This review was originally written in July of 2016.
War Factory by Neal Asher took what he started in Dark Intelligence and amplified essentially every captivating element. This series within the Polity universe (the fictional future in which most of his novels take place) is actually becoming my favorite of his work, and I never expected anything to outshine the fantastic and far reaching story that started in Gridlinked.
Numerous, at first seemingly loosely related, narratives weave together in a puzzle being fabricated and assembled by Penny Royal–a rogue AI with nearly godlike abilities and the associated detachment from conceptions of right and wrong–and when those stories come together it is in as intense a climax as anything else Asher has written, but on a more intimate scale than a lot of the previous novels. It’s interesting how the relatively small scale events of this series can potentially have far more widespread and profound consequences than the massive events of many of his other novels, but it is definitely intriguing to watch it play out on the pages.
Asher happens to be one of those authors who simply becomes better as he continues writing, and I personally hope he never stops. The future that he envisions in these novels that take place within or ancillary to the Polity universe is a future I would be happy to witness for myself. Thankfully, the quality of the author’s writing is such that I am able to experience it in a more visceral way than I would with anyone else at the helm, I suspect.