Tor, May 2004, 26.95, 474 pp.
Spatterjay, a water planet, has Earth-like gravity with a breathable atmosphere, but the planet is overrun with hostile native life forms. There is nothing remotely similar like them in the known galaxies. Each inhabitant contains a virus that turns them into nearly invincible creatures, but at a cost. Once the virus has you, you must remain native or die. Overwhelmingly most of those few humans who reside here are infected; for those who are not they have a slim chance of survival.
Three off-worlders arrive who will shake the planetary order. Once a resident of Spatterjay, Erlin wants to die. Her only hope to live rests with her former lover superhuman Old Captain Ambel, if she can find him and he gives her the will to live. Deceased police monitor turned cybernetic cop Keech seeks the abusive psychotic murderers who supported the vicious Prader in the great war seven centuries ago. On a top-secret mission, Janer serves as eyes and ears for the Hornet Hive. These three and others including a rogue Prader come together on an island that is home of a horror that should frighten all of them, the Skinner.
As he did with the exciting GRIDLINKED, Neal Asher furbishes an exhilarant action-packed adventure science fiction thriller. The Spatterjay escapades hook the readers as they become acquainted with the various players, species, monsters which occupy this feral orb. This is defiantly not Kirk's Star Trek, as readers will quickly understand the underlying theme of atrocities caused by species virus or sentient. The final confrontation on Skinner's Island will have fans wondering how Neal Asher will top this jaunt into a wild world.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner