|"Hive Monkey" by Gareth L. Powell. Intelligent, effortlessly cool sci fi.|
A whirlwind mix of virtual reality gaming, primates, hot ninja chicks and kick-ass action, it was just my kind of novel.
"Hive Monkey" is the sequel, and (spoilers ahead) now Ack Ack Macaque is a real and tangible being rather than a computer game character, life doesn't really get any easier for our banana dacquiri-swilling antihero.
The world, it seems, is caught up in change - and not for the better. In hiding aboard a nuclear powered Zeppelin, we find Ack Ack kicking his heels up, craving action.
The saying "be careful what you wish for" rings in his ears as K8, kick ass sidekick and friend is kidnapped, for indoctrination into an insidious organisation known as The Gestalt. Ack Ack's only hope is to break K8 out, with the help of some old friends and more than a goodly dose of gung-ho, Spitfire fuel and machine gun bullets.
Reading "Hive Monkey" reminded me that Powell's style is to lull you into a false sense of security. At first, the novel feels like a slightly slower paced adventure than Ack Ack Macaque - But before long your arse is sliding down a razor-blade of tension, action and inventive characterisation as Ack Ack's "shoot first, ask questions later, then shoot again" approach begins to bear fruit.
Again without spoiling too much, there's the distinct feeling that a third book in the story arc (or indeed a fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh) certainly won't go amiss. I stick to my machine guns on this though, if they ever cast a movie without Ron Perlman as Ack Ack, I'll be beside myself with grief.
Third book soon please Gareth!