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Brass Man

(Agent Cormac #3)

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  6,247 ratings  ·  149 reviews

On the primitive world Cull, a knight errant called Anderson hunts a dragon, not knowing that elsewhere is a resurrected brass killing machine, Mr Crane, assisting in a similar hunt. Learning that this old enemy still lives, agent Cormac pursues, while scientist Mika begins discovering the horrifying truth about an ancient alien technology.

Each day is a survival struggle

Kindle Edition, Reprints edition, 505 pages
Published August 21st 2009 by Tor (first published January 1st 2005)
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Andrew Ten broek In the USA the second novel of the Agent Cormac series, The Line of Polity, wasn't published until more recent. So in first instance it went from Grid…moreIn the USA the second novel of the Agent Cormac series, The Line of Polity, wasn't published until more recent. So in first instance it went from Gridlinked to Brass Man there, making Brass Man #2. In the UK however it was #3 following The Line of Polity.(less)
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Average rating 4.13  · 
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 ·  6,247 ratings  ·  149 reviews

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Jun 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In a lot of ways, this is primarily a character-driven novel.

It may not seem that way because we're surrounded by more Ship and World-AIs than we can shake a stick at, Jain mushrooms infecting whole civilizations with super-high-tech hacking monstrosities (that are mycelium), androids, cyborgs, messed-up alien ecologies, and alien BDOs that aren't so dumb.

Where's the character-driven stuff? They're now on a tech-race about to turn all the intelligences in the galaxy into greed-monsters incitin
Mr. Windup Bird
Jan 11, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 51-100
Brass Man picks up where The Line of Polity (book 2 in the Agent Cormac series) left off, and is a very satisfying installment in the series.

Neal Asher has, in my opinion, really found that magic combination of tropes for my taste. Being a huge fan of the John Carpenter movie "The Thing", a cybernetic virus version of the same is almost too good to be true. While I'm not 100% positive that's what Neal had in mind when creating the Jain, it's close enough for me to enjoy anyway.

In addition to a
Chris Berko
Aug 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I always forget how much I trust Neal Asher. There are times during his books, of which I've now read six, that I find myself thoroughly confused. There are tons of characters usually spread out over like seven or eight different worlds with multiple plot lines being the norm. However, Mr. Asher never leaves you hanging but he also does not pander to the lowest common denominator. So at the beginning of chapters when I scratch my head and am saying, "huh?", I forget that by the end of the chapte ...more
Mar 24, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
The previous novel and the story collection were exceptional. In this one, though, Asher lost the grip on his narration. Too many plot lines coupled with some complex concepts (as is always the case with AIs and aliens) that remain confusing and some heavy handed parts (Mr. Crane's memories) made the story less enjoyable. This reads as a set-up novel to something bigger and, basically, the story has an unfinished feel.

That being said, like always, Asher's imagination is vast and often cheeky - w
Stevie Kincade
Jun 20, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
Neal Asher is a favourite of mine but I struggled to finish this, as evidenced by the fact I started it in August 2017 and completed it in June 2018. I was about 1/3 of the way through it at the start of the year but restarted it after having trouble recalling what I had already read. I had to read this as a paper book since it was the one novel in the Polity series I didn't have audio for. Ironically it took me so long to read there is now an audiobook available on Audible for it.

I love the pol
Jun 09, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 to be accurate. Lots of imaginative stuff and some good characters, but I found I had to slog through it, and I kept losing the narrative thread.
Jun 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011-read
Brass Man continues my reading (and catch-up) of Neal Asher's Ian Cormac series. I'm a big fan of Neal's work and my one reading resolution for this year was to get up-to-date on his releases. I'm in the fortunate position of having the whole series sitting on my shelf ready for back-to-back reads so I can fully appreciate the overall story he's telling, and after recently reading both the second in the series, The Line of Polity, and now Brass Man I'm still gobsmacked that I haven't read them s ...more
Aug 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2018
5 Stars

Brass Man (Agent Cormac #3) by Neal Asher is an action packed science fiction thriller that really has it all. Asher might arguably be the best writer of action based science fiction. I love his writing, his style, his imagination, and his science. Brass Man is a spectacular continuation of the Cormac series.

I loved it.
Jun 24, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Neal Asher's Polity series just keeps delivering.

From Prador Moon, through the short stories of The Engineer Reconditioned to the Cormac stories in Gridlinked and The Line of Polity Asher keeps up a breakneck pace of action, fantastic technologies and fascinating worlds that has regularly kept me glued to his books into the early hours.

Brass Man is another such late night/early morning read, filled with great action set pieces, diabolical villains and planet-sized starships.

It is however, a litt
Jun 11, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Brass Man is Neal Asher's third book in his "Ian Cormac" series and I enjoyed it more than its predecessors. These books are part Iain Banks' Culture novels, part Ian Fleming's James Bond and then a varied mix of ultra-tech, ultra-violence and beyond-the-pale bio-engineering.

Mr. Asher's greatest strength is in creating interesting creatures and technologies, more often than not of a sort to kill humans in many and varied ways. Brass Man and the other Asher books I've read could only be turned in
Jan 19, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I read this on a plane trip. Tried to like it, but a quarter of the way in it didn't blow my mind with ideas, despite the technically dense prose and intensely alien settings, and there were too many characters involved for me to get drawn into the story. Most of the SF ideas have been done in ways that I found more original and appealing: the recording of consciousness for a virtual life after death is better done by Richard K. Morgan. Artificial Intelligence as the "guardians" of humanity, bet ...more
Matti Tornio
Brass Man felt like a poor man's Culture novel. The book suffers from numerous issues, including way too many irrelevant side stories, uninteresting characters and buildup to an ending that turns out to be a big disappointment.
Jul 17, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked Gridlinked, and this book takes place within the same universe. I enjoyed the book, despite it taking a while to put the various storylines together along with digesting the universe-specific technical aspects. I generally like authors that don't spoonfeed you info, but there is an art to letting it unfold.

What I love about these books is that set in a space faring universe, civilization uncovers artifacts from a few different ancient and extremely technological advanced races that myste
Luke Burrage
It's all about different levels of combat. Man vs monster. Robot vs golem. Scout ship vs alien. Super destroyer vs species-level threat.

3.75 stars.

Full review on my podcast, SFBRP episode #423:
Roddy Williams
‘On the primitive Out-Polity world of Cull, a latter-day knight errant called Anderson is hunting a dragon.

He little knows that, far away, another man – though now more technology than human flesh – has resurrected a brass killing machine called ‘Mr Crane’ to assist in a similar hunt, but one that encompasses star systems. When agentt Cormac realizes that this old enemy still lives, he sets out in pursuit aboard the attack ship Jack Ketch.

For the inhabitants of Cull, each day proves a struggle t
T.I.M. James
Jun 26, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Before I go into the review of this book something has to be said: when choosing a book to read, only an idiot would pick up a later book in a series without having read the earlier ones first. Guess what that makes me?

Keeping the above in mind I think one of the problems that I had with the early part of this novel is the torrent of information I had to absorb. Saying that Asher’s universe is big, does not do it justice it is a masterwork of the imagination - but having to try and come to terms
Brandon Wei
Feb 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Michael Battaglia
The back cover of this book tells us that Earth Central Security agent Ian Cormac is the "James Bond of a wealthy future" but let me throw out this question, when you think of James Bond (if you think of him at all) what traits jump out at you? That he's debonair, resourceful, smooth with the ladies, useful in a fight, maybe has a little bit of a sense of humor? Looks good in a suit? Has neat gadgets and fast cars? I've maybe seen one Bond movie all the way through (a Daniel Craig one so maybe t ...more
Duke Duquaine
Dec 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read the book “The Brassman”, the third in the Ian Cormac series, I found this book like the first book very interesting and a great read. In this book Ian is on a dragon hunt but this dragon is not like the ones described in medieval times.

As for main characters there is Ian Cormac, the protagonist, and there are three antagonists. One is Skellor, an average man in possession of Jain Technology. Mr. Crane, the broken golem from the first book that is resurrected to help in Skellor’s hunt for
Jim Mcclanahan
The third in the Agent Cormac series. I'm trying to read them in proper sequence. I found this one to plod a bit compared to the first two. Some of the same characters, except fot the Knight Errant riding a giant bug and his not so faithful squire (Sancho Panza he's not). His quest is, of course, to slay the dragon. but the dragon in Asher's book is much more than a windmill. so the story of this character constitutes more comic relief than anything else.

Agent Cormac acquits himself well, as usu
Very good and solid science fiction, though the writing style distracted me. Too many jumps between interweaving plots allowed me to put the book down several times. However, Asher has created a rich universe with interesting characters and all the elements you need to keep a series going. A Galactic super-agent with special mental abilities, omniscient artificial intelligence controls everything, threats to civilization (both from the past and outside the known galaxy,) and plenty of enemies to ...more
Mar 08, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Congratulations, Asher: you swindled me of $8.99 and a precious hour of my life.

I quit reading somewhere between the mention of a corporation named "Cybercorp" (seriously, Asher? this is your A-game?) and a page-long infodump written in all italics. There was plenty more to hate in between -- the shitty, boring dialogue, the lazily-sketched non-characters, the tell-not-show prose style that went beyond merely ham-fisted and became a reading experience akin to being pummeled to death with a whol
Feb 16, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
For some reason I didn't enjoy this nearly as much as the previous two books. I actually found it rather boring in comparison, and had a lot of trouble paying attention. I think the world Asher brought us to here just wasn't as fascinating to me as Masada was in the previous book; it wasn't as well-built or as crucial to the plot here. Also, lots of my favorite characters from the series never even made an appearance here, which was disappointing to say the least. I'm sure lots of people will lo ...more
Jonathan Lupa
Sep 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the best scifi I've read in quite a while. Mr. Asher balances a number of interesting ideas, and drops them all around good characters in a very tactile setting. That some of it is a riff off of various western storylines wasn't detracting, and overall, I just loved this book.

Having finished this, I plowed through 'Agent of Polity' in the next 24 hours (just finished), and while that book was good, it doesn't quite compete with this one. Regardless, both entries are much better than the
Marc Jones
Aug 18, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
Following up plot threads from his first two novels Neil Asher once again delivers another satisfying helping of sci-fi drama.
All his usual elements are in place, super science, snarky AIs, vast alien intelligence's and a huge dollop of body horror and violence.
Never really getting bogged down in super science the Brass man is a fun and easy read despite its rather vomit inducing subject matter at times.
Nov 08, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Disappointed in this series in general. I like many of Neal Asher's books but this series, from Gridlinked to here were not so great. This book is the third in the series and it starts by unpicking the conclusion of the last tow in order to set up the same storyline, same hero same villain same enigmatic alien entity, same tortured metal AI. It even interrupts the story with several 'retroacts' ie retelling of the initial story from book 1.
Jyoti Dahiya
Sep 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brass Man brings back the broken golem, Mr Crane, last seen being vanquished by two Golems and its mind in its crystal being smashed to bits, after laying a path of blood and gore at the behest of that evil and obsessed terrorist Arian Pelter.

Except that Skellor, the even more evil human who used the scarily super high-tech alien Jain technology to try and take over Masada from both the Dragon and the Polity, is not, after all dead. And he resurrects Mr Crane. Skellor is like a supervillain with
Mike Heath
Feb 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
This book starts off pretty much as Line of the Polity finishes, and does feel like the 2nd part of that story. And that definitely isn't a bad thing. Getting to know the insane and if I'm honest, pretty scary Mr Crane (a psychotic Golem) is really good fun.

At the end of Gridlinked I was starting think that the Polity faced a serious threat here, and once the Jain tech got into the hands of Skellor in Line of the Polity, it was pretty clear that this had the potential to be civilisation ending,
Keith Vai
The third book in the Cormac-Skellor-Dragon saga and its more of the same. Seems like all the characters from book 2 are back but we get to see a new planet.

I dont think these books have a deep message but they are enjoyable enough to keep reading.

The new element of this book is two new characters: ship AI and Dragon. Both of which are very powerful and very human in their behavior and description.

This book is less about Cormac and Skellor; its more of ensemble affair. Curious where the author w
Jul 30, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: disappointing
A book entirely devoted to the few things I didn't like in the previous books..

I didn't care much for Mr. Crane before this book, but after this book, I despise the character. Nothing about him makes any sense. In world with advanced technology why should we care about one little psychopathic robot with some extra armor? When the book tries to explain anything about the character gets dumber. With mr. Crane is turtles all the way down.

And Jain technology is the literally Deus Ex Technology.. It
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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)
  • Polity Agent (Agent Cormac, #4)
  • Line War (Agent Cormac, #5)

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