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Line War

(Agent Cormac #5)

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  5,017 ratings  ·  117 reviews
The Polity is under attack from a 'melded' AI entity with control of the lethal Jain technology, yet the attack seems to have no coherence. When one of Erebus's wormships kills millions on the world of Klurhammon, a high-tech agricultural world of no real tactical significance, agent Ian Cormac is sent to investigate, though he is secretly struggling to control a new abili ...more
Kindle Edition, Reprints edition, 580 pages
Published September 4th 2008 by Tor (first published March 18th 2008)
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Average rating 4.26  · 
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 ·  5,017 ratings  ·  117 reviews

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Payoff. :)

That's what this novel is.

After so many novels, including short stories and asides like Brass Man, this novel combines everyone, all the good and the bad, together in a spectacular blow out of AI ships against each other, with Jain tech making a mess of envy and call to power across so many species, and the people in the Polity and outside of it (a gigantic Jain sphere of awesome tech, Dragon) included.

War. Big war. With even bigger tech and hidden programs, nasty old and new AIs, le
Mr. Windup Bird
Feb 15, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, 21-50
If I had to describe the "Agent Cormac" series story arc to someone in a single sentence, I would probably say something like this: "A more rugged, far future version of James Bond investigates subversive technology capable of destroying humanity throughout the inhabited universe". There is far more to it, but that's the gist.

This hard sci-fi series is just boiling over with the kind boundlessly imaginative characters, world building, and story I just love. Subversive Borg like technology, artif
Jun 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011-read
Finally I've come to the last Agent Cormac book, Line War, and up to now it's been a ride of ups and downs. The first two books, Gridlinked and The Line of Polity, were rather enjoyable, but they did have their issues. After that came Brass Man and Polity Agent, both of which upped the stakes and delivered some really great sci-fi. Now with Line War the story comes to a conclusion, and while it ends the series as a whole I always had that niggle of a doubt in my mind that it might not be as spec ...more
Aug 27, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sff
Meh... I don't know. I absolutely loved 'Gridlinked' and 'The Line of Polity' but this one didn't really hit the spot I thought. The plot is great, of course, the final showdown between Polity and Erebus couldn't be anything but. Also, Mr Crane. You can't miss with a character like that.

I think the reason this book didn't sit so well with me was because, in an attempt to suspend my disbelief, Asher constantly managed to do the opposite, by means of over-explanation. I haven't got the book to han
Stevie Kincade
Aug 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed, audiobooks
The final Agent Cormac book was easily the best, bringing the vast scope of this series into sharp focus. The earlier books suffered at times from too many minor characters and not particularly necessary "retroact" flashbacks. In Line War we are presented with a gripping action SF that tied up all the loose ends and explained everything we ever wanted to know about the alien Jain tech, complex AI's, alien "makers" and "Dragon" entities, Polity schemers, android golems, human/AI hybrids and war d ...more
Tim Hicks
Nov 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Not really a full five stars, but enough fun that I rounded up.

I guess I can't get enough of AIs running 20-mile-long spaceships while always seeming to speak with on eyebrow raised and a half-smile.

You really have to have read the earlier books to enjoy this one.

The whole series is huge in scope, and this volume's no exception. There are quite a few major characters on stage. Millions, possibly billions of people are killed, planets blown up, etc. and in the midst of all this there's room
Bryan Brown
Jan 25, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci_fi
This was my least favorite book in the Ian Cormac series of polity novels. It felts abrupt to me as he pulled together all the many threads started throughout the series. The plot was well telegraphed which removed some of the tension earlier in the series and the action was less compelling than the first several books. The biggest problem was how different the characters seemed in this book than in previous ones. These changes were justified by plot points but it was still unsettling to have fu ...more
Jeff Mcleod
Apr 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Finally finished the Agent Cormac novels . . . and they were quite excellent. It's been a hell of a ride, with novels 4 and 5 being my favorites of the bunch. Quite a surprising ending in Line War! I don't really know where to go with Asher's prolific output now, but I'm sure I'll figure it out. Amazing writing, ideas and worlds!
Apr 16, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf
Oo! Released slowly and out of order in the U.S.--start with Gridlinked, if you're interested--a few more of British SF author Neal Asher's books have recently turned up in the Kindle store. I was stoked to get ahold of the conclusion to the Agent Cormac series. I was surprised by how it wrapped up!
Dec 09, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Continues in the Polity series, and raises quite a few questions about the way AIs are running things.

I think it opens up a whole new avenue of stories for future books. And I am looking forward to them.
May 03, 2012 rated it really liked it

A fitting finishing for a series of very good books! Mr Asher has a pace of writing that makes it enjoyable and a universe very well constructed. Also de development of characters like Cormac and Dragon and very interesting!!!
Nov 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
wasn't feeling the series that much in the beginning, but in hindsight it all was all good build-up, feels like I sprinted through the last two
May 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Neil Asher's "Line War" is a solid conclusion to a brilliant series, but don't read it until you have read the previous four books in what should be (but isn't) called the "Ian Cormac" series. Asher tries to fill in the background for the reader who hasn't read the other books, but frankly he does not succeed and it doesn't work particularly well as a stand-alone story.

On the other hand,"Line War" is a great success as the final book in a series, nicely tying off many story lines and largely pro
The first two Cormac books, although linked, stand on their own. The other three, however, are tightly connected, forming a whole set. Thankfully the last one closes down most threads and although open-ended, gives a reasonable conclusion, and hints that the series stops here.

I confess I was relieved when it ended, as the series had become bloated and a bit unwieldy, with some scenes and imaginative settings, but padded with too much pointless description and repetition.

In this book happen many
Feb 20, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
Enjoyed, but not as much as previous books in the series.

I found the first half of the book to be bogged down by so many explanations of what things look like, how the AIs transmit information and the intricacies of battle. In the prior volumes Asher had managed to give me feel of these things without it being whole swaths of passages just describing things. Found Orlandine and Cormac more cold and remote than before and less easy to connect with as characters. Luckily the AI characters filled
Alex Borghgraef
Oct 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A worthy conclusion to the Ian Cormac series. Asher has grown a lot through this, the series started as a campy-but-fun Culture-meets-007 romp with a pinch of military SF added (ticking all if my guilty pleasure boxes), but in Line War it finishes on a truly epic note, asking the kind of questions on humanity and the implications of advanced to godlike technology which make SF into such an interesting genre, while ramping up the badassery of the earlier books to unseen levels. Seriously, the Cor ...more
Aug 29, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The triumphant yet somewhat mysterious conclusion to this plot arc, as tight scripting gives way to inadequately justified motivations, strange reversals, and, most vexingly, no real justification of what was so unusual or significant about the particular characters that became so special. The entire book smells a little like a hunt for a sufficiently grand conclusion to wrap the story up; methinks Asher got a little tired of this particular series. Worth reading if you're attached to the charac ...more
Apr 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science-fiction, war
A good finale to the Ian Cormac series. A thoroughly fast-paced tale with the final showdown with rogue AI Erebus and its Jain-enhanced army. The puzzling entity that is Dragon is also pursuing its own agenda and Mr. Crane is finally pushed too far. In the middle of all of this is Ian Cormac, a "man" with new abilities...maybe, he's still not sure.
Another in the Cormac series, read more for my completionist agenda than anything. Where I enjoyed the new concepts in The Skinner and Gridlinked this title was just more of the same from the rest of the series.
Sep 21, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
A hard series to describe. Definitely quite slow at the start, but picked up to a decent pace by the end.
Gareth Park
Jan 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
was good, was a bit too large in scale for periods, missed out all the cormac action with his tenkian blade
Martin Phillips
Mar 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm very sad that I've now reached the end of the Agent Cormac novels. But this was an excellent send-off! I don't feel I can really give a proper review without giving a lot of spoilers, but I will say that I never expected what happened at the end, and the telling of the whole story was enthralling and very hard to put down!

Having first read The Transformation Series as my intro to Asher, and then jumping onto the newest series Rise of the Jain (which was actually a prequel to Transformation),
Jonathan Bergeron
Spoilers or whatever. I DNF this book for one reason. There is a character in it that is supposedly a code artifact, a ghost in the machine as it were. This character terrorized the main villain in a way that was exciting and fun. It was yet another amazing character from Neal Asher, an author who seems to dream up a new and vastly interesting and entertaining character every time he goes to sleep. So I'm enjoying the book greatly. The action scenes are superb, writing top notch, all that normal ...more
Michael Gray
While this final (?) chapter took a bit more effort because of the number of threads, I only gave it four stars, not because of any lack of enjoyment on my part, but I know the ADHD readers will suffer.

Loved it; the development of Mika, the return of the treacherous King, bad ass Golem, wicked enemies with appalling capabilities that set even Cormac back on his heels were all as well-written as I have come to expect from Neil Asher, and the added bonus of another superbly written, deeply conflic
May 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Okay, this one has five stars. To get the best out of the books, you should read the whole series. In fact, you probably need to read the whole series. If you want the answers to the questions left hanging as you read the previous books, then this is where you'll find them. It's because all the loose ends are tied up that this one gets the big 5.

Neal Asher has created a believable future, with 'science fiction' that feels like 'science fact'. This is hardcore sci-fi. AI, Aliens and irascible war
Dec 27, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fitting conclusion to the Ian Cormac novels, and better than some others in the series, Line War is the culmination of the five book Polity series. The writing is uncomplicated (except where it starts talking about ultra-technologies) and the characterizations sparsely done, but the shear imagination Mr. Asher exhibits in bringing his world(s) together pushed it into positive territory for me.

Recommended for lovers of space opera.
Dec 07, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A pretty satisfying conclusion to the Agent Cormac series, part of the larger Polity Universe. The story wraps up a lot of larger arcs while revealing a lot about the society and structure of the AI-run society, and tying off some loose ends from prior books.

I can't say the story was as dynamic as some of the prior novels, but then, this was the end.
Jul 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've just found Neal Asher on Goodreads. I'm not going to leave a review, except to say that I own every. single. one. of his books in paperback. Books are expensive in South Africa, and I *really* don't have a lot of money. I buy them anyway, and cut back on other costs for the month. He's that good.
Nov 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Asher writes complex plots with ensemble casts and stories that rely on knowledge of things that happened in previous books. Plus, Asher assumes his audience can keep up and keeps the explanations to a minimum. All I can say is this is a terrific series -- one of the best in science-fiction -- and that it should be read in order for maximum enjoyment.
William Farris
Oct 31, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The story continues and becomes more complicated.

I like the character developments. Though futuristic and expansive, enough humanity remains to want to read the next book. I have to wait though and let my mind cool off.
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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)
  • Polity Agent (Agent Cormac, #4)

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