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The Soldier is the first novel in the no-holds barred Rise of the Jain series, by bestselling science fiction author Neal Asher.
Her mission is vital. Her failure is unthinkable.
A corner of space swarms with alien technology, a danger to all sentient life. It’s guarded by Orlandine, who must keep it contained – as it could destroy entire civilizations. An alien intelligence shares her vigil. But she doesn’t share everything with Dragon . . .
Orlandine is hatching a plan to obliterate this technology, removing its threat forever. For some will do anything to exploit this ancient weaponry, created by a long-dead race called the Jain. This includes activating a Jain super-soldier, which may breach even Orlandine’s defences.
Meanwhile, humanity and the alien prador empire also watch this sector of space, as neither can allow the other to claim its power. However, things are about to change. The Jain might not be as dead as they seemed and interstellar war is just a heartbeat away.
The action continues in The Warship.
Asher (Infinity Engine) begins his new series set in the Polity universe with this adrenaline-charged work that brings the threat of the civilization-destroying Jain to the fore. Asher demonstrates his skill at creating alien actors with a cast of characters that does not include a single unaltered human. The action in this volume centers on the accretion disk of an exploded star that is littered with dormant Jain tech. The human-AI amalgam Orlandine is sent to protect against any threats from the disk, while the AI-controlled human Polity and the king-dom of the crablike prador, who were once at odds, wait warily to see what happens there. Partnered with Orlandine is Dragon, a moon-size alien artifact with inscrutable motives and a fierce hatred of the Jain. When the Client, the last remnant of her species, is revived, she takes control of one of the many weapons platforms guarding the disk and disappears on her own mission. Once a Jain soldier unit is activated, all these entities and more join in combat, starting with hand-to-pseudopod fights and escalating to titanic battles that rend space. With mind-blowing complexity, characters, and combat, Asher's work continues to combine the best of advanced cybertech and military SF.