Takeshi Kovacs is brought to Earth by wealthy Laurens Bancroft to prove that Bancroft's first mysterious death was murder and not suicide. To do this, Kovacs must be "resleeved" into the body of a disgraced police officer to be on the case. While investigating, he develops a relationship with the police lieutenant who was involved former "occupant" of his body. To solve the crime, he encounters a number of violent characters, including robot killers in settings ranging from virtual paradises to seedy houses of prostitution. The story ends with low level criminals punished, but the wealthy wrongdoers continue their morally corrupt ways.
This report prepared by Dave Hoon
It is the 26th century. Humans have spred themselves far and wide in the galaxy. On Harland's World, Ex- UN Envoy Takeshi Kovacs(like a hyped up Marine shock troups with enhancements) gets a big hole blown through his chest in a shoot-out with police. He wakes up a hundred years and several hundred light-years later on Earth. He has been re-sleeved (given a new body - oh the joys of Digital Human Storage!) and is faced with a choice - help a very old and very powerful citizen find out who had murdered him or be put back into digital storage.
This report prepared by cracked_acta
Del Rey, Mar 2003, 13.95, 384 pp.
In the twenty-fifth century, former military operative of the Envoy Corps Takeshi Kovacs knows death is part of life so he is not shocked to find he was killed on Harlan's World as a century long sentencing for his criminal activity. However, he admits to a bit of surprise that he awakens not long afterward on Earth because wealthy industrialist Laurens Bancroft has hired Takeshi to investigate the murder of Bancroft. The police claim he committed suicide, but Bancroft sees inconsistencies in the official theory that he blew his head off as he questions why he would do so since he always employs an electronic backup and has clones available just in case.
Having no choice, Takeshi investigates what happened by visiting the ratty underbelly and the hedonistic elite while assimilating and adapting to his new skin. However, as the danger mounts, Takeshi's past life surfaces changing the scope of his assignment from determining who would want the mogul dead to personal survival because the threat of death this time could prove permanently real.
Though a superb blending of a who-done-in inside a vividly descriptive far future galaxy, the key to ALTERED CARBON is the ethics issues cleverly interwoven within the story line. The plot is action filled, the earth and technology of the future seem genuine and real, and the lead protagonist feels like a twenty-fifth century Sam Spade not Buck Rogers. However, it is the cerebral underpinnings that propel the audience to think of current questions on cloning, death, and the widening wealth distribution gap that makes Richard K. Morgan's novel a one sitting gem for fans of both genres.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner