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(Agent Cormac #1)

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  9,315 ratings  ·  435 reviews
Gridlinked is a science fiction adventure in the classic, fast-paced, action-packed tradition of Harry Harrison and Poul Anderson, with a dash of cyberpunk and a splash of Ian Fleming added to spice the mix.

Cormac is a legendary Earth Central Security agent, the James Bond of a wealthy future where "runcibles" (matter transmitters controlled by AIs) allow interstellar tr
Paperback, 423 pages
Published September 1st 2004 by Tor Science Fiction (first published March 23rd 2001)
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Shane Culture books have a similar style. You'll like those if you liked this. Peter F Hamilton's space operas are fantastic. I'd also suggest Altered…moreCulture books have a similar style. You'll like those if you liked this. Peter F Hamilton's space operas are fantastic. I'd also suggest Altered Carbon by Richard Morgan, and the novels that follow it, for a faster pace.(less)
Sebastian Mordziol Having started reading Neal Asher's books with the Agent Cormac series myself, I can safely say that it's a very good starting point. I read…moreHaving started reading Neal Asher's books with the Agent Cormac series myself, I can safely say that it's a very good starting point. I read Spatterjay afterwards, and feel that I was able to enjoy it more having been familiarized with the universe first - even if Spatterjay is a pretty standalone series.(less)

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Average rating 3.97  · 
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 ·  9,315 ratings  ·  435 reviews

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Kevin Kelsey
Apr 19, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: read-2018
It had a solid setup, which it did not deliver on whatsoever. Painfully boring, terribly inconsistent one dimensional characters, cookie cutter secondary characters, zero resolution. I didn't expect quality writing, but I thought at least it would be fun, or pulpy, or.. just anything at all.
☘Misericordia☘ ~ The Serendipity Aegis ~  ⚡ϟ⚡ϟ⚡⛈ ✺❂❤❣
Catadapts, ophidapts and lots of other weird stuff.
A blue snow was falling on the roof of the embarkation lounge, where it melted and snaked across the glass in inky rivulets. ...
On Samarkand it was raining Dragon scales. (c)
He saw the weapon.
'You made love like a machine,' ... (c)
Typical well-hugger trying to look like a member of the runcible culture, he thought. The vogue slick-pants and corsair shirt told him all he needed to know. The Se
Jun 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
I'm working myself up to flying through the Polity Universe, having already read a bit of Asher already, and while I kinda expected something worse from the general consensus of this particular novel in the full continuity, I did not get frozen eyeballs after being exposed to cold vacuum.


That being said, I did rather enjoy the spy stuff, the high-tech stuff, and the *ideas* of the super-AIs, the investigation of the planetary disaster, the BIG ALIENS, and, as a matter
Feb 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
Taking a break from fantasy/romance/mystery, i picked this book up because my brother recommended it. And it was TOTALLY worth it! If you read a lot of my reviews you know I adore Iain Banks' work, and this book felt like a cousin of his work. Basically we're dealing with a deep future society depended on vast machines, and an overarching mystery of a sabateur, a James-Bond-like main character, and a side-plot of a psychopath's ruthless need for revenge at any cost. I dunno how to describe it mu ...more
Deborah Ideiosepius
Oh dear. For pure reading experience this probably deserves a one star, or even negative stars.

The world building is great, absolutely fascinating and if some of the concepts are not entirely new, well they are certainly freshly presented. The book would probably be improved by knocking 200 pages off it because I have no idea why it takes up 522 when it hurts to read more than a page or two at a time. The characters unfortunately are about as engaging as cold black coffee. Instant co
5.0 stars. Excellent debut novel and a terrific read. Never boring, great characters and even better world-building. Will definitely read more from this author. Recommended!!
Michael Reitema
Jun 27, 2009 rated it it was ok
This book is just bad. Let's list some things:

Interstellar "dragon" that acts as histrionic and pathetic as a chubby junior high goth kid? Check.
Amateurish attempts at creating false tension by using the word "as" (as in "he moved slowly as he pulled out his gun" [my quote, not from the book:])? All over the place.
Use of the word "suddenly?" You betcha.
Horrendously awkward sexual encounters? Of course.
Seemingly random motivations and wild mood swings amongst t
Apr 07, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-books, read-2011
4 Stars

My first Neal Asher novel and it did not let me down. I have had his series on my to-read list for far too long.

Sprawling, creative, dark, and dirty space opera. Artificial Intelligence run the Polity universe, a place like ours in the near future. There is plenty of creative science in here and Asher often spends time detailing his creations. Political wars, common enemies, and god like monsters to fear.

Cormac is a good lead protagonist, a high tech 007, who is n
Jun 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Well well well. Hello Neal Asher a new author (well new for me) who has me completely engrossed in SciFi again. Reading Asher is like reading a story written by Alistair Reynolds and China Mieville. There is your high tech scifi and weird augmentation bits. I think what i like about Asher is he seems to have the best bits of Reynolds and Mieville, great believable advanced technologies with wonderfully descriptive monsters, body improvements and world building.
This story I think is around
Stevie Kincade
May 25, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
This was the 3rd Neal Asher book I read. The consensus among fans seems to be to start with the prequel"Prador Moon" and I agree 100%. Prador Moon was a tight, focused, non stop thrill ride. Gridlinked kind of ambled here and there and I found it a little hard to get into or care about.

Even while I was reading it I had a hard time retaining what I had read. Several times I would be reading about a minor character and wonder "who is this person and why am I supposed to care about them again"? Th"who
Jun 02, 2012 rated it liked it
Perfectly serviceable mystery-space-op-sci-fantasy. Not up there with Banks or Bear or Watts at their best but if you're after a book where an FTL culture still allegedly lives in a pre-scarcity economy and follows an action-lit plot-line you could do far worse.

Two criticisms I've had to pick out, if only because of the extreme strange-ness, though:

1. Asher didn't seem to realise that our favourite characters were The Baddest Baddies: Pelter and Mr Crane (in fact, the se/> ...more
James Parsons
May 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
The first full book from Asher I've read here. Published quite a while back now, it seems to have set the standard for a few of his novels and his style.
Quite a long and good sized book, not space opera but features things like various planets, spaceships, AI and alien species. Like an action-adventure sci-fi movie, it moves along steady, never really slowing down too often. Good interesting lead character and others around him. If this is your kind of sci-fi thing, it probably will not let you
Luke Burrage
Full review on my podcast, SFBRP episode #377.

SFBRP #377 - Neal Asher - Gridlinked - Agent Cormac #1
Jesse Whitehead
Sep 09, 2011 rated it it was ok
I’ve been trying lately to pin down, in some quantifiable way, how I read books. When I first started my blog I started giving everything a rating. It didn’t make sense after awhile so I abandoned it. I decided that my reviews have to stand on their own. So I’ve been trying to find a way to describe why some books fill me with pure hatred and others with pure glee. For instance I don’t know why I love Robert Jordan’s books but read Dan Brown with the kind of loathing that is actually joy at all ...more
Aurel Mihai
Nov 06, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: science-fiction
I was expecting to read a cross between the grittiness of Neuromancer and the epic storyline of Dune. I can only assume that's what Neal Asher was going for by writing us a cyberpunk plot full of cheap death and shady characters set in a pan-galactic universe where faster-than-light travel is a trivial matter. Unfortunately, the story is terribly rushed. Where Neuromancer and Dune are full of details that add life to those stories Gridlinked glosses over anything that isn't gore or action. Both main characters are f ...more
Jan 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
About 85% done according to Kindle: a brawny, masculine book about an insensitive super agent. The story is more about action than sense or motivations. Characters are introduced and killed without compassion. A cold book that reminds me of action movies such as Mission Impossible or Captain America, where the entertainment is in the blasting, furious activity, tantalizing the eyes but light on the humanity and eminently forgettable.

I realize that Asher wrote many books in the same universe and
Mr. Windup Bird
Sep 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
In my opinion, Gridlinked succeeds at being a smart, well written, engaging sci-fi spy thriller of a page turner. Neal Asher succeeded at what he set out to do on all counts. Gridlinked did not ask or answer any of life's great questions, but it did provide me with hours of great fun, action, humor, and a VERY well done sci-fi world! I love the Polity lore, and can't wait to read more. If Steven Erickson's Malazan is my favorite fantasy world, Polity is it's sci-fi counterpart. Wouldn't it be gr ...more
Tudor Ciocarlie
Feb 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This book is a fantastic melange between intelligent plot, great action, interesting characters and some very profound questions.
Neil Hepworth
Sep 05, 2011 rated it liked it
The first three quarter of the book were a very strong 4 stars. Unfortunately, the novel’s end sank down into the two/one star category.

The Good Parts: I loved the world-building and weird universe that Asher created. I liked his quirky AI’s. I enjoyed the grit, gore, action and pace. And once I got use to the slightly choppy writing writing style, I liked that too. It had the feel of a cyberpunk novel, but more readable. (I often find cyberpunk intriguing in concept, but difficult to actually
Mar 18, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
In the prequel to the series, it had been determined that Cormac has an autism spectrum disorder which could be seen in his extreme focus on the knowledge and lack of social skills. Imagine a man like that connected for 30 years to the AI grid. When his performance on the field as an ECS agent starts to suffer because of the lack of empathy and recognition of human emotions, he was given an ultimatum: get off from the grid or resign.

Disconnected from the grid, Cormac has to investigate a potent
Aug 21, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of cyberpunk and spy novels
Shelves: britishsci-fi
Yet another of the cadre of great British science-fiction writers (which, I maintain, is where all the best new sci-fi is coming from these days).

This is a spy story. The protagonist is James Bond-ish, but with a critical weakness -- he's been hooked into the AI net for so long that he's lost his connection with his fellow humans. So, the AIs cut him off and he's now forced to do his job -- which involves thwarting the plans of an enigmatic alien -- without his usual advantage. Kind
Feb 09, 2010 rated it did not like it
I found this pretty disappointing. The world didn't make much sense to me, which I think is a pretty bad failure for SF. Why are these people squabbling over petty change when they have energy surpluses large enough to quickly terraform ice planets? Why do the AIs let humans make the important choices? If linking human and AI minds leads to such amazing advances, why has it only been done once? If the main character's antique weapon is so powerful, why doesn't everyone use things like that?
Mar 13, 2018 rated it it was ok
Disappointing read. Clunky prose. Inane dialogue. Plodding storyline. Hero worship. Assinine aliens. Faceless characters. Weak women. Dumb henchmen. Anticlimactic ending. Author's freshmen novel. GR reviews state that the sequel THE LINE OF POLITY is much better. I hope!
May 18, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I really wanted to like this book. The world-building is spectacular and there are dozens of novels set in the same universe; I was looking forward to them. Unfortunately, I found it a slog to get through, because frankly the plot was boring and predictable and the story was told in a wooden and tiresome manner. The characters were also under-developed, but I don't consider that a huge issue for a sci-fi adventure. It's a shame, I would have loved to read more about the Polity.
Jul 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
First of all, a big shout-out to Ellen, the owner of Colophon Books in Ithaca, NY, who recommended Neal Asher to me when I was in her shop earlier this year. (You can check out the shop's website at

Gridlinked starts out with a bang and I really enjoyed it from the outset. However, I got really bogged down in the middle section of the book and it took me forever to finish. I finally finished it while traveling over the course of the last couple of weeks and remembered what I liked about it in t
Jason Braida
May 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book and would normally have given it 5 stars. There is something of Peter Hamilton's Commonwealth Saga in this book in that Asher presents us with a well formed and thought out human society, The Polity, in which his stories unfold. I like science fiction in which there is a sense of a larger world than just the what the main characters are directly experiencing. I think I will read the next book in the Cormac series just to see how this universe gets expanded upon in the subsequ ...more
Jonathan Bergeron
Jul 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I’ll get it out in the open, I’m a giant Neal Asher fan. Right now, I can’t find another author who writes more entertaining stories.

I read DARK INTELLIGENCE a few weeks ago, maybe a couple months ago, and when I finished that book I was at a loss for words. It checked every box on my non-existent Things that make a science fiction book great checklist. I stayed away from Neal’s books for a little bit after I finished DARK INTELLIGENCE. If the book is so great that I could not nitpic
Aug 18, 2008 rated it really liked it
f you are looking for creative, colorful, violent, and frightening science fiction novels, then pick up a Neal Asher. In the past few years I read Cowl and the Skinner, and I just read his first, Gridlinked. His books are set in the shared Polity universe, generally set a few hundred years from today where human society is ruled by AIs, connected via instantaneous travel and beset by enemies like the crablike Prador and the human Separatists. Holding back these terrors is Earth Central Security ...more
Sep 03, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
This was essentially a great read, with the rushing about space; good guys & bad guys (with some complexity); a bit of romance; the need to save, if not humanity, at least a good portion of it; high tech, and more. Asher has quite the imagination, and I think his handling of linking & augmentation is better than most. In terms of character, he's got some of the usual "usual suspects" (for scifi) and some exceptionally wonderful characters.

So why only 3 stars? At times Asher gets too cau
Jim Mcclanahan
Jun 11, 2011 rated it liked it
The positive side of Gridlinked revolves around the author's ability to create interesting characters, set forth a compelling conflict among those characters and describe the action using descriptions of biology and technology that are almost sufficiently detailed to qualify as "Hard SF". However, in the end, Asher writes Space Operas. Which is fine because that's what I like.

On the negative side, for this novel, the author seems to intoduce a few too many elements (and perhaps chara
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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)
  • The Line Of Polity (Agent Cormac, #2)
  • Brass Man (Agent Cormac, #3)
  • Polity Agent (Agent Cormac, #4)
  • Line War (Agent Cormac, #5)
“Cormac was completely aware that he was being manipulated, but how he could not see. He reckoned that when he did find out, the surprise would be a nasty one. That was how it usually went.” 5 likes
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