The third Culture novel from the awesome imagination of Iain M. Banks, a modern master of science fiction.
The man known as Cheradenine Zakalwe was one of Special Circumstances' foremost agents, changing the destiny of planets to suit the Culture through intrigue, dirty tricks or military action.
The woman known as Diziet Sma had plucked him from obscurity and pushed him towards his present eminence, but despite all their dealings she did not know him as well as she thought.
The drone known as Skaffen-Amtiskaw knew both of these people. It had once saved the woman's life by massacring her attackers in a particularly bloody manner. It believed the man to be a burnt-out case. But not even its machine intelligence could see the horrors in his past.
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
Customer ReviewsSee All
So dark ...
This is a book that you will remember on and off for years, and is one that presents its own deliciously unique and uncomfortable recipe. There is no other book like it. Do not expect to be pleasantly amused.
Best of the lot. Superb Culture novel. Brilliant ending that in could not even begin to guess - up there with Wasp Factory for surprise and impact (though totally different). If you get Banks and The Culture, this is essential.
I'm writing this mainly to right the wrong that is the only other review right now.
This is one of the very best of Banks' creations and a classic of the Sci-fi genre. Darker than some of his work it focuses on nefarious goings on within the Culture's "Special Circumstances" division; a covert group who's ends only barely justify their means. Banks juggles story lines in a way very few are able and you really have to be on your toes to catch the various threads as they fall into place - not the kind of book you can fully digest in one read through.
All Banks fans NEED to read this book.