Start reading Altered Carbon (Takeshi Kovacs Novels Book 1) on the free Kindle Reading App or on your Kindle in under a minute. Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here.

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Enter a promotion code
or gift card
 
 
 

Try it free

Sample the beginning of this book for free

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Sorry, this item is not available in
Image not available for
Color:
Image not available

To view this video download Flash Player

 

Altered Carbon (Takeshi Kovacs Novels Book 1) [Kindle Edition]

Richard K. Morgan
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (376 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $16.00
Kindle Price: $9.99
You Save: $6.01 (38%)
Sold by: Random House LLC

Free Kindle Reading App Anybody can read Kindle books—even without a Kindle device—with the FREE Kindle app for smartphones, tablets and computers.

To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.

Whispersync for Voice

Switch back and forth between reading the Kindle book and listening to the Audible narration. Add narration for a reduced price of $3.99 after you buy the Kindle book.

Best Books of the Year
Best Books of 2014
Looking for something great to read? Browse our editors' picks for 2014's Best Books of the Year in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.

Book Description

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. . . .


From the Trade Paperback edition.


Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This fast-paced, densely textured, impressive first novel is an intriguing hybrid of William Gibson's Neuromancer and Norman Spinrad's Deus X. In the 25th century, it's difficult to die a final death. Humans are issued a cortical stack, implanted into their bodies, into which consciousness is "digitized" and from which-unless the stack is hopelessly damaged-their consciousness can be downloaded ("resleeved") with its memory intact, into a new body. While the Vatican is trying to make resleeving (at least of Catholics) illegal, centuries-old aristocrat Laurens Bancroft brings Takeshi Kovacs (an Envoy, a specially trained soldier used to being resleeved and trained to soak up clues from new environments) to Earth, where Kovacs is resleeved into a cop's body to investigate Bancroft's first mysterious, stack-damaging death. To solve the case, Kovacs must destroy his former Envoy enemies; outwit Bancroft's seductive, wily wife; dabble in United Nations politics; trust an AI that projects itself in the form of Jimi Hendrix; and deal with his growing physical and emotional attachment to Kristin Ortega, the police lieutenant who used to love the body he's been given. Kovacs rockets from the seediest hellholes on Earth, through virtual reality torture, into several gory firefights, and on to some exotic sexual escapades. Morgan's 25th-century Earth is convincing, while the questions he poses about how much Self is tied to body chemistry and how the rich believe themselves above the law are especially timely.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

In a society in which death has been rendered practically obsolete, suicide and murder take on different significances. After a particularly brutal offing, former UN envoy Takeshi Kovacs finds himself "resleeved"--that is, his consciousness has been put in a new body--and hired as a private investigator by Laurens Bancroft, one of twenty-fifth-century society's old rich in Bay City (formerly San Francisco). Bancroft claims he was murdered, but the police say it was a suicide. After Kovacs gets hit at his hotel within hours of being resleeved, he sees the possibility that Bancroft was, in fact, murdered, and that someone wants to keep it very hush-hush. As he investigates, he uncovers a far-reaching conspiracy with ties to the most unsavory characters in his generally unsavory military and criminal past. This far-future hard-boiled detective story is a lovely virtual-reality romp distinguished by a conspiracy whose strands have the potential to generate several successful sequels, which is just what its publicity promises. Regina Schroeder
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Product Details

  • File Size: 935 KB
  • Print Length: 544 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0345457692
  • Publisher: Del Rey; 1st edition (January 1, 2003)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000FBFMZ2
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #26,278 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
  •  Would you like to give feedback on images?.


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
148 of 153 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Cyber Pulp Debut March 16, 2004
Format:Paperback
Ever since I saw Blade Runner as a kid, I've been in love with the idea of blending science-fiction with crime, and this is a totally compelling mix of the two. Set about 500 years in the future, the story follows Takeshi Kovacs, a former space marine who has been "resleeved" to investigate a suicide on Earth. You see, in the future, one's mind or consciousness can be digitized and stored in "stacks" implanted in the base of your skull. If you commit a crime, your stack is removed and placed in storage for the duration of your sentence (usually decades or centuries), and then you are "resleeved" in a new body. Of course, resleeving costs, and for many people, a new body is like a new car or new house, with monthly payments to keep up lest your body get repossessed...
The flip side of this is that dying is only a temporary thing-unless your stack has been somehow destroyed and there's no backup, then you're subject to "RD" (real death). And if you've got enough money to get into cloning and data storage, one can live a virtually endless and seamless life. It's one of these "Meths" (after Methuselah, just one example of the excellent creation of slang in the book), who has Takeshi remanded and "needlecast" (digitally freighted) from offworld to investigate his alleged suicide in Bay City (aka San Francisco). Takeshi had been in prison, having been captured as a mercenary in a vibrantly kinetic prologue.
The meth, Bancroft, is one of the future elite, weaving elaborate corporate and political webs with others of his kind. Apparently he committed suicide a few weeks ago, but he's convinced it was murder.
Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you?
72 of 80 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliantly realized August 30, 2003
Format:Paperback
This is one of the best new SF novels I've read in the last ten years.

It's enough of a treat that Richard Morgan can _write_. The author bio indicates that he taught English as a second language for some fourteen years; he can teach a thing or two to us native speakers as well. His narrative and his dialogue are clean, crisp, and focused, with that sense of heightened reality you get from really good fiction; there's not a word out of place, and there's none of the mannered artificiality of e.g. Frank Herbert's _Dune_.

But it's even better than good writing. Morgan has applied his craft to a brand of fiction that one of the cover blurbs describes as a cross between hard-core cyberpunk and hard-boiled detective fiction. That's an odd description of the genre and makes it sound newer than it is, but it's true that there hasn't been a lot of SF detective fiction. And Morgan's contribution advances the ball considerably.

If you're at all familiar with the genre, you're already thinking of Larry Niven's ARM stories (and maybe, though less aptly, of Asimov's _The Caves of Steel_ and _The Naked Sun_). Well, Morgan's world does owe something to Niven's, but he's got very much his own spin. His main character (Takeshi Kovacs), though arguably more Mike Hammer than Hiro Protagonist despite the snowcrashy backdrop, will remind longtime fen of the wisecracking tough-guy heroes that have populated SF since at least the days of Keith Laumer (not to mention Harry Harrison's Stainless Steel Rat). But he's not just a carbon copy (even an altered one).
Read more ›
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
34 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding Neo-Sci-Fi Noir May 27, 2003
Format:Paperback
Altered Carbon was an amazing first novel for Richard Morgan. This guy has a future! The book is dark and slick. It defintely has a Blade Runner feel to it along with some Matrix and Maltese Falcon (or even China Town)like mystery thrown in for good measure. The hero (Kovaks)can handle himself in a fight (he is enhanced) but is quite witty at the same time. His one liners cracked me up. The technology of sleeving (down loading one's mind through science into another body) is also fascinating and scary. Overall this is a great summer beach book. If you are looking for a good detective novel set in a futuristic Gibson/Blade Runner like society with lots of action and phylosophy concerning the nature of the human soul get Altered Carbon!
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Technocrime August 16, 2003
Format:Paperback
Morgan writes one of the most stunning new SF books in some time, bringing us a noir thriller in an exotic yet frighteningly familiar future. The tone is firmly set not in the halls of Science Fiction, but in the legacy of 1930's hard-boiled crime fiction, full of plots, counterplots, seamy locales, seamier people, and above all, sex, violence, and death.

This is a world where no one dies for good, where bodies are cloned and personalities held in cortical "stacks" sleeved into them. A rich man "died" by apparent suicide, and when revived calls in a renowned offworld criminal to investigate. What Takeshi Kovacs finds are unhelpful cops, people and gangs out to hurt or kill him, bewildering events, lies everywhere, and dead bodies showing up around every corner. Every ally is a potential enemy, with the exception of the hotel he stays in.

After being chased, shot at, beaten, burned, tortured, and nearly killed many times, he slowly realizes that behind it all is another of the ancient power players of the world, one with whom he has an old history. Only then Kovacs tries to get the upper hand, methodically manipulating events to a final showdown.

The perspective is gritty, hardened, and not a little bitter. Kovacs is an antihero more than willing to take whatever measures he feels are necessary, including killing - permanently. He is a seasoned Envoy, a long-time criminal (though just how is hazy), and has been through many bodies and many worlds. No one is particularly likable, but many are somehow sympathetic. The combination of hard crime thriller with many unique SF elements - Science Fiction, and San Fransisco - works well. The author has done a great job here.

There are deeper ideas floating around. What is death?
Read more ›
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Good sci-fi, but not my cup of tea
While I enjoy the concepts of a wild far-future in Altered Carbon, I had some issues. Maybe it just isn't my kind of tech-noir storytelling, but I felt the book was a little too... Read more
Published 8 days ago by Lars Hansen
4.0 out of 5 stars The Big Sleep meets Accelerando
A fun blend of modern post-human and traditional noir detective storytelling.

The author takes pains to show how radical technologies can alter the fabric of society,... Read more
Published 8 days ago by Daniel Eastland
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Highly recommended.
Published 10 days ago by Alembic7
1.0 out of 5 stars Content ruined by double space between paragraphs.
This may be a very good book but I can't tell because of the horrible formatting.

Unlike the sample, the paragraphs are separated by a double space, a device that tells... Read more
Published 10 days ago by Jim Hoffman
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome story, awesome setting
Awesome story, awesome setting, awesome writing. Loved the book. A bit longer than it needed to be in my opinion though.
Published 22 days ago by ethan golden
4.0 out of 5 stars ... his fantasy trilogy decided to try his scifi series glad I did
not normally into sci-fi but after reading his fantasy trilogy decided to try his scifi series glad I did ,characters were great and loved the storyline will now try the rest of... Read more
Published 27 days ago by jerry hyatt
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Really enjoyed the complex world building in this book and found the issues surrounding "resleeving" compelling.
Published 1 month ago by Leslie R. Williams
4.0 out of 5 stars Anyway--Altered Carbon is a good story set in an interesting universe
Altered Carbon sort of reminds me of Transition by Iain M. Banks.
Though done differently, characters in Transition are able to shift to and inhabit different bodies/personas... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Vadrian Seven
5.0 out of 5 stars Very enjoyable
very enjoyable book, great but subtle worldbuilding. Interesting characters. Throwback to classic sci fi where the story also calls into question the basis of the society it... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Patrick McGuire
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
You owe it to yourself to read this stellar cyber punk novel.
Published 2 months ago by G. Robinson
Search Customer Reviews
Search these reviews only

More About the Author

Richard Morgan was, until his writing career took off, a tutor at Strathclyde University in the English Language Teaching division. He has travelled widely and lived in Spain and Istanbul. He is a fluent Spanish speaker.

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?


Forums

Search Customer Discussions
Search all Amazon discussions

Topic From this Discussion
View of religion in this book.
so barring the technological based immortality, it doesn't look like catholisim has changed all that much: They still seem to be a reactionary force, who superstitious mindset is an impediment to living in a world thats left them far behind. As for our hero talking to a ghost, its not a magical... Read More
Jun 30, 2010 by Matthew Lane |  See all 2 posts
A rich person backing himself up
Um...the rich were backing up frequently in Altered Carbon. That was the point of being rich. You missed that while reading?
Feb 3, 2013 by Sarajean Churchill |  See all 4 posts
Start a new discussion
Topic:
First post:
Prompts for sign-in
 



Look for Similar Items by Category