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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 Universe (chronological order) #2)

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3.99  ·  Rating details ·  2,627 Ratings  ·  102 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 doesn't 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 he ...more
ebook, 248 pages
Published May 1st 2008 by Night Shade Books (first published 2008)
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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
Brad
This one is easily a better novel than the previous one, but I can't quite tell if that's just because the heavy lifting of the tech and aliens has already been long-established from within Prador Moon.

This one moves well beyond a straight high-tech military porn and delves into the creation of Ian Cormac, of whom later novels are focused, and the reveals he slowly learns about his erased childhood, splitting the novel between his adulthood and his formation pretty equally, while also being embr
...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
Dawn
This book reads very much like the prequel it is. There are many flashbacks into childhood and it reads very much as a character creation story. While I didn't think it was the best book I've ever read for these purposes, it did serve to intrigue me and I look forward to starting the main series for Cormac.
Mark
May 31, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: britishsci-fi
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
Lady*M
Mar 20, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
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
Allan
Apr 28, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
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
Luci Ann Keenagh
Aug 30, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Alastair Procter
Intro and background to Asher's recurring character, Ian Cormac - essential reading for fans of Asher's Polity universe....
Fred Hughes
Oct 02, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Kevin
Jun 02, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
I don't find these books to be page turners; however, Asher does a fantastic job at world building. The tech and the raggedy nature of hundreds (or more) years of human expansion into the universe seems plausible and it's always well explained. The tech seems to fall within what has been described, though this book has a tiny bit of deus ex machina about one of the subplots. The characters are slightly more fleshed out than most hard-core science fiction. While it takes me a while to read these, ...more
Lee Belbin
Aug 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This novel was as good as any of Ashers I have read. Good technically and hard to put down. What more could one ask for. This book continues the Prador interactions but in a lull with Cormac chasing the events around his father's death. The usual baddies who fall by the way (how American) and with quite a few close friends as well, with the Goodie lasting the distance - no surprise there. A good read and looking for more
Kerry
Sep 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Published 2008. This is somewhat Neal Asher lite as the usual complexity of his stories give way to a simple plot and good action.
Elizabeth Nephew
Origin Story!
M Hamed
Dec 17, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: military-sci-fi, 2016
very predictable stuff

this is The Culture with humans in it ,chaotic
AK Nelson
We meet a young Cormac in this prequel... pretty mediocre overall IMO. I'd recommend reading it after the main Cormac series if you still can't get enough.
Todd
Oct 11, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Part two of my re-reading of Asher's Polity universe in chronological order within said universe. I highly recommend not doing this if you are a first time Asher reader.

Taking place a decade or two after the events in Prador Moon, Shadow of the Scorpion is basically Cormac's origin story. The action takes place during Cormac's childhood (around age 8) and his entry into the military and eventually ECS (age 20? 22?). When I first read it, the ending had a big emotional impact for a book so thorou
...more
Florin Constantinescu
Yawn... another boring prequel that adds nothing new to a pretty cool universe.
Dirk
The early years of Ian Cormac. Connects the ultra-fast paced Prador Moon (Polity, #1) by Neal AsherPrador Moon to the rest of the Polity series, firstly the five 'Agent Cormac' novels and secondly the three 'Spatterjay' novels.
David Conyers
May 29, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I Cristian
Not exactly what you'd expect after the excellent Prador Moon, but still a good, captivating scifi.

The story is a bit frustrating at times, the bad guy is described as way too inept to actually be believable he's still alive for the final fight, the writer relies too much on deus ex machina to make the good guy win and the whole "AI has made a promise that it wants too keep" gets tedious after a while.
Even so, I liked reading it and it does make me want to read some more of Agent Cormac's trials
...more
Mya
Mar 04, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Guy Haley
Sep 08, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Kate
Feb 24, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Tony
I'd heard good things about Neal Asher's science fiction so I picked this one up because although it's connected to his "Polity" series, it's billed as a standalone, so I wasn't committing myself to anything -- that, and it's under 250 pages, which is rare in this particular genre. From what I can tell, the book functions as a kind of prequel, or origin story for his most famous character "Agent Cormac." The book follows two strands and timelines -- the first, and lesser, takes place during Corm ...more
Tony
I'd heard good things about Neal Asher's science fiction so I picked this one up because although it's connected to his "Polity" series, it's billed as a standalone, so I wasn't committing myself to anything -- that, and it's under 250 pages, which is rare in this particular genre. From what I can tell, the book functions as a kind of prequel, or origin story for his most famous character "Agent Cormac." The book follows two strands and timelines -- the first, and lesser, takes place during Corm ...more
Kristin
May 25, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
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
Bogdan Capitanoiu
Aug 27, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What's all this about?
Chronologically second book in a Space-opera series, written as a prequel long after the/a main saga ended.
Solid piece of writing (literally & literature-ly way of conveying the book supporting message).

Is the Polity universe inferior to the Culture universe?
Definitely and purposefully so, whereas char. in the culture are exponents of the culture subject to its periodical trends, here we always experience it through apparently not culturally invested characters.
Feel fre
...more
Howard Fackler
Nov 03, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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The Line of Polity: Shadow of the Scorpion - finished/spoilers 1 1 Jul 24, 2016 11:07AM  
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Other Books in the Series

Polity Universe (chronological order) (1 - 10 of 15 books)
  • Prador Moon  (Polity Universe, #1)
  • Gridlinked (Agent Cormac #1, Polity Universe #3)
  • The Line Of Polity (Agent Cormac, #2)
  • Brass Man (Agent Cormac, #3)
  • Polity Agent (Agent Cormac, #4)
  • Line War (Agent Cormac, #5)
  • The Technician
  • Dark Intelligence (Transformation, #1)
  • War Factory (Transformation #2)
  • Infinity Engine (Transformation, #3)