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Behemoth: Seppuku (Bk. 2) Hardcover – December 9, 2004

3.1 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews
Book 2 of 3 in the βehemoth Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. In Canadian author Watts's intense, beautifully written conclusion to his Rifters trilogy (after 2004's ßehemoth: ß-Max), Lenie Clarke, the near-psychotic, bio-engineered woman who loosed the deadly organism known as ßehemoth on an already environmentally compromised world, resurfaces from the ocean's depths to discover who's behind continuing efforts to destroy all life on Earth. Together with Lubin, a bio-engineered man who's a highly efficient killer, Clarke discovers an America that has been devastated, not just by ßehemoth but by attacks from heavily fortified, high-tech enclaves whose rulers will stop at nothing in a futile attempt to contain the out-of-control organism. Worse still, the battle is apparently being led by Achilles Desjardins, a murderous psychopath who has slipped the protective psychological programming that once kept his darker impulses under control. Aided by Taka Ouellette, a guilt-ridden, second-rate physician, Clarke and Lubin strive desperately to unravel the secrets of both ßehemoth and Seppuku, its even more dangerous mutation. Like some adrenaline-charged fusion of Clarke's The Deep Range and Gibson's Neuromancer, Watts's trilogy represents a major addition to early 21st-century hard SF.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Driven from Atlantis by the psychological disease a-max, Lenie Clarke searches for redemption on land. She and former spy Lubin hijack traveling medic Taka Oulette's mobile infirmary and discover that someone is shooting germs that the North American defense grid is destroying via containment burns. When Lenie and company get a sample, however, the germs seem to cure aehemoth, and the three start spreading them by courier. Then defense chief Achilles Desjardins shows up and tells them the germs are actually a more virulent strain of aehemoth. This is technically true, but Desjardins has reason to dissemble. Believing him, though, Lenie, Lubin, and Oulette split up to find their couriers, and Lenie finds one apparently in late-stage aehemoth, who then completely recovers. Desjardins isn't the hero Lenie had taken him to be, and still, there is hope for the world, after all. aehemoth: Seppuku lives up to the promise of aehemoth: a-Max [BKL Jl 04] and concludes the series begun in Starfish (1999) and maelstrom (2001)--perhaps, for this finale is nothing if not open-ended. Regina Schroeder
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; 1st edition (January 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765311720
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765311726
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #583,070 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on February 28, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
First off, for those of you haven't already read "Behemoth: B-Max" (at least) you will definitely want to do so before tackling "Behemoth: Seppuku". For reasons that the author explains in the first volume, they constitute one book that was split into two due to pressures in the publishing issue. This novel does not stand alone, and will make no sense without reading the previous volume. Furthermore, there are two other volumes in the series "Starfish" and "Maelstrom" and while each entry stands on its own fairly well, reading the books in order would definitely be the approach I would recommend.

For those of you who are new to the series, here is a brief synopsis that should tell you whether or not these books are for you. Essentially, the story arc is about evolution: human, animal and electronic. By mixing a blend of biology, computer science and chaos theory, author Peter Watts has created a near future Earth where man is simultaneously at the height of his powers and walking the knife's edge of total ecological failure. In an effort to maintain the high standard of Western living mankind has turned to deep sea geothermal power to meet their energy needs. Miles below the ocean, specially engineered humans culled from the dregs of society maintain these power plants. However, what no one could have expected was that they would encounter an organism that would unleash an apocalypse. Part hard science-fiction, part post-apocalyptic, the first two books represent a genuinely original voice in the genre.

For those of you who have been eagerly awaiting "Seppuku" rest assured the ending is eminently satisfying.
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Format: Hardcover
An anaerobic microbe from the deep sea may have delivered the coup de grace to an already struggling mid-21st century world.

It makes more sense to me to review the whole series when it's one story -- so here goes.

I was very surprised to find that the mass market editions of these books are out of print -- even as the final hardcover has only just been released. I can't understand why this series wouldn't get more support, because in my opinion it has everything that successful science fiction needs. Watts incorporates big, shiny ideas -- and the deep-sea biology is a wonderful original touch. The books include a high level of action and tension and, pleasantly unusually for "idea" SF, are strongly character-driven. And the characters are tormented enough for anyone.

There are flaws. At times, the plot is unclear, and while I like the pivotal role played by ignorance and misunderstanding, at times an irritating back-and-forth plot dynamic (Seppuku is a cure, no it isn't, yes it is) appears. Characterization, while overall excellent, at times seems over the top -- it's not entirely clear why *everyone* is so messed up, and the stupid bickering between the Rifters and the corporates in Atlantis left me with sympathy for neither side. I was put off by the apparent indifference of the characters to the impending destruction of Earth's whole ecosystem -- but then, they're selfish and profoundly damaged people, and creating sympathy for them in the reader's mind does not seem to have been Watts' priority. I would have found the aforesaid destruction more effective had it been shown more clearly.

But, despite all these quibbles, I think this series is really good SF, and I highly recommend it.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Didn't read the reviews as I usually do since I only ordered this to finish the series (even though it was limping along after the first one) and that's the last time I'll make that mistake. The snuff-film type scenes are more than enough to make this book horrifying, but even if you skip the Achilles chapters, the thing's a mess.
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Format: Hardcover
Unlike his excellent debut, Starfish and its first sequel, Maelstrom, this conclusion is a disappointing creative misstep on the part of its author. The chief problem with BEHEMOTH: SEPPUKU is that in spite of setting up Lenie Clarke as the heroine of the story, Clarke herself is entirely passive throughout the book, making no real decisions or actions on her own, being led by her sociopathic-but-honourable comrade Ken Lubin. She never achieves any great insight and becomes a bit player in the story.

This book feels as if the author had become so preoccupied with his Hard Science Fiction ruminations that he had forgotten that his characters had been complex, dimensional characters in the previous books, and were now merely cartoonish chess pieces wandering through a thin narrative. There are also the deeply disturbing scenes in which the villain rapes and mutilates a sympathetic supporting character that eventually feel like a gratuitous exercise in writing snuff porn with a Science discussion interweaved in them, especially when that subplot no longer links up with the main story and never reaches any real resolution.

The first two books in this series brilliantly married the Science with the complexity and pain of its damaged characters, but this book has degenerated into a dystopian cartoon that feels too much like a wallow in the [...] of sexual sadism and social pessimism. There have been brilliant dystopian Science Fiction novels in that past that earned their pessimism, like John Brunner's THE SHEEP LOOK UP. Alas, BEHEMOTH: SEPPUKU does not belong in that league.
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