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The Soldier

(Rise of the Jain #1)

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  2,348 ratings  ·  179 reviews

The Soldier is the first novel in the Rise of the Jain series, by bestselling science fiction author Neal Asher.

A hidden corner of space is swarming with lethal alien technology, a danger to all sentient life. It’s guarded by Orlandine, whose mission is to ensure it stays contained – at all costs. Living aboard a state-of-the-art weapons station, she watches over techn

Kindle Edition, 465 pages
Published May 17th 2018 by Pan (first published April 3rd 2018)
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Popular Answered Questions In internal chronological order[8]

Prador Moon (2310 CE)
Shadow of the Scorpion (2339 CE)
Gridlinked (2434 CE)
The Line of Polity (2437 CE)
Brass Man (2441…more
In internal chronological order[8]

Prador Moon (2310 CE)
Shadow of the Scorpion (2339 CE)
Gridlinked (2434 CE)
The Line of Polity (2437 CE)
Brass Man (2441 CE)
Polity Agent (2443 CE)
Line War (2444 CE)
The Soldier
The Technician
Dark Intelligence
War Factory
Infinity Engine
The Skinner (3056 CE)
The Voyage of the Sable Keech (3078 CE)
Orbus (3079 CE)
Hilldiggers (3230 CE)
Sean Kaz I haven't read any of the books in the series, and still found it compelling. I like a mystery or two, but I felt it was an excellent stand alone book…moreI haven't read any of the books in the series, and still found it compelling. I like a mystery or two, but I felt it was an excellent stand alone book. This is a masterfully crafted, Sci-Fy masterpiece. The battles and the tech involved (with descriptions) will stick in my mind for a long time. The characters are well crafted and fascinating. Mr. Asher's grasp and vision of future tech (A.I.'s, cyborgs, aliens, etc.) make it very unique. (less)
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But I have one caveat: Anyone reading Neal Asher needs to treat this one like the start of huge Endgame scenario with a full catalog of books having built-up to a huge crescendo. :)

The full importance of everything going on builds on all the enormous happenings from before, from the entity now known as Angel, so many AIs that have had big parts in previous novels, the entirety of Jain technology in all its forms (including Spatterjay), and the Prador. And then I'm still missin
Chris Berko
May 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
May 6th 2016 marks the first day I picked up a Neal Asher novel, it was the Skinner, and after nineteen books, The Soldier being the nineteenth, I can say without the slightest bit of shyness IMO he is the best author of science fiction working today and probably my favorite writer of all time. Nothing, NOTHING, compares to what these books do for me in terms of entertainment, and no other series approaches what he has done with creating a so richly defined world with layer upon layer upon layer ...more
Nick Borrelli
Jul 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Click here for full review:

In the year 2001 I was working as a bookseller at Borders. One of the truly amazing things about my job at the time was that I was given the Fantasy and Science-Fiction section to shelf and maintain. It became my section and for four glorious years, I got to read some phenomenal titles (at a pretty good employee discount might I add). It was during a marathon shelving session one day that I spotted an interesting-looking bo
Exciting mingling of post-humans, AIs, terrifyingly sinister spaceships and military technology - this is a universe in trouble. A little too emotionless and bitty for my taste but a fun read. Review to follow shortly on For Winter Nights.
Jul 30, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Far future, high adrenaline, transhuman, hard military sci-fi porn! My first time reading Asher, and pretty much exactly what I was expecting. Highlights for me included his audaciously menacing villains, with their ancient and mysterious origins and abilities to insidiously subvert unwitting allies, as well more morally ambiguous rogue AIs than you can shake a stick at. There's not a whole lot of subtlety to be had, and so many species, civilizations and characters that there's little opportuni ...more
Tim Hicks
Jul 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
This isn't without flaws, but I'm giving it the full five as a reward for its ambitious scope and all-out energy.

I can't imagine reading this without at least five or ten previous Ashers under your belt. Surely it would be overwhelming.

If you ARE used to Asher's universe, you know that nearly all constraints of logistical feasibility are abandoned, but it a strangely plausible way. Giant warships can build themselves. Everyone can go anywhere in not a whole lot of time. Entities and weapons (a
Feb 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Asher is one of my favourite authors period.
Jun 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I want to say this is a great standalone book, but in my humble opinion if one were to read this book first they are cheating themselves of the brilliant universe that Neal Asher has created. I don't need to go into detail about the plot other than to say that an ancient alien race (highly... no seriously advanced) has returned to conquer the known universe and must be stopped. What a new reader might not understand is the significance of those that have to do the stopping however. Orlandine, Dr ...more
Jun 23, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018-read
I’m really not sure about this one. I usually love Asher’s Polity novels, but this one felt disconnected despite appearing to tick all my boxes. The two main issues I had with it were lots of POV’s that chopped and changed too often, and the fact that almost none of the cast were ‘regular’ humans, as far as they go in the Polity. Instead we got a collection of high-end powers with almost unending resources. There really didn’t feel like a threat going on here, and the threat we did have was so p ...more
John Devlin
I’ve read other Asher and I’ll read the next but this story is lacking.

The space opera is all tech. Like reading a science version of a Fitzgerald novel that’s all flora described.

The characters are fine but they are few and far between, and there’s only so often that one can read about totally made up machines shooting other machines with moon shattering force.
Jul 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Publishing Date: November 2018

Publisher: Skyhorse

ISBN: 9781597809610

Genre: SciFi

Rating: 4.3/5

Publisher's Description: In a far corner of space, on the very borders between humanity’s Polity worlds and the kingdom of the vicious crab-like prador, is an immediate threat to all sentient life: an accretion disc, a solar system designed by the long-dead Jain race and swarming with living technology powerful enough to destroy entire civilizations.

Review: This was an ambitious voyage into a complex Sci
Phil Kozel
Feb 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Asher is definitely not for everyone, but if you like his work, you will love this. Asher's Polity reminds me somewhat of Banks Culture series, as both represent a humanity in the future ruled if you will by A.I.s. Asher's Polity, however, is much more violent. Humanity had encountered another species-- the Prador, crab like beings that take no prisoners. After a nasty war, the Prador sued for peace, and now the two empires glower at one another across a no mans land called the Graveyard.

The So
Oct 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Space Opera.

The author returns to his Polity series with a new threat. So the insidious Jain technology appears to have been controlled after the events of the prior series. The one known outcropping is at the Accretion Disk. And there, Orlandine, a human enhanced with exotic tech, and Dragon, an entity with AI-like capacity, stand in interdiction. While Orlandine initiates a plan to use a miniature black hole to "hoover" the remaining Jain on the Disk, Dragon uncovers a different plan by the L
Jun 01, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Abandoned at 50%. It is a confusing mess of continuous fighting among a dozen of main characters none of them I could resonate with.
Jun 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Asher is just...really, really good. And he’s best when he is writing in the Polity Universe, so, that could sum it up. If I WERE to add a few more details, i would say that he has a particularly good groove going in his frenetic imaginingings of the mind-boggling tech (and its interface/elision with organic life) that is possible when AI is not just “Artificial Intelligence,” but is Artificial Intelligence with full-blown consciousness, awareness, and individualized identity. In “The Soldier,” ...more
j eustace
May 27, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Where's Neal?

I've read everything prior to this book and enjoyed them all. I'm still trying to process what happened here. For me this was a tedious read that disappointed. I waited for this book looking forward to the clever story and mind stretching ideas I have always associated with Asher stories. Is it Neal or me? I didn't find the characters engaging. I felt no connection to any of them like I had in previous stories. The ideas though grand were stock Asher and for me gave me none of the w
Steven Stennett
Sep 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Solid science fiction, technology to love, weapons on a planet crunching scale, the description of said tech, poetry, diverting your attention away from the share destructive power, turning the whole process into a sonnet of exotic quantum physics.
Read for August book group.

I'm not even going to try and distill the premise of one of Asher's books. If you've read any of his work, you'll know what I mean. If you haven't ready any, and you enjoy grandiose space opera, engaging characters, and complex plots, I would suggest starting with Gridlinked or Prador Moon.

I also ended up reading this as an audio book, which I normally don' t do but I was pressed for time and thought "reading" it in the car and on the plane would help. I didn't finis
Vincent Archer
May 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hard-sf
Asher is - as always - the master.

To be fair, I don't think anyone is even attempting the kind of books Neal Asher writes. There's only one "normal" human in the whole book, and the depiction of the weirdness of inner dialogue and thinking of so many aliens, enhanced, AI and the like still feels ok. Plus, he always skillfully weaves overcomplicated plots which makes you feel like you're really in a posthuman universe filled with smarter than humans agency.

The biggest fault is that, unless you've
Jun 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I haven't read alot of Mr Asher's work, but I do know most of what he writes is in my "wheelhouse" lots of wild ideas, interesting worldbuilding and tons of action.

The Soldier, which is the start of a new set of books, delivers that. It is a 10000 miles a second. It has a ton of the boom in it and it rips along. You always win me over with the weird and outlandish its a good time and a fast read.

That being said, I dock it one star, due for the fact for all the shooting and zooming a
Jul 27, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 06, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I've read ALL of Neal Asher's books; loved most of them. This one is unbelievably full of POW, SMASH, ZAP, --- all fighting and descriptions of fighting and not much story or enough plot. Really disappointed. Bring back Cormak, or the Gabblegooks, or whatever. The two newer characters from Spatterjay were fine, but SO MUCH of the book is merely descriptions of weapons, weapons "thinking" of firing, weapons firing, being fired upon, etc. You get the message. :-(
Nov 19, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Far too busy for me at least, but the glossary should have tipped me off to what I was in for. Too many different types of tech, too complex tech, too distracting tech...- I am sure you get the picture. I want to read a novel not a catalogue of specs combined with a pantheon of characters. There is merit here with good writing and fair (a few too many) characters but for me the thread of the story was obscured by the layer of tech that slowed me down.
May 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Neal Asher's "The Soldier: Rise of the Jain, Book One" is the start of another sub-series within his overarching "Polity" series. No reflection on the book, but I'm having difficulty placing it in the universe's timeline. The easy parts of fitting it into the timeline is that the book starts sometime after the events in the last Cormac book ("Line War (Agent Cormac Book 5)") and revolves around the Jain accretion disk discussed there. And, since Oberon is a character in this book, it's got to ta ...more
May 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When you start to wonder where Mr. Asher is going to go since he's already started hurling around planetary bodies and he sits back and smiles as there's only one direction to go and that's up.

Continuing the Polity timeline we're not involved with keeping a cluster of Jain tech from escaping its stellar confines. A few old faces appear along with some welcome new ones and don't you just know it, no plan ever comes off unscathed.
Michel Meijer
Aug 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Why is it so hard to identify with MCs in Ashers books? Is it their weirdness or their lack of empathy or the fact that they are not so relevant in the grand scheme of things. I realize that I dont care too much about what is happening with mostMCs, and that makes reading sluggish and creates more distance between the story and me than I would like to. The hard sci-fi is top notch though and I want to read more of it. Im really torn between these things.

For the rest: Asher is really firing on a
Ralph Blackburn
May 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Awesome as always! Neal never disappoints. Suffice to say, none of the participants are human except for one, yet he makes it work every time- a page turner!
Oct 13, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 Stars

That last sentence though.
The world-building in this book is phenomenal. The ideas are unique, disturbing and all made sense within the world. Really it nearly makes up for the slow plot and the character development, almost. Hence the 3.5 stars.
I felt like everything was a mystery until pretty much the last chapter. Granted I don't do much thinking while I read, I absorb and let myself go along for the ride in order to let the author surprise me or shock me. Looking back, I might have
Mar 17, 2018 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
PW Starred: Asher (Infinity Engine) begins his new series set in the Polity universe with this adrenaline-charged work that brings the threat of the civilization-destroying Jain to the fore. Asher demonstrates his skill at creating alien actors with a cast of characters that does not include a single unaltered human. The action in this volume centers on the accretion disk of an exploded star that is littered with dormant Jain tech. The human- AI amalgam Orlandine is sent to protect against any t ...more
Sep 04, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-sci-fi
I've liked other books from Neal Asher and he's on my list of authors I'd like to read more of, so I gave this one a shot. Perhaps if I was more familiar with his Polity/Prador universe, I would have enjoyed this return more. That said, there weren't any characters that grab you or relationships that evolve or are challenged in some compelling way. Most of the action read like nothing more than a fleshed-out outline. Heretofore I've thought of Asher as being in the same ranks of Ian Banks, but I ...more
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Space Opera Fans : July 2020 READER: The Soldier by Asher 3 56 Jul 13, 2020 02:47AM  

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Other books in the series

Rise of the Jain (3 books)
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