Review: Woken Furies, by Richard Morgan

richard-morgan-woken-furies-UK-PBK-new

Gollancz, ISBN 978-0-575-08127-7

(Review first published on the ASIM website, May 2009)

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The Kovacs saga concludes, for the moment at least, with Woken Furies. Again, the storyline is substantially different from that which has gone before, in the preceding two books, with Kovacs essentially the only character in common – though given the author’s characteristically high body count, it would probably be very difficult to reprise any of Kovacs’ opponents from the earlier works. In any event, Furies is set on Kovacs’ original home-world, Harlan’s World, distanced from Angels by (I think) at least a century as well as by several light-years. This time around, Takeshi has been dealing with the local Yakuza and offing priests, but in causing the death of a petty crime-lord’s scion, he becomes a marked man, with (it seems) everyone from the ruling Harlan clan on down wanting this version of Kovacs neutralised. Because, in an intriguing plot twist, someone has taken the trouble to illegally double-sleeve Takeshi Kovacs, with his ‘copy’ wanting the ‘original’ dead, and prepared to do the dirty work himself…

But as well as simply staying alive (always a struggle in itself), Kovacs has a larger mystery to solve, with the emergence of rumours to the effect that the philosopher-revolutionary Quellcrist Falconer, Takeshi’s centuries-dead mentor, may in fact live again…

In many respects, Furies is a better book than Angels, and it provides a satisfying conclusion to the sequence of novels. The pace, though by no means mundane, seems less frenetic, and the worldbuilding brings together all of the glimpses of Kovacs’ upbringing, hinted at in the earlier works, in a credible and memorable manner. The alien-artefact backstory, too, is here handled more effectively (to my mind) than it is in Angels, with the story’s many strands combining in an unexpected but ultimately rewarding manner. If Carbon flagged Morgan as an SF writer of major promise, Furies goes a very long way towards delivering on that promise. In several ways, I enjoyed this book more than either of its two predecessors.

If you’ve read either of the earlier books, you really do owe it to yourself to get your hands on Furies to find out just what happens to Takeshi Kovacs, in the end.

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(Review by Simon Petrie, 2009)

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