Back on his home planet of Harlan’s World, Takeshi Kovacs is trying to mind his own business — which happens to be a personal open season on the priests of a fanatical religion. However, he soon becomes a target of the Yakuza, hiring on with some machine-killing mercenaries, on the outs with the ruling family, in bed with a resurrected legendary rebel prophet, and throwing in with surfer revolutionaries, all while being hunted by a younger version of himself. Despite being so darned adorable Kovacs just can’t get an even break, but he does kind of bring it on himself.
Woken Furies is Richard K. Morgan’s third and latest TAKESHI KOVACS novel. Raw-edged violence, graphic sex, and bad attitudes continue to be a mainstay of this series. (Can you say awesome?) Altered Carbon is still my favorite but Woken Furies comes in as a very close second. Without risking a spoiler, I will say the conclusion of Woken Furies is the most satisfying of the three books.
If you’ve read the proceeding TAKESHI KOVACS novels, you already know that the most crucial element of this series is the technology that allows a person’s consciousness to be uploaded into a “cortical stack” which in turn can been implanted into another vacant body or “sleeve.” As long as a person has the means to acquire their next sleeve and as long as their cortical stack remains intact, they will never die. What makes Mr. Morgan’s take on immortality different is that except for the extremely wealthy who can afford to be cloned, there’s no telling who, or sometimes what, someone will be “re-sleeved” as. This makes for intriguing twists because Takeshi changes bodies like we do cars. Sometimes he gets a top-of-the-line, high-performance model. Other times, his sleeve is just something he’s stuck with until he can do better.
Kovacs has got to be one of the angriest and self-loathing characters in fiction. He racks up a body count that rivals CONAN THE BARBARIAN. If that’s not enough incentive to stay off his bad side, Kovacs makes revenge an art form of which he is the master. Just like the Pale Rider of the apocalypse, where Takeshi Kovacs goes, Hell follows.
Harlan’s World is a very interesting setting with its high ocean-to-land ratio and ancient Martian satellites that blast most everything out of the sky. The largest landmass on Harlan’s World is currently uninhabitable due to evolving artificially intelligent machines which mercenaries called deComs make a good, but dangerous, living destroying. Not to mention that the planet’s three moons make for a courageous — or maybe suicidal — surfers’ paradise. Three centuries previous, after a failed revolution, the all-powerful Protectorate granted the rule of the entire planet to the Harlan family, who has a truce of sorts with the rampant criminal underworld. Also a twisted religion — much like the beliefs of al Qaida — has been growing steadily. And this is Takeshi Kovacs’ hometown. Add that to an abusive father and it’s no wonder he’s so screwed up.
While Kovacs’ antisocial behavior, violent tendencies, and authority issues may make him self-destructive and a danger to society, they make one helluva a dark adventure for readers. Kovacs holds a special place in my jaded heart.