These are the second and third books of the Takeshi Kovacs series. The first is Altered Carbon which shares its name with the show upon which it is based. In these two books, we follow the exploits of Takeshi Kovacs, ex-U.N. Envoy, as he (mostly) mercenaries his way through the galaxy. He re-sleeves for each adventure and is the gritty, hard-boiled detective/hired gun. If you are unfamiliar with the first book or the show, human consciousness is transferrable from body to body and is stored in you individual “stack”. Because bodies have become, essentially, disposable, they are called sleeves and the only restriction to them is their cost. Since this takes place in a sci-fi future dystopia, economic disparity is rampant so the rich can essentially live forever and it still sucks to be poor.
Broken Angels sees Kovacs deploy as part of a mercenary legion sent to put down a rebellion. Once there, he becomes part of a team that finds ancient alien technology and they want to keep it for themselves so lots of people die.
Woken Furies sees Kovacs back on his home planet, Harlan’s World (I think this is the spelling, I listened to all three so I am not sure). He helps fight another possible insurrection before a younger version of himself arrives and more people die.
This series is the favorite of a very good friend but I found myself a little less interested with each book. I am actually looking forward to what the show does with the material given some of the subtle changes that have already occurred. If you like the murderverse Batman but wished he was in space, not rich, and killed people without remorse, then this is a series for you.
Side note: a line from the original book sticks with me a lot and I’d be remiss if I didn’t share it.
“The police are more impressive by night. First of all, you’ve got the flashing lights casting dramatic color into everyone’s faces, grim expressions steeped alternately in criminal red and smoky blue.”
Everytime I see police lights, I think about this.