[By Nic Lindh on Sunday, 01 May 2005]
Broken Angels is the follow-up to Richard Morgan’s fantastic Altered Carbon [review here] and continues the story of Takeshi Kovacs.
A forceful debut like Altered Carbon is a tough act to follow, and in a sense, Morgan doesn’t try. While Altered Carbon was dark cyber punk channeling classic noir detective stories as it explored the issues of what happens with humanity when your “soul” is detached from your body, Broken Angels is dark science fiction with good measures of warfare thrown in. This doesn’t make it better or worse than Altered Carbon, just a quite different experience.
In Broken Angels Kovacs is a mercenary taking part in a brutal civil war that is tearing a planet apart when he gets involved in a search for an ancient relic that promises to provide vast technological breakthroughs for humanity.
The back story is that humanity has made great advances by using technology left behind by an ancient race that is now mysteriously absent, and great effort is being put into finding more relics and deciphering their use. The novel deals with how the almost cargo-cult like position humanity has found itself in affects the way society functions.
That being said, the novel is packed with ample sex and mayhem, and moves along at a brisk pace.
As long as you don’t expect a copy of Altered Carbon, Broken Angels is a solid read.