counter create hit Inscape - Download Free eBook
Hot Best Seller

Inscape

Availability: Ready to download

Warning: use of this gate will take you outside of the InTech corporate zone. Different community guidelines may apply, and you may be asked to sign a separate end-user license agreement. Do you wish to continue? Tanta has trained all her young life for this. Her very first mission is a code red: to take her team into the unaffiliated zone just outside InTech's borders and Warning: use of this gate will take you outside of the InTech corporate zone. Different community guidelines may apply, and you may be asked to sign a separate end-user license agreement. Do you wish to continue? Tanta has trained all her young life for this. Her very first mission is a code red: to take her team into the unaffiliated zone just outside InTech's borders and retrieve a stolen hard drive. It should have been quick and simple, but a surprise attack kills two of her colleagues and Tanta barely makes it home alive. Determined to prove herself and partnered with a colleague whose past is a mystery even to himself, Tanta's investigation uncovers a sinister conspiracy that makes her question her own loyalties and the motives of everyone she used to trust.


Compare

Warning: use of this gate will take you outside of the InTech corporate zone. Different community guidelines may apply, and you may be asked to sign a separate end-user license agreement. Do you wish to continue? Tanta has trained all her young life for this. Her very first mission is a code red: to take her team into the unaffiliated zone just outside InTech's borders and Warning: use of this gate will take you outside of the InTech corporate zone. Different community guidelines may apply, and you may be asked to sign a separate end-user license agreement. Do you wish to continue? Tanta has trained all her young life for this. Her very first mission is a code red: to take her team into the unaffiliated zone just outside InTech's borders and retrieve a stolen hard drive. It should have been quick and simple, but a surprise attack kills two of her colleagues and Tanta barely makes it home alive. Determined to prove herself and partnered with a colleague whose past is a mystery even to himself, Tanta's investigation uncovers a sinister conspiracy that makes her question her own loyalties and the motives of everyone she used to trust.

30 review for Inscape

  1. 4 out of 5

    James Tivendale

    I received an uncorrected proof copy of Inscape in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Louise Carey and Gollancz. Inscape is a high-quality cyberpunk thriller that's set in a futuristic version of London following an event called the Meltdown. Throughout the novel's pages, we follow Tanta, a young CorpWard, which is essentially a trainee spy for the InTech corporation. It doesn't take long for the action to start and in the very first paragraph, we are made aware that something important I received an uncorrected proof copy of Inscape in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Louise Carey and Gollancz. Inscape is a high-quality cyberpunk thriller that's set in a futuristic version of London following an event called the Meltdown. Throughout the novel's pages, we follow Tanta, a young CorpWard, which is essentially a trainee spy for the InTech corporation. It doesn't take long for the action to start and in the very first paragraph, we are made aware that something important is about to go down. Through her Inscape, Tanta is informed that she is acting as team leader for her first mission - a red assignment - which is the initial sign that something is seriously wrong. The mission is a disaster, a contingency which they couldn't pre-empt causes the deaths of two of Tanta's colleagues, with another being gravely injured. The whole incident raises many more questions than answers, and Tanta, who barely makes it home alive herself, will do all she can to shed light on the mysteries and conspiracies that surround this tragic night. Inscape is a gripping and thought-provoking SF debut and I can't think of anything negative to say about it. Carey's cyberpunk world features a cold war between two rival corporations, mind programming, mind-wiping, and Inscapes which I'd describe as being a bit like an iPhone for your mind. The Inscapes are really intelligent pieces of kit with built-in GPS, silent MindChat, Zoom-like screen share, amongst many other applications, and you can swipe notifications away that you want to ignore. What was enjoyable to read about, but also quite tragic and harrowing, is that nothing Carey presents is that far-fetched. In fact, I was picturing the events happening here as being as little as twenty years in the future, with some of Carey's enhancements and advancements actually being very conceivable ideas. Tanta is Inscape's main character and I had a great time following her. In this first of a trilogy, she discovers a lot about herself and changes drastically from the first to the final page. There is a lot of self-contemplation and reflection by our lead as events cause her to question her past, present, and reality. She is the top CorpWard and she has been raised to be a weapon for InTech. She lives, breathes, and loves her corporation. She is also in a nice and loving long-term relationship with a sex worker. In addition to Tanta, there are two other point of view characters. One is Cole, an expert programmer who has had a great amount of his past erased from his memories. Throughout a large portion of Inscape, he is acting as Tanta's partner as they look into the mystery of what happened on that chaotic night, and even venture undercover together in rival corporation territory. The duo had great chemistry and it was excellent to read about how they get to know each other whilst also getting to know themselves. The other point of view perspective is that of Director Jen Ash. She is Tanta's senior manager and has overlooked her training and upbringing. Tanta will do everything she can to impress her. I'll wrap up my review by saying that Inscape is an impressive SF action thriller. It presents a disquieting and eerie vision of what may come, made even more haunting by the fact many of the leaps Carey's made from our now to her future don't come across as ridiculous or far-fetched at all. Inscape's an intriguing and exciting debut that has a fine finale and works neatly as a standalone. The strengths of the story and the world-building leave lots of potential for the future of the trilogy, and I will be continuing Tanta's dystopian tale.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Olivia

    "Louise Carey's dystopian future is chillingly plausible." - Claire North. That's the blurb on the cover, and Claire North is one of my favourite authors, which is why I wanted to review a copy of Inscape. As always I thank the publisher, Gollancz, for the opportunity. This is Louise Carey's first solo book, and I must say, I hope she'll write more. I wasn't sold at first. Especially the main character, Tanta, rubbed me the wrong way, mostly because it felt like she was incredibly meek and submissi "Louise Carey's dystopian future is chillingly plausible." - Claire North. That's the blurb on the cover, and Claire North is one of my favourite authors, which is why I wanted to review a copy of Inscape. As always I thank the publisher, Gollancz, for the opportunity. This is Louise Carey's first solo book, and I must say, I hope she'll write more. I wasn't sold at first. Especially the main character, Tanta, rubbed me the wrong way, mostly because it felt like she was incredibly meek and submissive. Her reaction to her mentor's praise made me cringe. I didn't think she could carry the story. Turns out, this is all part of the plot. I can't say more without revealing too much, but I enjoyed Tanta's development a lot. Carey digs deep into developmental psychology, and the story is utterly fascinating because of that aspect alone. The book deals with important themes such as loyalty and, more importantly, how to manipulate and abuse said loyalty in a world where corporations and money matter more than anything else. "You care about them, but they don't care about you." But Inscape isn't just about Tatana, it's a page-turning cyberpunk thriller, painting a horrific future. Carey's prose is smooth and reads well. Despite a future dominated by tech, the author uses neither technobabble nor infodumps. The reader's knowledge develops alongside Tatana's, each page revealing another piece of the puzzle. I really liked this book. The pacing is somewhat slower in the first half but quickly picks up, and the story is immersive with excellent action scenes, and I recommend Inscape to fans of Deus Ex and Cyberpunk, and books like Gibson's Neuromancer.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Michael Dodd

    Louise Carey’s debut novel Inscape is a smart, modern sci-fi thriller, a dystopian tale exploring a worryingly realistic future in which corporations dominate every aspect of life, and London is held on a knife-edge between two all-powerful tech behemoths. Tanta is a Corporate Ward of InTech, raised to be utterly loyal to the company which has given her everything, and trained to be the consummate agent. When her first full mission ends in blood and loss, she throws herself into hunting down the Louise Carey’s debut novel Inscape is a smart, modern sci-fi thriller, a dystopian tale exploring a worryingly realistic future in which corporations dominate every aspect of life, and London is held on a knife-edge between two all-powerful tech behemoths. Tanta is a Corporate Ward of InTech, raised to be utterly loyal to the company which has given her everything, and trained to be the consummate agent. When her first full mission ends in blood and loss, she throws herself into hunting down the source of leaked corporate data alongside a partner whose chequered history and weary worldview couldn’t be more different to her own. Tanta is desperate to succeed and prove her value to InTech, but as her investigation proceeds she’s forced to confront some difficult truths about the company and her life up to this point. It’s a pacy, action-packed story that’s full of excitement, thrills and more than a few moments of genuine (in some cases stomach-churning) darkness, but its real strength lies in its characters and the emotional journey that Carey puts them through. Combined with excellent world building and fast-paced plot, it's a gripping, characterful novel which hits all the right notes for a breathless modern SF thriller. As the first volume in a planned trilogy there are a few arcs left deliberately hanging by the end, but the core narrative resolves in a suitably satisfying manner for it to stand on its own as a strong, entertaining novel that’s genuinely difficult to put down. Many thanks to Gollancz and Louise Carey for providing me with an advance copy of Inscape in exchange for my honest review. Read the full review at https://www.trackofwords.com/2021/01/...

  4. 4 out of 5

    Runalong

    Excellent dark sf dystopian thriller with smart idea on how AR can be misused by corporations - fantastic duo of lead characters too! Very refreshing! Full review - https://www.runalongtheshelves.net/bl... Excellent dark sf dystopian thriller with smart idea on how AR can be misused by corporations - fantastic duo of lead characters too! Very refreshing! Full review - https://www.runalongtheshelves.net/bl...

  5. 4 out of 5

    Brian Clegg

    I've never been a huge fan of dystopian novels or movies - life can be miserable enough without making us even more depressed - but there are exceptions, and Louise Carey's Inscape proved to be one of them. Broadly, SF dystopias fall into two categories - bangs and whimpers. In a bang dystopia there is a big, sudden catastrophe, often a nuclear war, a biological disaster (think The Death of Grass) or a touch of the aliens (War of the Worlds, The Day of the Triffids and many more). By contrast, w I've never been a huge fan of dystopian novels or movies - life can be miserable enough without making us even more depressed - but there are exceptions, and Louise Carey's Inscape proved to be one of them. Broadly, SF dystopias fall into two categories - bangs and whimpers. In a bang dystopia there is a big, sudden catastrophe, often a nuclear war, a biological disaster (think The Death of Grass) or a touch of the aliens (War of the Worlds, The Day of the Triffids and many more). By contrast, whimper dystopias involve creeping change, traditionally political (1984), but ever since Pohl and Kornbluth's classic The Space Merchants, more likely to be the fault of corporates, which these days are usually a variation on the theme of today's IT giants. Interestingly, Inscape involves both types of dystopia - so there has been an apocalyptic collapse (not entirely explained), but post-collapse it's the tech corporations that have taken over, with the central character Tanta being under the aegis of InTech - a young agent who is sent into action against the opposing corporation Thoughtfront (I kept reading this as 'Thoughtful', which probably doesn't give the right flavour). The setting gradually reveals itself to be a single, unnamed city divided by a river, which suggested a familiar location. Carey gives us brilliantly driving action (so much so that I hardly noticed the book was written in the present tense, which I usually find jarring to read). However, there's a lot more to the book than the action. Tanta is a ward of the corporation, brought up her entire life to do their bidding. We get some really interesting psychological aspects here in the way that Tanta and her cohort have effectively been programmed for loyalty - and a striking revelation about the technology that supports this. Tanta's near super-powered agent ends up in an odd-couple pairing with Cole, a neuroscientist/genius programmer whose memory has been partially wiped. He's over twice her age, unfit and unsuited to the danger of the fieldwork he's thrown into. This gives the storyline considerably more depth than is usually the case in a novel where the main character is only 17. I was totally immersed in the world that Carey has created here and enjoyed every minute of it. Of course there are plenty of details familiar from other SF novels in terms of the characters having built-in comms and information technology (the 'inscape' of the title), but a combination of well-choreographed action scenes and thoughtful consideration of the impact of the mental manipulation and gradual realisation of what this means made for something more than a typical SF action adventure. I can't wait for the next book, featuring further revelations hinted at when we reach the end of Inscape.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Liz Barnsley

    Inscape is a brilliantly escapist read, imagining a dystopian future where corporations rule and the social hierarchy is purely realistic to the premise. It is a pacy, involving read that I banged through in short order, featuring a heroine who is engaging whilst on a personal journey towards the truth of this world she lives in, with the edgy feel of a modern thriller and plenty of twists and turns in both action and event. Inscape is one of those novels you fall into, spiralling into this world Inscape is a brilliantly escapist read, imagining a dystopian future where corporations rule and the social hierarchy is purely realistic to the premise. It is a pacy, involving read that I banged through in short order, featuring a heroine who is engaging whilst on a personal journey towards the truth of this world she lives in, with the edgy feel of a modern thriller and plenty of twists and turns in both action and event. Inscape is one of those novels you fall into, spiralling into this world and leaving ours behind. I highly recommend it for anyone needing a reading distraction with terrific writing and a chilly, immersive story and setting. Looking forward to more from this author.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Kamila Komisarek

    "You care about them, but they don't care about you." "Inscape" is a solo debut cyberpunk thriller by Louise Carey. Tanta is a promising agent of the InTech corporation, and she's beyond excited when she is dispatched on her first critical mission. But what was supposed to be a simple task of retrieving a stolen hard drive turns out to be a disaster. As one of two survivors, Tanta is thrown deep into the intrigue that is far beyond what she was expecting. The author takes us to the future, wher "You care about them, but they don't care about you." "Inscape" is a solo debut cyberpunk thriller by Louise Carey. Tanta is a promising agent of the InTech corporation, and she's beyond excited when she is dispatched on her first critical mission. But what was supposed to be a simple task of retrieving a stolen hard drive turns out to be a disaster. As one of two survivors, Tanta is thrown deep into the intrigue that is far beyond what she was expecting. The author takes us to the future, where after the catastrophic Meltdown, the world was changed forever. Corporations took over the reins and ruled their designated areas as undisputed governments, competing with one another for influence. Technology is very advanced - the only vehicles are autonomous machines, while stationary computers are archaic relics of the past. Most people have brains rigged with implants allowing them to access technological infrastructure that is supposed to make their life better. It's like having your phone in your head and using all the apps with a single thought. It may sound great and handy, but there are the downsides, of course. The corporations have absolute power and decide how to use their resources – the people - best. They are trained from an early age in the specific areas, to make sure that corp can use their potential to the full. Also, most of the places are monitored, including all private communication. Credit Score determines the value of people; it is calculated on the base of how useful the person is for the corporation. Tanta is as devoted to InTech as one can be. The only right decisions are those that benefit the corporation. When she is partnered with Cole, a sceptical and rational scientist, she embarks on a journey, where all her convictions will be put to the test. Throughout the book, the protagonist discovers truths that should never be made public, shattering her whole perfect world. It was a real pleasure to observe how she changes to adapt to her new circumstances. And from a stiff, unlikeable character, Tanta becomes someone that we are rooting for. I also really like the concept of Cole, as a character, with his memories wiped out. He is a brilliant scientist, but his memory is full of holes, and he must deal with not knowing what happened to him in the past, and how could it affect the current case he's working on. Despite his initial resentment for Tanta, through facing countless dangers, he quickly grows to respect and care for her in his way. "Inscape" is the first book in the series, so not everything was resolved entirely, and some of the questions remained unanswered, but the main intrigue was neatly settled. I feel like the world could be described a bit more elaborately. It seems remarkably interesting, but we only know what we discover following Tanta. We never learn what exactly was the great Meltdown, except it was a catastrophe. The action is based in London (deducing from the Thames being a border between two corporation territories), but we have no idea if there is anything beyond the city, and what other corporation may be in play (we only learn about InTech and ThoughtFront). I'd love to know more about this dystopian world, and I hope for it in continuation. The book poses essential questions on how far humankind could go to improve themselves. Where is the border between enhancing our biological bodies with technology and changing people in mindless slaves with brains rigged with safety switches that could go off if they became no longer useful? "Inscape" is starting on a bit on a slow note and take a while to get your head around its dystopian world, but once the things escalate, it makes a captivating tale. If you enjoy cyberpunk genre with evil corporations and humans augmented by technology, I'm sure you'll enjoy this title.

  8. 5 out of 5

    FantasyBookNerd

    Louise Carey’s stylish and sleek first book is a sci fi thriller set in a post - apocalyptic London. Following a cataclysmic event called The Meltdown, the world has been taken over by Corporations, run by boards and CEO’s. These Corporations are warring factions that dominate the people of the world and the story revolves the cold war between Intech and the breakaway corporation Thoughtfront, who have both taken control of London, dividing it equally on each side of the Thames. The story starts Louise Carey’s stylish and sleek first book is a sci fi thriller set in a post - apocalyptic London. Following a cataclysmic event called The Meltdown, the world has been taken over by Corporations, run by boards and CEO’s. These Corporations are warring factions that dominate the people of the world and the story revolves the cold war between Intech and the breakaway corporation Thoughtfront, who have both taken control of London, dividing it equally on each side of the Thames. The story starts with a mission to retrieve some stolen data files that have been taken to a place that has no allegiance to either of the two Corporations called the ‘Unaffiliated Zone’. And it is here that we meet Tanta. A rookie agent for the Intech Corporation who has been given the task by her mentor ‘Jen’ to retrieve the stolen files. However, the mission is a disaster and the squad is attacked by an enemy agent. After returning to Headquarters, Tanta is debriefed and despite her first field assignment not going to plan, she is given the task of finding out what was on the stolen files. She is quickly promoted from rookie to Agent and later in the story, introduced to her ‘partner’ Cole. A neuro engineer that has been involved in a corporate accident, that whilst leaving him incapable of carrying out his original job, he is still a valuable asset, particularly in relation to this case. As we move through the story, we are introduced to the world of Inscape. From the very beginning of the book, Louise Carey carefully starts introducing to the world and the technology that is predominant in the book. We are shown that the Inscape is a piece of biotech that overlays the world that the protagonists live in with an Augmented Reality. I really like this idea of the Inscape, and Louise Carey does a fantastic job of showing the reader how the it affects the characters and those around them. One of the strengths of the book, is that Louise Carey does not info dump the world on you but unfurls the environment as the story progresses and we are always learning some new nugget of information about the city. She carefully adds layer upon layer of information showing how the environment, monetary systems, political systems and technology impact on those living in this world and it organically feels part of the story rather than one big info dump which you can get in both sci – fi and fantasy novels. Inscape mainly revolves around the two main characters, Tanta and Cole. These are the two that have to hold the weight of the story on their shoulders. So, it is a good job that they are solid, believable and relatable characters. Especially Tanta! When we first meet Tanta, I didn't wholly gel with her. She’s a little too quick to please the commands of her mentor Jen, and the corporation as a whole. It almost seems to border on subservience. We learn that she is a Corpsward, an orphan who has been brought up by Intech and we know that there is something a little off about Tanta (I am not going to elaborate too much as this is part of the plot). As the plot moves on and events come into play. Tanta changes and you warm to her more. Particularly in the second part of the book! This is when Tanta starts to learn and experiences things about those she works with and herself. As she realises the impact of the thing she discovers, she changes, and we get to share that change with her. Cole is a little different. As I said earlier, he has been involved in an accident that has rendered him unfit to complete his original job. In some ways, when they first meet it reminded me of the traditional pairing story in a police procedural. One cop does it strictly by the book and is teamed with the maverick who breaks all the rules. However, the relationship between the two grows throughout the book, and again, Carey cleverly layers this growing relationship and we learn that this friendship doesn’t come out of the blue. As the story progresses we can see that there are reasons for this relationship and that Cole has some latent feelings for Tanta. From the very first chapter, Louise Carey immerses you in the story from the outset. And, even though initially you are a little disorientated with the world of Inscape, trying to work out what this does, why this works the way it does etc.go with the flow and you will find that all is revealed one way or another. It took me a little bit to get used to the book at first as it is written in the present tense. I have always found that I have a bit of a difficulty getting into books that are written in the present tense, for some reason. I don’t know why, but I need a period of adjustment. However, it didn’t take me long and then I was fine, happily immersed in the world of Inscape. Obviously, as a thriller, you need to be able to write good action sequences. And Louise Carey certainly can write good action sequences. The hand to hand combat sequence with the enemy agent for instance is cracking. The visual aesthetics of it really worked and I felt that I was actually watching this on a screen in my head rather than it being a sequence of letters on a page. On the whole, I enjoyed this book. The pace is cracking, the writing immersive, the action sequences excellently visual, and the characters are solid and relatable. http://www.fantasybooknerd.com/2020/1... Apparently, this is the first one of a series. So I cannot wait to see what happens next. I initially received an advanced reading copy for Inscape from Netgalley and the Publishers. My thanks go to them for this opportunity to read this ARC. The book will be released on 21st January 2020

  9. 5 out of 5

    Josie ❃The Bubbly Book Reviewer❃

    Tech, twists and turns. We follow the 2 central characters in this novel as they learn about themselves, each other and the company they work for. Go along for the ride as we explore life in a dystopian future, with technology that I would personally love to use, until one thinks a bit more about the consequences. I really enjoyed following Tanta and didn't want to put down this book. This novel is satisfying as a stand-alone, but has enough loose ends to want me to cheer on the author to write Tech, twists and turns. We follow the 2 central characters in this novel as they learn about themselves, each other and the company they work for. Go along for the ride as we explore life in a dystopian future, with technology that I would personally love to use, until one thinks a bit more about the consequences. I really enjoyed following Tanta and didn't want to put down this book. This novel is satisfying as a stand-alone, but has enough loose ends to want me to cheer on the author to write more. This book has easy to follow characters and plot lines, but you do take some time reading this book, picturing the technology and the world that’s not as we know it. I would recommend this book for sci-fi fans, for those new to sci-fi and for those who just want to pick up a good book! - The blurb from the publisher, as they do it best - 'Louise Carey's dystopian future is chillingly plausible' Claire North Inscape is the dystopian future we would do best to avoid. Warning: use of this gate will take you outside of the InTech corporate zone. Different community guidelines may apply, and you may be asked to sign a separate end-user license agreement. Do you wish to continue? Tanta has trained all her young life for this. Her very first mission is a code red: to take her team into the unaffiliated zone just outside InTech's borders and retrieve a stolen hard drive. It should have been quick and simple, but a surprise attack kills two of her colleagues and Tanta barely makes it home alive. Determined to prove herself and partnered with a colleague whose past is a mystery even to himself, Tanta's investigation uncovers a sinister conspiracy that makes her question her own loyalties and the motives of everyone she used to trust. 'In Tanta's world, warring corporations battle over the ruins of our civilisation. This is cyberpunk rebooted' Stephen Baxter Thank you to NetGalley, Gollancz & Orion for an advance copy. @BubblyBookReviewer

  10. 4 out of 5

    David Brady

    Tech-noir thriller with soul.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Mark

    “We live in strange times..” – how often have you heard that lately? As I type this, many workers are in lockdown here, with occasional excursions allowed for essentials like food and exercise. It is getting to the point where many can’t remember a world outside their own walls, their last journey to work – or indeed their last visit to a city. I was reminded of this whilst reading Inscape – a novel set in some sort of corporation-led future London. It really is set in what feels like a different “We live in strange times..” – how often have you heard that lately? As I type this, many workers are in lockdown here, with occasional excursions allowed for essentials like food and exercise. It is getting to the point where many can’t remember a world outside their own walls, their last journey to work – or indeed their last visit to a city. I was reminded of this whilst reading Inscape – a novel set in some sort of corporation-led future London. It really is set in what feels like a different world – one where people are surrounded by tall buildings of glass and steel, go outside, go to bars and restaurants, even talk to one another in close contact – all those things people vaguely remember doing a year ago. It is a world of cities divided up by corporate gates, each with its own culture and ambience. The two biggest companies here are InTech and Thoughtfront, who are entwined in an ongoing corporate battle for supremacy. In the future it seems that wars are caused less by military actions and more by corporate ones. The world outside the corporate zones, though briefly glimpsed, sound like what I remember East Germany was like before the fall of the Berlin Wall. The businesses however reign supreme, with skyscrapers of glass and ultra-modern architecture towering over all of the city. Think The Shard or the Freedom Tower, but bigger. Our story is very much focused around Tanta, a newly-qualified Corporate Ward. Having being brought up by InTech from a baby in a Ward House - some sort of corporate creche -  she is extremely well-trained and perhaps unsurprisingly supremely loyal to the company – some would say perhaps too loyal. She is deliriously happy when praised for her work, usually by her boss Jennifer Ash, and mortified when she is criticised for doing something below her optimum level. Her first mission seems fairly simple and straightforward – to go outside InTech’s zone and retrieve a stolen hard drive. However, when she takes her team into the field of action two of them are unexpectedly killed. It seems that there is more to this than Tanta expected. Some sort of cybervirus seems to have attacked InTech, probably because of the information on the hard drive Tanta and her team went to collect. Instead of being reprimanded, Tanta is asked to discover who leaked the data. She is then given a new colleague to work with – a middle-aged cyber-expert named Cole who was in some sort of strange accident that has left him with a mysterious past that he cannot remember. Together they both uncover secrets that involve their pasts and lead to them questioning everything they know. Inscape is a great fast-paced read. It’s an intriguing premise, that deals with corporate high-jinks in a place where businesses rule the world. Typing it like that, it’s not too far a stretch of the imagination to see companies like Amazon or Microsoft covertly behaving like what we read here in a world where the stakes for success are so high. (but please note that I’m not saying those companies are doing this!) As this is a future-novel, there’s a certain degree of poetic licence with future technology involved – self-driving vehicles, top-secret adaptations of the brain, the ability to mind-wipe, and so on. And whilst the corporate shenanigans are ramped up to the ninth in some sort of Big Brother world where surveillance is normal, loyalty is paramount and you can be killed for not doing your job properly, there are some aspects that are pleasant and likeable. The main characters in particular are nicely paired, with Cole becoming a father-figure to Tanta, which is needed when some home truths are revealed to her. Tanta herself is intriguing as some sort of corporate super-soldier who eventually questions everything.   Although Louise has co-authored two books already for Gollancz, this is her first solo effort. As the Acknowledgements at the end of the book show, it’s been in the making for nearly five years, and it shows. It’s a good solid page turner, which sets off at a fast pace, creates an intriguing world (even if it’s not one I’d personally like to live in) and some characters who are worthy of your attention. The end clearly leaves room for a sequel, which would not be unread by me. Though we live in strange times, Inscape shows that they could be stranger.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Susanna

    Inscape is the debut (solo) novel of Louise Carey, and it’s a great one; interesting, immersive and mature. I received an early review copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The book comes out on January 21st, 2021. The name of the book and the description gave me the notion that Inscape would be some sort of virtual reality scape into which special agents entered their minds at their own risk while their bodies were suspended elsewhere, like in Matrix. That’s not the case at all. Inscape is the debut (solo) novel of Louise Carey, and it’s a great one; interesting, immersive and mature. I received an early review copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The book comes out on January 21st, 2021. The name of the book and the description gave me the notion that Inscape would be some sort of virtual reality scape into which special agents entered their minds at their own risk while their bodies were suspended elsewhere, like in Matrix. That’s not the case at all. The book is set in future London in a world that has suffered a catastrophic event called Meltdown, though what it was and when it was isn’t explained. It’s not really important anyway. The current world is. London is divided into two zones on both sides of the Thames, which is only a dried-up riverbed turned minefield. Each side is ruled by a major technical corporation that have hostile relationship with the other, InTech in the north and Thoughtfront in the south. Everything and everyone is in the service of these corporations. Inscape is an AR system installed directly in people’s brains and everyone on InTech side is augmented with it; the other side has their own system. Not only does it enhance people’s abilities—or supress them in case of mindless slaves—it also spies the residents. But it’s all perfectly normal as far as Tanta, the main character, is concerned. Tanta is a CorpWard, an orphan who has been raised by InTech to be of service for the corporation. She is happy to serve, lives to please her superiors and fears their upset. She has been trained as an agent whose job is to prevent the other corporation from operating on her side of the river. She is absolutely loyal to her handler Jen, and will do anything she tells her. Her very first assignment doesn’t go as planned though, which causes her great deal of distress. But she doesn’t need to worry; she’s being given another chance: find out what has been leaked from InTech and by whom. She’s assigned a partner, Cole, a fifty-something neuroscientist with no field experience whatsoever and who suffers from a grave memory loss thanks to an accident with a device that wipes off peoples’ memories. The first half of the book is a bit slow, and took me several days to read. We follow Tanta in her new role as an agent investigating the leak. The investigation seems somewhat random and produces results that don’t seem to lead anywhere. But the focus is, for the reader, elsewhere. We learn, unlike Tanta, that she has been carefully conditioned to be a perfect tool for the corporation. She is physically incapable of disobeying orders or being disloyal. She doesn’t understand other peoples’ reactions to her when they fear or pity her. And she doesn’t understand how anyone could betray the corporation by deliberately leaking its secrets. The pace picks up on the second half. Something happens to break Tanta’s conditioning, after which she has to question who she is and why she is doing what she is. It’s not easy for her, but the process is described well. Nonetheless, she’s determined to finish the assignment given to her. Only, the truth turns out to be even more mind-shattering, not just for her but for her partner Cole as well. Tanta is a great character and the reader follows her path from a mindless tool to independent thinker with interest. Cole, with his memory loss and timidness, is interesting too, and the two form an unlikely friendship. The characters without their own point of view, like Tanta’s girlfriend Reet, aren’t quite as well-rounded, but they serve a role in Tanta’s change too. The world with its technological wonders is kept simple and no explanations are given to why it has turned the way it is. The reader plunges right in and is taken for a ride. The writing is competent and the pacing is good. And if events fold out a bit too neatly for Tanta and Cole, every plan and operation executed as intended without surprises, it has enough twists and turns that the reader can overlook it. Besides, I like books where nothing bad (relatively speaking) happens to the characters. The book ends with a teaser for the next book and I’m definitely interested in reading that one too.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Paul

    The protagonist in the novel is a newly promoted InTech agent called Tanta. She has spent her life in the care of this huge, faceless conglomerate. When we first meet her, Tanta is the blueprint for the perfect employee. As far as she is concerned blind obedience to her bosses is all that matters. From Tanta’s perspective praise makes her feel worthy while criticism cuts deep. It’s simple, InTech is her entire world. Everything the company does must be for a good reason. I enjoyed the evolution The protagonist in the novel is a newly promoted InTech agent called Tanta. She has spent her life in the care of this huge, faceless conglomerate. When we first meet her, Tanta is the blueprint for the perfect employee. As far as she is concerned blind obedience to her bosses is all that matters. From Tanta’s perspective praise makes her feel worthy while criticism cuts deep. It’s simple, InTech is her entire world. Everything the company does must be for a good reason. I enjoyed the evolution of Tanta. By the end of the novel, she has come to realise that perhaps life isn’t quite as black and white as she thought. Most of us live in the myriad shades of grey that exist in between. That slow revelation has a profound effect that fits her actions perfectly. Tanta is partnered with an expert neuro-engineer, called Cole, to investigate a case of industrial espionage. Highly classified documents have been stolen and all evidence points towards InTech’s main rival. Unfortunately for Tanta, Cole isn’t exactly what you would call a field operative. He surly, often stubborn and snarky with it. There is also a subtle air of mystery the surrounds the man. Cole has been assigned to Tanta after losing a large chunk of his memory in a mindwipe accident. Tanta knows she needs Cole’s help; he is undeniably brilliant in his realm of expertise. The only question is can he be trusted? When their investigation leads Tanta and Cole beyond the boundaries of InTech the plot picks up pace. I enjoyed the nods to old school spy movies. It felt like the partners were entering the near future equivalent of East Germany in the 1950s. Everyone they meet is a potential enemy and seem to have ulterior motives. This gives the author plenty of opportunities to ramp up the tension. The dynamic between the two main characters is one of the book’s many highlights. Cole is more than a little jaded and his attitude is a nice counter to Tanta’s by the book approach. Carey’s writing perfectly captures that sense of initial distrust that morphs into a strong bond as Tanta and Cole come to rely on one another. When events escalate you need someone you can trust at your back. Tanta comes to realise Cole may be the only person that fits into that category. As the pieces of the puzzle start slotting together, Tanta and Cole realise they are in a race against time. Each new chapter manages to increase the sense of urgency. The whole novel has a cinematic quality that makes the action scenes really sing. I’d love to see this on the big screen. There are moments that I’m sure would take my breath away. Inscape ends with some nice, juicy revelations. There is also a short epilogue hinting that this isn’t the last we’ve seen of these characters. Sounds good to me, I’d happily read more of their adventures. Louise Carey’s confident debut is thoroughly entertaining. Lying somewhere between Logan’s Run, The Ipcress File and Ghost in the Shell there is plenty of action and intrigue to enjoy. I’ve read the suggestion in the past that ultimately corporations will replace governments*. Inscape’s taut narrative takes that premise and runs with it. It’s never explicitly said how the world has ended up in the situation that they are in. An ominous term called “The Meltdown” pops up a couple of times but only ever in passing. I hope future novels will delve into this backstory. I’m dying to find out more, I do so enjoy a good techno-pocalypse. What triggered the event? Who is responsible? How has the Meltdown changed other societies across the rest of the world? So many wonderful questions! *I would not be at all surprised if this does eventually happen.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Fabienne Schwizer

    This is a well-written and gripping thriller, drawing you into the world of Inscape from the first page. I am usually much more of a fantasy reader than a science fiction one, but this hit the sweet spot for my current obsession with fast-paced mysteries. The story starts with Tanta’s mission going very very wrong – but instead of being reprimanded, she ends up promoted. Tanta is a wonderful main character, flawed, young and inexperienced, but determined and ambitious. Half the time I wanted to This is a well-written and gripping thriller, drawing you into the world of Inscape from the first page. I am usually much more of a fantasy reader than a science fiction one, but this hit the sweet spot for my current obsession with fast-paced mysteries. The story starts with Tanta’s mission going very very wrong – but instead of being reprimanded, she ends up promoted. Tanta is a wonderful main character, flawed, young and inexperienced, but determined and ambitious. Half the time I wanted to hug her, the rest of the time punch her. But most importantly, I was never ambivalent towards her. There is a sapphic relationship woven throughout the story. But Inscape isn’t a romantic book or one that focuses on a romantic subplot. It is merely there. This is a thriller first and foremost, with a strong focus on the resolution of the mystery. Cole, the second main character, doesn’t remember much. He is smart, but he has a massive gap in his memories. Together with Tanta, he sets out to figure out why his memory was wiped, who they are, and what is going on around them. The story addresses themes of belonging, human programming and surveillance. It is a great escapist book, and if you’re looking to leave this messed up world for a few hours, it’s a good choice to pick up Inscape.

  15. 4 out of 5

    unevendays

    I had previously read and very much enjoyed The City of Steel and Silk and The House of War and Witness, co-written by Louise Carey, so when a solo novel popped up for preorder I didn't look too hard at it - just hit the pre-order button. It wasn't at all what I was expecting - Inscape is a smart, near future thriller set after a post-apocalyptic event that have left London controlled by corporations, with their own territories and law enforcement. Tanta is a ward of InTech, one of these corpora I had previously read and very much enjoyed The City of Steel and Silk and The House of War and Witness, co-written by Louise Carey, so when a solo novel popped up for preorder I didn't look too hard at it - just hit the pre-order button. It wasn't at all what I was expecting - Inscape is a smart, near future thriller set after a post-apocalyptic event that have left London controlled by corporations, with their own territories and law enforcement. Tanta is a ward of InTech, one of these corporations, and she lives to provide value to her corp as an Agent of their enforcement agency, until a mission takes her into hostile territory. She's assigned a partner, an older, brilliant engineer called Cole who has had an accident with a memory wipe machine and doesn't remember a lot of his recent past. The two of them together are the only people who can solve this particular problem. Tanta and Cole are both engaging characters, and Cole's more cynical outlook plays well with Tanta's internalisation of the corporation values. Definitely keen to pick up the next book in this series to find out what happens next!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Sean Graham

    When I began reading this novel I wasn't sure it was for me - as this is a sci-fi future novel you have to be ready for some grand ideas right out of the box. After the first two chapters though, something clicked and I found myself rushing through and devouring the pages! The story is really good, with the idea of corporations ruling a city through AR technology and how the hierarchy of the residents evolved. Characters were well fleshed out, however, I felt at the beginning there was an inform When I began reading this novel I wasn't sure it was for me - as this is a sci-fi future novel you have to be ready for some grand ideas right out of the box. After the first two chapters though, something clicked and I found myself rushing through and devouring the pages! The story is really good, with the idea of corporations ruling a city through AR technology and how the hierarchy of the residents evolved. Characters were well fleshed out, however, I felt at the beginning there was an information dump with the amount of characters introduced - maybe a little more space with this would have helped when beginning so keep this in mind when starting the novel. All in all, if you're looking for a dystopian future tech novel with some elements of a Bourne Identity spy story then you can't go wrong.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Naomi Harrison

    I thought the writing was excellent, but the world didn't really grip me, and I felt there were a lot of gaps in the narrative that would have added the context I wanted. There is no mention of how these corporations took hold, or where this city fits within the grand scheme of the world - it just felt a bit detached. Maybe this is something that will be rectified later in the series, but it's not teased enough to make me want to read on. The techie jargon was a bit much in some places too. The o I thought the writing was excellent, but the world didn't really grip me, and I felt there were a lot of gaps in the narrative that would have added the context I wanted. There is no mention of how these corporations took hold, or where this city fits within the grand scheme of the world - it just felt a bit detached. Maybe this is something that will be rectified later in the series, but it's not teased enough to make me want to read on. The techie jargon was a bit much in some places too. The only reason I might pick up the series again is to further explore the ramifications of Tanta's revelation, because I think the exploration of emotional manipulation and the effects it has if taken too far is one of the novel's strengths. It was an okay read, but not one I'd go out of my way to recommend to others.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Benjamin

    I enjoyed this book and will look for the next book in the series my main comment is there is too much talk of the ins and outs of the computer chips on the characters heads on the first half of the book and not enough action I love a dystopian world story line and this one is set in post meltdown london where multiple large companies rule in place of government and where most citizens opt to have computer interfaces inserted into their bodies to allow communication amongst other things . It was g I enjoyed this book and will look for the next book in the series my main comment is there is too much talk of the ins and outs of the computer chips on the characters heads on the first half of the book and not enough action I love a dystopian world story line and this one is set in post meltdown london where multiple large companies rule in place of government and where most citizens opt to have computer interfaces inserted into their bodies to allow communication amongst other things . It was great to have a book of this like where the love story for the main youth characters was a lesbian relationship .I also enjoyed the friendship between the young girl main character and a man of her fathers age

  19. 4 out of 5

    D.A. Adam Smith

    I received a copy of this book from Gollancz in return for a review; I’d like to thank them for sending it over and note that it in no way affected my honest review. Inscape is an exciting, horrifyingly possible scifi-thriller that dives deep into future technology and the ramifications of its advancement, packaged in a high-octane and action-packed novel that’d be fit for the big screen; it’s a cyberpunk mash-up of undercover agents, stolen files, pay-walled reality and very likely technology. Th I received a copy of this book from Gollancz in return for a review; I’d like to thank them for sending it over and note that it in no way affected my honest review. Inscape is an exciting, horrifyingly possible scifi-thriller that dives deep into future technology and the ramifications of its advancement, packaged in a high-octane and action-packed novel that’d be fit for the big screen; it’s a cyberpunk mash-up of undercover agents, stolen files, pay-walled reality and very likely technology. The plot follows Tanta, a CorpWard for InTech, and the search for top-secret stolen data, which starts with a drop-point and a mysterious, seemingly super-advanced agent that mows down her unit and leaves them utterly defeated. This search then takes her deep behidn enemy lines, into the other half of the city controlled by Thoughtfront – InTech’s rival. Parts of this really intrigued me, what with the fact that it seems most humans are plugged into MbOS which are wired directly into the brain – forget smartphones, this stuff is overlaid into your consciousness. The problems with such tech are cleverly explored with computer viruses which now attack the inside of the user’s brain. Hand-to-hand fights are controlled by pointers from the overlay, and it all goes wrong when there’s EMPs afoot. We follow both Tanta, and Cole, her genius partner who has lost a lot of memory due to an accident with tech that wipes them; they balance each other out in voice and action. Due to her training, Tanta comes off as a bit bland, and robotic … at least where InTech is concerned. She’s the perfect enhanced soldier: loyal to a fault, powerful, dangerous, and skilled. I don’t mean to say it’s bland by writing, but what I mean is that Carey has quite nicely portrayed her training and history in the way that she speaks, acts and is unquestioning in what she must do, up to a point. All for InTech. She’s as loyal as a machine. Whereas Cole has a little bit more humanity in him. He’s a genius hacker and programmer but he’s got a lot of heart and won’t see his comrades get hurt. At times, because of the choice of tense and POV I felt a little far away from the characters and as such I didn’t get to make the connection with them that I usually would. Which is just down to personal taste and in no way reflects the clear, concise, and intelligent prose that is on offer here. There’s snippets of the future tense which were jarring to me and took me out of the swing of things. And the way characters interacted were not necessarily natural in my opinion, but I suppose that’s as natural as they could be since everyone interacts through technology hard-wired into their brains and no doubt has some sway on their cognition. Overall, it’s a nice debut and an exciting read but I didn’t entirely gel with the characters and was unable to immerse myself in the plot. Though, what gripped me and pulled me through was the original tech and the highly believable science behind it.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Marina

    It took some time to get into the book, but once I got the hang of it, I was hooked and wanted to see how everything plays out. Especially the world building and technologies were intriguing and made it an enjoyable read!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Gray Williams

    This was a perfect, razor-sharp slice of cyberpunk action. An explosive beginning, a devastating finale and a great adventure in between, I couldn't stop turning the pages. Can't wait to see what Louise does next. This was a perfect, razor-sharp slice of cyberpunk action. An explosive beginning, a devastating finale and a great adventure in between, I couldn't stop turning the pages. Can't wait to see what Louise does next.

  22. 5 out of 5

    RG

    Very good cyberpunk thriller..it reminded me of ghost in shell in a way. Loved the interaction between the two main characters

  23. 4 out of 5

    Blaž Jelenec

  24. 4 out of 5

    Phil

  25. 5 out of 5

    Stuart

  26. 5 out of 5

    Rachel George

  27. 5 out of 5

    MR N HOFGREN

  28. 5 out of 5

    Matthew

  29. 5 out of 5

    Alan Coholan

  30. 4 out of 5

    Paul Natton

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.