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The Skinner

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The Skinner

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Author: Neal Asher
Publisher: Tor, 2005
Macmillan UK, 2002
Series: Spatterjay Series: Book 1
Book Type: Novel
Genre: Science-Fiction
Sub-Genre Tags: Hard SF
Mutants
Weird (SF)
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Synopsis

To the Line planet Spatterjay come three travellers: Janer brings the eyes of a hornet Hive mind, and an agenda he would rather not own; Erlin comes to find Ambel – the ancient sea captain who can teach her to live; and Sable Keech is a man with a vendetta he will not give up, though he has been dead for seven hundred years.

The world is mostly ocean, where all but a few visitors from the Human Polity remain safely in the island Dome. Outside, the native hoopers risk the voracious appetite of the planet’s fauna in their struggle for life and life eternal. Somewhere out there is Spatterjay Hoop himself, and monitor Keech will not rest until he can bring this legendary renegade to justice – for crimes so hideous Keech can never forget.

Pursuing rumour, Keech learns that Hoop has become something monstrous: his body roaming free on an island wilderness, whilst his living head is confined in a box on board one of the old captain's ships. Janer, the eternal tourist, is bewildered by this place where sails speak and the people just will not die, but his bewilderment turns to anger when he learns the Hive mind’s intentions. Erlin thinks she has all the time she will ever need to find the answers she requires, and could not be more wrong. And so these three travel and search, not knowing that one of the brutal Prador is about to pay a surreptitious visit, intent on exterminating witnesses to wartime atrocities, nor do they know how terrible is the price of immortality on Spatterjay.

As the fortunes of these travellers unwittingly converge, a major hell is about to erupt in this chaotic waterscape ... where minor hell is already a remorseless fact of everyday life – and death.


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