admission a human can make is that perhaps he does not have the intelligence, the vision, the grasp to fully understand the universe, and that perhaps no human ever will. To put it all down to some omnipotent deity is a cop-out. Factor in fairy tales of an afterlife and it becomes a comforting cop-out.” 5 likes
“I believe only in those things that can be proven empirically. There has never been any proof that a god exists, and if such proof was found why the hell should we worship him? Organized religions are just elaborate con-tricks. Take the Christian religion from which yours is an offshoot: “Obey me throughout your life, give me the product of your labour, and you will go to Paradise when you die. Disobey me and you will go to Hell and burn forever. Of course I cannot prove that this is what will actually happen – you just have to have faith.” That was a good one, and it worked well enough in a society that still believed the Earth was flat.” 0 likes
More quotes…