Thorvald Spear, resurrected from his death over 100 years earlier, continues to hunt Penny Royal, the rogue AI and dangerous war criminal on the run from Polity forces. Beyond the Graveyard, a lawless and deadly area in deep space, Spear follows the trail of several enemy Prador, the crab-like alien species with a violent history of conflict with humanity.
Sverl, a Prador genetically modified by Penny Royal and slowly becoming human, pursues Cvorn, a Prador harboring deep hatred for the Polity looking to use him and other hybrids to reignite the dormant war with mankind.
Blite, captain of a bounty hunting ship, hands over two prisoners and valuable memplants from Penny Royal to the Brockle, a dangerous forensics entity under strict confinement on a Polity spaceship that quickly takes a keen interest in the corrupted AI and its unclear motives.
Penny Royal meanwhile continues to pull all the strings in the background, keeping the Polity at bay and seizing control of an attack ship. It seeks Factory Station Room 101, a wartime manufacturing space station believed to be destroyed. What does it want with the factory? And will Spear find the rogue AI before it gets there?
War Factory, the second book in the Transformation trilogy, is signature space opera from Neal Asher: breakneck pacing, high-tech science, bizarre alien creatures, and gritty, dangerous far-future worlds.
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Sadly, Neal Asher has jumped the shark
- Andrew Pollack
Long does not equal good
I'll think twice about spending so much time on such a book. The number of female characters is small and the main one turned into a monster.
The role of AIs in the future.
This is a great example of the trend in scifi space operas over the last 15 years where quality exposition is confused with great length. To put it another way, the story goes on and on and on (and on and on) in ridiculous detail and then just quits in a very unsatisfactory way. This story could easily have been told better in 1/3 of the time. "Spear reached up and rubbed his nose. Time passed while he contemplated what Penny Royal would do next. He rubbed his nose again. For good measure, he rubbed it a third time." (I made that up.) Given the great length, there could have been better character development but, again, it would have been acceptable and sufficient for a shorter work that just moved the action along sharply and GOT TO THE POINT.
- SciFi Shoemaker "northern reader"