As per the title, I can't remember the title of this book that I read some years ago (10ish I guess).

As far as I remember, the story starts with the protagonist being hired to kill some member of elite society, and then the book is all about him running away, exploring different areas of the planet and finding allies and enemies.

He also has an implant / enhanced technologies inside his body that help him kill and run away. I remember once he blew up his hand / fingers in order to produce some sort of explosion.

At the end, the plot twist is that he hired himself (or it might be that he killed himself and he's a clone? I don't know).

Any suggestion which book it might be? I've tried everything but nothing so far.

  • 2
    Related: theonion.com/…
    – Spencer
    Feb 26, 2023 at 19:40
  • 3
    Vague whiffs of plots like those in the Altered Carbon franchise.
    – Lexible
    Feb 26, 2023 at 19:59
  • Yeah, I know that franchise, but unfortunately it's not the one I'm looking for Thanks anyway
    – michele
    Feb 26, 2023 at 20:13
  • This bears heavy similarities with Today we choose faces, by Roger Zelazny
    – Stef
    Feb 26, 2023 at 20:25
  • Rings a bell, but I can't decide if its something I read a (really) long time ago or not as recent and being either Dick or Heinlein. Feb 26, 2023 at 23:48

5 Answers 5


This might be Today we choose faces, by Roger Zelazny.

Angelo di Negri, mafia man from the 1970s, is revived a few centuries in the future by his descendants. They control a business empire descended from his mafia empire, but now mostly legitimate. They want to kill someone, but in this far future they cannot find someone willing to be a murderer, which is why they decide to revive their ancestor.

He flies a spaceship towards the victim's planet. Surprisingly, the victim is the only person on that planet; apparently he was a leader on that planet and decided to send everyone away. After killing this man, Angelo di Negri follows the victim's advice and explores the planet. He finds awesome technology on that planet. He clones himself and, more importantly, he starts erasing his own memory to make himself a better man.

At this point there is a big ellipsis. The story picks up with a bunch of clones of Angelo di Negri, evolving in a futuristic society which they mostly shaped themselves by living extremely-long lives. They don't remember him, and have several layers of locked memories in their brain, as they kept erasing the darkest parts of themselves throughout the years. A mysterious adversary is killing the clones one by one, and they are faced with a dilemma: should they unlock their memories to be able to defeat their enemy? How much should they unlock? Will they lose their sense of identity if they unlock too much? And who is this mysterious adversary?

The fact that he had to come face to face with himself is not really a plot twist, but rather a climax after a long exploration of the concepts of identity, memory, and self throughout the book.

  • Thanks, but it's not this one unfortunately
    – michele
    Feb 26, 2023 at 20:47
  • 7
    It does sound cool. I'll read it.
    – Martlark
    Feb 27, 2023 at 4:18

Chasm City by Alastair Reynolds?

In Chasm City, Tanner Mirabel is attempting to kill a member of high society because the man was responsible for the death of his boss and his boss's wife, who he was in love with.

But his target fled to a different star system, and Tanner's hunt is complicated by reefer-sleep induced memory loss, the fact that he has never been to the new star system in question, and a genetically engineered virus that is giving him hallucinatory visions related to the life of a war-criminal-turned-religous-prophet.

Massive Spoilers Start Here

It turns out that Tanner isn't Tanner. Tanner's boss survived the attempt on his life, and had his memories suppressed so that he could assume Tanner's identity.

He needed to assume Tanner's identity so he could leave the system because he is actually the criminal-turned-prophet, Sky Haussmann, who was supposedly martyred decades ago. The "virus" was his real memories returning.

Tanner/Boss/Sky arranged to have his arm cut off in an "accident" as part of selling his martyrdom (the missing arm is an identifying feature). He later had genetic changes so that his eyes functioned in low-light, and his fingers / teeth had venom, since he had a kind of obsession with snakes.

The location that most of the hunt takes place is the titular Chasm City, which has recently fallen from a golden age onto hard times. Tanner/Sky must navigate "savage" genetically engineered pig-men, aristocrats who murder commoners as televised sport, and run-of-the-mill desperate poor criminals.

If this is the book you're thinking of, I don't blame you for muddling the characters - it's pretty convoluted!


Shares similarities with Dantec's Cosmos Incorporated.

Sci-fi/cyberpunk setting, assassination plot, neural enhancements.

Synopsis (from link above):

Though his memory has been wiped clean and his history fabricated in order to pass through UniWorld’s check points, Sergei Diego Plotkin knows his name. And he knows his mission: to murder a man in the city of Grand Junction, a Vegas-like outpost that is home to the private launching pad to the Ring. But this sense of purpose is compromised by random memories that flash through Plotkin’s brain. England and Argentina. The shores of Lake Baikal. And something else. Something indescribable.

Now Plotkin is about to meet his maker. As his identity and mission incrementally resurface in his conscious mind, and in the presence of an eerily beautiful woman, Plotkin will soon discover that he has come here not just to kill but to be born. . .

  • 3
    Is the "synopsis" your own or copied from someone else? If the latter you need to cite the source and you should use quote formatting (begin the quoted line with > ).
    – Null
    Feb 27, 2023 at 16:49
  • thanks, but unfortunately it's not this one either :(
    – michele
    Feb 27, 2023 at 17:48

This is a shot in the dark but the description made me think of Neuromancer, by William Gibson, though I don't remember any exploding hand

Henry Dorsett Case is a low-level hustler in the dystopian underworld of Chiba City, Japan. Once a talented computer hacker and "console cowboy", Case was caught stealing from his employer. As punishment, Case's central nervous system was damaged, leaving him unable to access the virtual reality dataspace called the "matrix". Case is approached by Molly Millions, an augmented "razorgirl" and mercenary on behalf of a shadowy US ex-military officer named Armitage, who offers to cure Case for his services as a hacker. Case agrees, and his nervous system is repaired, though sacs of poison are placed in his blood vessels. If Case completes the job, Armitage will have the sacs removed; if not, they will burst and cripple him again.

The plot involves the protagonist flying all over the planet and up into space at some point, battling AI, lots of shady characters and plots and saving the world.

  • thanks but nope :( I know Neuromancer but it's not it unfortunately
    – michele
    Feb 28, 2023 at 18:51

Could it be one of books from Richard Morgan?

In Woken Furies, Takeshi Kovach, a brutal assassin, is cloned to kill his older version. In all 3 books, he is after someone very powerful.

Also, assassins in that world get various modifications and implants to enhance their abilities.

In the 2nd book, Broken angels, they find a space ship of an ancient civilization.

  • nope, its not. I know Altered Carbon (from the tv series) and it's not the one
    – michele
    Mar 2, 2023 at 19:27

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