by Richard K. Morgan
Back on his home planet Harlan’s World, Takeshi Kovacs faces new adversaries: the priests of the fundamentalist, misogynistic Knights of the New Revolution, the Yakuza, and karikuri, nanotechnology gone rogue. He joins forces with a deCom crew led by a command-head who thinks she is the three-centuries old revolutionary Quellcrist Falconer. Most dangerous of all, someone has sleeved a younger version of Kovacs to hunt down his older counterpart and inflict real death.
Morgan excels at world building. The cities and neighborhoods in Woken Furies are well-developed with rich details, and in the third Kovacs book, it is fitting to travel to his home world. He also is a master of including small details that become relevant as the plot progresses. (It brings to mind Chekhov’s warning, “”If in the first act you have hung a pistol on the wall, then in the following one it should be fired. Otherwise don’t put it there.”) The narrative is surprising and has numerous twists and turns with an ultimately satisfying conclusion.
While the book is primarily an adventure, it also asks questions about identity when a person can exist for centuries through resleeving in new bodies and also about what is real when it is possible to exist in a virtual landscape.
In Woken Furies, much of motivation hinges on one of Kovacs’ past relationships, but the underlying meaning of the relationship was not developed enough to make the motivation believable. Additionally, Kovacs is fickle with his loyalty, and it doesn’t always make sense why he chooses one character over another. It’s a small quibble, but one of my reading pet peeves: Morgan tends frequently to use similies that do less to describe than to take me out of the narrative (e.g., “like a used wipe in a beach bonfire” or “like wrappings of bloodstained gauze”).
Like the second Kovacs book, the plot in Woken Furies is self-contained, and besides the terminology (e.g., sleeves, needlecast) and description of the Martians who first colonized the universe, reading the first two entries in the series isn’t necessary. It’s a fitting conclusion to the story and will definitely appeal to Takeshi Kovacs fans.