Review: Cowboy Angels by Paul McAuley

Cowboy Angels by Paul McAuley
Cowboy Angels by Paul McAuley

Cowboy Angels
Paul McAuley (blog, twitter)
Pyr, 2011

I started this sort of randomly.  I mean, I certainly intended to read it next, but I was on my way to the bathroom (tmi?) and saw it sitting there on my desk and just sort of brought it along.  Then we had more than a foot of snow dumped on us so I kept reading.  I don’t know what it is about the novel that prompted me to keep reading.  I think that it had something to do with the sort-of wearied spy/two old soldiers talking dialogue early in the novel.  There is a certain undeniable attraction to the “I’m too old for this.”  mentality in protagonists that I sometimes find hard to resist.

Cowboy Angels is sort of like Sliders but instead of dumb graduate student it was spies that had discovered a way to hop realities.  These spies don’t get lost but instead became part of an initiative to create an alliance of America’s across multiple realities.  Of course, all of that happened before Cowboy Angels started.  The novel opens with a regime change predicated on the desire to end the violence and resource drain caused by the active pursuit the so-called Pan-American Alliance.  Agreements are broken and those original spies, the Cowboy Angels, are more-or-less hung out to dry.  Fast forward several years later and retired CIA Agent Stone is living out his retirement in a prehistoric sheaf (alternate reality) running a hunting lodge when he is called back in by The Company to track down his former partner who has apparently been on a murder spree targeting the dopel’s (alternate reality versions) of a mathematician.  Almost against his will Stone is dragged back into the field.

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