Book: Market Forces

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Book:

Market Forces

Author: Richard K. Morgan
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Genres:
Publisher: Ballantine Books

From the award-winning author of Altered Carbon and Broken Angels–a turbocharged new thriller set in a world where killers are stars, media is mass entertainment, and freedom is a dangerous proposition…

A coup in Cambodia. Guns to Guatemala. For the men and women of Shorn Associates, opportunity is calling. In the superheated global village of the near future, big money is made by finding the right little war and supporting one side against the other—in exchange for a share of the spoils. To succeed, Shorn uses a new kind of corporate gladiator: sharp-suited, hard-driving gunslingers who operate armored vehicles and follow a Samurai code. And Chris Faulkner is just the man for the job.

He fought his way out of London’s zone of destitution. And his kills are making him famous. But unlike his best friend and competitor at Shorn, Faulkner has a side that outsiders cannot see: the side his wife is trying to salvage, that another woman—a porn star turned TV news reporter—is trying to exploit. Steeped in blood, eyed by common criminals looking for a shot at fame, Faulkner is living on borrowed time. Until he’s given one last shot at getting out alive…

Reviews

Amazon.com

With his third novel Market Forces, Richard Morgan moves from the far-future SF violence of Altered Carbon and Broken Angels to almost equally extreme corporate violence in the mid-21st century. The hero, or antihero, Chris Faulkner is a rising executive in a Britain where the gap between suits and the underclass is huger than ever. Both promotion and competitive tendering in the cut-throat world of Conflict Investment (arms dealing) are settled by duels to the death: “Road-raging is here to stay.”

The action happens in the nearly derelict arena of our motorway system—an executive playground—since the lower orders can no longer afford petrol. Individual drivers or teams manoeuvre to run the opposition permanently off the road in a Mad Max frenzy, no mercy asked or given. At first, Faulkner has a black mark for taking a defeated opponent to hospital instead of finishing the kill. He won’t make that mistake again. After all, the latest management status symbol is the exclusive Nemesis-10 handgun.

International business decisions are tough (“Regime change is our worst-case scenario”), and there’s no longer any safe distance between boardroom decisions and blood on the streets. As a big deal with revolutionary South American factions goes badly wrong, both careers and lives are on the line. This deadly game still has some rules of conduct, but getting to the top means pushing the envelope. Faulkner pushes hard enough to make you wince.

With terminal stress on his marriage, his battered conscience, and his few friendships, our man seems doomed to become either a monster or a mutilated corpse. Company backstabbing intensifies; the stakes are higher with each new challenge. One chancy way out of the rat race is offered, but maybe it’s possible to get addicted to living on the edge?

An ultra-black, ultra-violent and intensely depressing vision of 2049’s amoral Masters of the World. Compulsive reading for the un-squeamish; you can almost hear Michael Moore saying “I told you so”. —David Langford

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