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Polity Agent

(Agent Cormac #4)

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  4,974 ratings  ·  105 reviews
From eight hundred years in the future, a runcible gate is opened into the Polity and those coming through it have been sent specially to take the alien maker back to its home civilization in the Small Magellanic cloud.

Once these refugees are safely through, the gate itself is rapidly shut downbecause something alien is pursuing them. The gate is then dumped into a nearby
Paperback, 562 pages
Published July 6th 2007 by Tor (first published September 28th 2006)
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4.21  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,974 ratings  ·  105 reviews

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This kind of popcorn fiction requires a certain kind of mindset. A transhumanist mindset. One that keeps slipping between the lines of AI and Human and horrifying alien trap-technology.

Of course, since I'm half machine anyway, I'm perfectly at home with these shifting lines of self-definition. Screw sex-politics as a subset for SF idea exploration. Let's get right down to transforming the human race into something barely recognizable as human now, or if we can recognize it, it's constantly flyi
Tim Hicks
Oct 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science-fiction
Five stars because it is exactly the kind of book it is trying to be; not Great Lit'racheh, just a ripping yarn.

You'll enjoy and understand it more if you have read at least several of the previous Polity books. Having said that, I missed Line of Polity and got along fine.

Imagine all you've ever read about AIs and really honking big spaceships. Take Alastair Reynolds and turn it up a notch. Take anyone else and turn it up to 11. Stir in at least ten forms that intelligence can take. Add hypers
May 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Bad Ass...completely. What startes off as semi-slow burn turns into a hectic inferno at the end. This is definitely not a starter novel, the books should be read in sequence, if for nothing more than to comprehend the full scope of the Polity Universe. I won't bother going into backstory but suffice to say that the Uber Agent Cormac is back and laden with a threat that beats the Borg and the Cylons, combined! With the help of starship Titans such as Jack, King, Jerusalem and Battlewagon, they fi ...more
Stevie Kincade
Jul 09, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed, audiobooks
The previous novel in the series Brass Man tended to focus on Mr Crane, the titular golem, the quest of the Rondure knight and our Jain afflicted villian Skellor in addition to juggling a dozen or more characters and AIs. Skellor has (view spoiler), the Rondure Knight is not mentioned again (and thus I forgot his name) and Mr Crane appears in one scene. So this novel is quite different from the previous.

"Polity Agent" consolidates the story after the events of "Brass Man" a
Jan 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
I admit, I'm at a bit of a loss how to describe Polity Agent without giving anything of importance away. It's a bit like trying to describe the universe - it is a big story involving numerous AI ships, Earth Central, Earth Central's emissary Horace Blegg, Earth Central's agent Cormac, a rogue AI, technology that will kill all intelligent life, a scientist, the entity known as Dragon, and a human-AI mix from a construction project....I think I have all the key players.

A robot known as the Legate
Jul 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Space opera - chock full of gadgets, action, aliens, AIs.

Note: I started on Book 4 without reading the second and third books in the series, and so any trouble I had finishing this book was my own doing. But still, this turned out to be much more interesting than when I started it a year ago ...

Several things are happening at once, something to do with the Dragon, and Jain nodes, and the King, which is apparently a renegade AI, and an immortal being who was around in WWII, and a powerful interve
Jun 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011-read
Polity Agent is the fourth book in the Agent Cormac series, a series I've been catching up with and thoroughly enjoying. The second and third books in the series, The Line of Polity and Brass Man, dealt with the emergence of Jain tech and Skellor's use of it and was a fairly self-contained duology within the main story. Of course, just because that sub-story concluded it doesn't mean everything is fine, far from it - Jain tech is still out there and Polity Agent hits the ground running.

As a runc
Jeff Mcleod
Feb 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
So far, this is my favorite in my journey to the far edges of Neal Asher's Polity universe with Agent Ian Cormac. I had read that Asher's writing really tightened up on his later novels, and I certainly see that in Polity Agent. This book is filled to the brim with incredible action, nightmare creatures, space horror and startling revelations (both for the reader and for a few main characters...). Seems to have a much better flow . . . and maybe it's just because I'm so familiar with the charact ...more
Mar 24, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
If a threat to the Polity seemed huge in the previous book, it becomes a runaway train or, rather, a spaceship in this one. The alien technology is spreading and subsuming people and AIs alike. The death toll is enormous and Cormac has to solve the mystery of the Dragon, Horace Blegg and his new abilities. Better than the previous book, it sets the stage for the culmination of the series. While I like all the old characters, I found the new ones - like Orlandine or some of the AIs - I enjoyed th ...more
Aug 24, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Boss level! This series begs comparison to Banks, but I've already made one, so... book by book the scale is shifting towards the epic interstellar space opera end of the continuum, developing further near-omnipotent AI characters whilst wrapping up the merely human - usually by death. I'm starting to find some of the longer-running plot arc developments perplexing, with a feeling that some of the reveals are really retcons. Still a rollicking good read, though.
Martin Streetman
Jan 05, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommended to Martin by: AZ Bryon
This book was certainly a page turner but in the end left a few too many things unresolved for my taste. As with many books in this genre it introduced as few things that border on philosophy. In this book since essentially anyone who wants to can effectively live forever, some people just get board and turn themselves off, and I thought that was interesting.
Apr 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Another episode in the events of the Polity universe and the attack on it by the alien Jain technology and now rogue AIs.

A very enjoyable read as Ian Cormac discovers that he is more like Horace Blegg than he thought. With Skellor gone, Jain technology finds new allies and the rogue AI Erebus makes its presence known.
Simon Ford
Sep 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
Oct 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
If you've read the other books in the series, this book takes it up a notch. The action is bigger, the twists and turns more fun, and the exploration of the Polity universe still engaging.

One caveat is that this book really doesn't focus on Agent Cormac as much as some of the others, so if that's what you came back for, you might be slightly disappointed (he's still there, just not on every page).

If anything, this fourth novel in the Agent Cormac series shows this universe has legs, and there ca
I Cristian
Nov 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
4 books in a series of 5 and only now do we actually find out who the main villain is. And I don't care. It's a wild ride AND it was worth the wait. And we don't actually learn too much about what it actually wants. And I don't care.
The book is - like most of the other Polity books - almost non-stop action. It starts off slower, but picks up speed and is quite good at introducing new characters and new plot lines to the overall story. It is quite annoying that Asher simply forgets or ignores som
Florin Constantinescu
If you liked the synopsis of the 'Polity' universe, then this is the book to start it with. Albeit standing somewhere between the 4th and 6th book in the universe, the previous books are simply badly written and contain very small amounts of information that isn't 'recapped' somewhere in this one.
Some kind of magic transformation must've occurred to the author somewhere after the previous book in the series, and here he delivers fast, interesting, well-written action with cool characters, situat
Mike Heath
Feb 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi
After surviving the horror of Skellor, this book involves the the return of characters and the resolution of situations created in earlier books. With Cormac recovering from the culmination of Jain tech in the hands of Skellor, a new story arc starts with the Haiman Orlandine getting her hands on a new Jain node.

Horace Blegg returns and you start to understand his history and the story takes an unexpected twist.

By the end, you have started to get some answers and this book really expands the ove
Pawel Dolega
May 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Simply another installment of Agent Cormac series set in Polity universe.

For all of you who already read prior Cormac's adventures - it's definitely on par with other installments. Maybe slightly less interesting than "Brass Man" - but that's probably because the larger intrigue just got initiated and will be (probably) concluded in the next (last) book.

For all others, not familiar with Cormac or Polity universe - just start from "Gridlinked".
Keith Vai
Apr 07, 2019 rated it liked it
More adventures of Cormac, his Shuriken and the whole gang. Thorn, Mika, Scar and now a cast of AI characters too.

In this installment, we get a lot more AI ships who behave like people but are actually, ships.

We get to learn more about the mysterious Horace Blegg.

Dragon shows up for a while. Orladine and a few runcible AI are introduced.

There is a huge space battle.

And the book ends. Curious if book 5 will wrap the story up or just end like this one did.
Andrii Guselietov
Jan 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Excellent as usual.
I must say, that I was so deep in the plot and events, that I failed to predict the events and outcome with Horacio Blegg. PLus, yes, it's out of the Cormac's series, but one of the personages that I really liked and been observing with interest here is the AI "King of Hearts"
but ssssussh, no real spoilers, take the book, read and enjoy!
Jeremy Cox
Dec 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Jain plus rogue AIs part one... Something nefarious is going on somewhere.
Elizabeth Nephew
Jun 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Can't get enough of Ian Cormac.
Carl Barlow
Mar 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Another crowd pleaser.
Nov 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Big smashy soap opera. Loved it.
R.S. Jinks
Mar 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Too abrupt of an ending. Still gets high marks for the grand battles that take place.
Luke Stonestreet
Jul 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Mike Rogers
Dec 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Maybe my favorite of the entire series. Great stuff!
May 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Published 2006. One of his best.
Mar 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
More pulpy space opera
Jim Mann
Mar 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
So many of the great British SF writers don't get enough attention in the US. Alastair Reynolds is first on that list. I nominate him for Hugos every year, but his novels don't make the ballot. Neal Asher is another example. His Polity series is a rich space opera, set in a well-though-out future, and the books are exciting reads (if at times overly violent). Yet Asher also gets overlooked.

Polity Agent is the fourth Ian Cormac novel. It is set in in the Polity -- a society reminiscent of Banks'
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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

Other books in the series

Agent Cormac (5 books)
  • Gridlinked (Agent Cormac #1, Polity Universe #3)
  • The Line Of Polity (Agent Cormac, #2)
  • Brass Man (Agent Cormac, #3)
  • Line War (Agent Cormac, #5)
“Thus, in moments of catastrophe, when hard decisions needed to be made quickly, all AIs included in their calculations a human death toll governed by a factor called ‘pigheadedness’.” 2 likes
“Coloron often pondered how a race, in which the stupid seemed more inclined to breed, had managed to come this far, and why human intelligence persisted—a discussion point in the nature vs nurture debate which had not died in half a millennium.” 1 likes
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