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The Eternal Prison by Jeff Somers (2010-02-04)

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Review Text

  • By Michael and Julie on January 14, 2017

    In the third of Jeff Somer's Avery Cates novels, our protagonist ends up in jail. Since he's a low-rent assassin with a high profile and no living friends, this is not terribly surprising. Unfortunately for Cates, the life expectancy of prisoners in the institution he's been sent to is counted in weeks, not years. Cates eventually learns why prisoners are disappearing with depressing regularity, and the word "eternal" in the book's title is a strong hint. Being a dedicated survivor, Cates teams up with others to plan a breakout, but doesn't learn until it's too late just who he's fallen in with.The Avery Cates novels deliver such relentless punishment and cynicism that it's hard to say why it's so difficult to kick the Avery Cates habit. Cates' world is sliding downhill fast, the human race is dying off, and the war of the End Times isn't between the forces of Good and Evil but between Bureaucrats with Guns and the Crazy Dictator and his thugs. Everybody else, including criminals like Cates, are just collateral damage. Still, there's something addictive in long-suffering Cates warped sense of honor and his sardonic views of the corrupt and powerful that make the death of humanity (at least partly) worth experiencing.The Eternal Prison, for what it's worth, is probably the second best of the first four novels (after the Electric Church; I haven't gotten to Final Solution yet). I can't exactly recommend it, but if you survived the Digital Plague, you might as well give it a go.

  • By Janice on November 27, 2012

    My brother purchased the Electric Church when Borders was closing down here in Indianapolis and he read it and then went out and purchased the other books from Amazon. I picked up this book and was hooked on Avery Cates.I enjoyed this series enough to purchase it on my Kindle on my way to New York so I could read something on a business trip.The worlds of Avery Cate are a desolate distopia future where the system has been over run with corrupt cops and a new mysterious church. Avery is just a working stiff of a criminal. And it shows through all these series that Avery is very much a normal Joe. The amount of damage Avery takes in each book is both humorous and refreshing after seeing so many heroes go through unscathed.The pacing of this book is a little off setting compared to the others but it's all clear once you get halfway through the book. Though to be honest I would have liked if the new character who was introduced had continued on in the series.I recommend this series and book to anyone who likes Shadowrun, Cyberpunk or Escape from New York style stories.

  • By Matthew Castelli on October 29, 2009

    The titular phrase of this review leaves the reader with a sense of foreboding, yet curiosity, about what is yet to come for Avery Cates, and for the world (and society) as a whole.There are enough reviews about the plot that I won't repeat them here but rather add my thoughts about Avery Cates, and Jeff Somers, and the series as a whole.Jeff Somers is not afraid to damage his character. Avery Cates, the anti-hero human, has been through his own personal hell and changes as a result. His wounds from one story aren't "magically healed" in the next. The start of each installment isn't with Somers hitting "the big reset button" for his characters but rather builds on what's transpired up to that point, while at the same time revealing layers of complexity for his characters, and not just Cates. Some of the recurring characters, like Marko (the techie) have some added depth in the latest installment (The Eternal Prison). Even some of the "bad" guys, e.g., Dick Marin, show to have some depth and elements of humanity (such as it is) as well.The Digital Plague was set up as the a transition between The Electric Church and The Eternal Prison and as one other reviewer commented, there was a lot of exposition. But after reading The Eternal Prison it can be seen that exposition was necessary. Jeff Somers has shown no fear in destroying the world he built in The Electric Church. The Digital Plague served as first warning that the status quo will be shredded in this new world, and one can almost picture Jeff Somers doing so with a slight knowing smirk on his face - and his protagonist, the aforementioned anti-hero Avery Cates is all the better for it. Avery Cates has a tendency to do things "the hard way" and Jeff Somers sits back and rather than dictate the story, he lets the characters dictate the story.Stephen King wrote in his book "On Writing" to (paraphrasing here) "write what you know" and "build the story, add your characters, and see how they respond to your world". Jeff Somers has done both quite well and he has demonstrated he is not afraid to take chances and we have what could have been just a good story become a great story as a result.


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