Book Review: Woken Furies

Woken Furies is the third (and I believe last) book by Richard Morgan featuring the body-jumping Takeshi Kovacs. Kovacs, back from his misadventures in Broken Angels, has returned to his home planet of Harlan’s World, the mostly ocean-covered world featuring the bizarre Martial “orbitals” that blast anything out of the sky.

In Woken Furies, Kovacs ends up hooking with a bunch of “decom” mercenaries whose job it is to wipe out a region on Harlan’s World that is under the control of robotic drones. The leader of the merc unit he joins turns out to have a bit of a weird glitch in her digital personality–a second persona claiming to be a notorious rebel leader. Kovacs is then swept up in the political and military intrigue of the planet as powerful forces attempt to recover her, even employing a bootleg version of his own personality from his youth in the Envoy corps.

In addition to a solid sci-fi romp, Morgan gets some of his magic back from Altered Carbon by focusing a lot on Kovacs’ personality and the conflict between his hard-earned cynicism and the various possible motivations available to him: revenge, duty, friendship, political revolution, and even love. Religion is thrown in as well, not as a viable option but to contrast the other forces at work in Kovacs and the other people around him. It’s a good reminder that what makes science fiction great isn’t blast guns or cyberware or strange alien ruins, it’s the opportunity to take a human being someplace away from what’s normal for us and see what continues to make him human. Kovacs is a conflicted, emotionally wounded figure for most of the book, and it works out very, very well.

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