The tenth Culture book from the awesome imagination of Iain M. Banks, a modern master of science fiction.
The Scavenger species are circling. It is, truly, the End Days for the Gzilt civilisation.
An ancient people, organised on military principles and yet almost perversely peaceful, the Gzilt helped set up the Culture ten thousand years earlier and were very nearly one of its founding societies, deciding not to join only at the last moment. Now they've made the collective decision to follow the well-trodden path of millions of other civilisations: they are going to Sublime, elevating themselves to a new and almost infinitely more rich and complex existence.
Amid preparations though, the Regimental High Command is destroyed. Lieutenant Commander (reserve) Vyr Cossont appears to have been involved, and she is now wanted - dead, not alive. Aided only by an ancient, reconditioned android and a suspicious Culture avatar, Cossont must complete her last mission given to her by the High Command. She must find the oldest person in the Culture, a man over nine thousand years old, who might have some idea what really happened all that time ago.
It seems that the final days of the Gzilt civilisation are likely to prove its most perilous.
Praise for the Culture series:
'Epic in scope, ambitious in its ideas and absorbing in its execution' Independent on Sunday
'Banks has created one of the most enduring and endearing visions of the future' Guardian
'Jam-packed with extraordinary invention' Scotsman
'Compulsive reading' Sunday Telegraph
The Culture series:
The Player of Games
Use of Weapons
The State of the Art
Look to Windward
The Hydrogen Sonata
Other books by Iain M. Banks:
Against a Dark Background
This rich, sweeping panorama of heroism and folly celebrates the 25th anniversary of the Culture, Banks s far-future semi-utopian society. The Gzilt, a civilization affiliated with the Culture, is only days away from leaving this reality for the Sublime, a condition of intense, hyper-real wonderfulness, when some of the Culture s self-aware spaceships catch hints that the Gzilt s decision to enter the Sublime may be based on a hoax. Vyr Cossont, a young, four-armed Gzilt musician, falls into the conflict as ships and their avatars try to figure out what s going on and then decide what to do about it, while powerful opponents attempt to stall the inquiry until time runs out. The action tumbles along at a dizzying pace, bouncing among a fascinating array of characters and locales. It s easy to see why Banks s fertile, cheerfully nihilistic imagination and vivid prose have made the Culture space operas bestsellers and award favorites.
Really good read, everything you hope for from a Culture novel
The Hydrogen Sonata delivers
Another brilliant novel very engaging, in the style of Excession. The usual moral ambiguity present in Banks work is on display. Absolutely worth the read!
Funny, intelligent space opera
Iain m banks is back with another superb Culture novel.
I enjoyed this book far more than his previous, Surface Detail, which I found particularly heavy going. This one concentrates far more on Ships, their Minds and Avatars, which personally I find the most interesting aspect of Culture novels.