"I've heard this book described in a lot of ways (hard sci fi, thriller, cyberpunk), but I think the most accurate one was coined by the author himself, who calls it "future noir." And that's exactly what it is, complete with a wonderfully knotty whodunnit, a classic gumshoe antihero, and a city whose seedy underbelly has pretty much consumed it. All that, and a world where consciousness is digitized and stored at the base of your skull. Imagine the possibilities.
A word of warning: Altered Carbon makes no compromises. Richard Morgan doesn't write tactful fadeouts. It's all there: the blood, the sex, every harsh reality of the world he's created. His writing is gritty, evocative, tactile, and as a result, Altered Carbon is not simply a book you read; it's a book you experience. And once you've experienced it, you'll be glad it's his first of seven...and counting!"
In the twenty-fifth century, humankind has spread throughout the galaxy, monitored by the watchful eye of the U.N. While divisions in race, religion, and class still exist, advances in technology have redefined life itself. Now, assuming one can afford the expensive procedure, a person’s consciousness can be stored in a cortical stack at the base of the brain and easily downloaded into a new body (or “sleeve”) making death nothing more than a minor blip on a screen. Ex-U.N. envoy Takeshi Kovacs has been killed before, but his last death was particularly painful. Dispatched one hundred eighty light-years from home, re-sleeved into a body in Bay City (formerly San Francisco, now with a rusted, dilapidated Golden Gate Bridge), Kovacs is thrown into the dark heart of a shady, far-reaching conspiracy that is vicious even by the standards of a society that treats “existence” as something that can be bought and sold. For Kovacs, the shell that blew a hole in his chest was only the beginning. . . .