In Philip K. Dick Award–winner Morgan’s latest (Broken Angels, 2004, etc.), Takeshi Kovacs heads home to a pack of bad memories and a battle with himself.
That’s no metaphor. In this far-future world, people who can afford it (or have employers who can afford it) download their personalities into new bodies, or “sleeves.” The only catch is, sometimes they run into copies of themselves. Kovacs used to be an Envoy, member of the merciless, nearly superhuman corps employed by a no-nonsense UN to hold in check a far-flung galaxy of settled planets. Now he’s just trying to make a living, which usually involves a lot of people ending up dead. (What morality Kovacs had as a kid that wasn’t scrubbed out by gang life on the rough-and-tumble streets of Harlan’s World was effectively erased by Envoy training.) Back home, Kovacs must battle against the planet’s repressive, pseudo-Muslim religion; long ago, its fundamentalist misogyny led to the death of his one true love. Before long, he’s tangled with the local ruling class, the First Families. Then he meets Sylvie, who may be the reincarnation of a messianic figure from centuries past. She too is targeted by the First Families, who don’t want the power structure upended again, and the guy they send to dispatch Sylvie may be a copy of Kovacs himself—only younger and not quite as bright.
Hammering cyberpunk action, with an occasional detour for a stirring speech against religious fundamentalism.