- Publisher: Orbit
- Format: Hardback | 640 pages
- Dimensions: 160mm x 236mm x 52mm | 939g
- Publication date: 7 October 2010
- Publication City/Country: London
- ISBN 10: 1841498939
- ISBN 13: 9781841498935
- Sales rank: 24,577
It begins in the realm of the Real, where matter still matters. It begins with a murder. And it will not end until the Culture has gone to war with death itself. Lededje Y'breq is one of the Intagliated, her marked body bearing witness to a family shame, her life belonging to a man whose lust for power is without limit. Prepared to risk everything for her freedom, her release, when it comes, is at a price, and to put things right she will need the help of the Culture. Benevolent, enlightened and almost infinitely resourceful though it may be, the Culture can only do so much for any individual. With the assistance of one of its most powerful - and arguably deranged - warships, Lededje finds herself heading into a combat zone not even sure which side the Culture is really on. A war - brutal, far-reaching - is already raging within the digital realms that store the souls of the dead, and it's about to erupt into reality. It started in the realm of the Real and that is where it will end. It will touch countless lives and affect entire civilizations, but at the centre of it all is a young woman whose need for revenge masks another motive altogether.
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Iain Banks came to widespread and controversial public notice with the publication of his first novel, THE WASP FACTORY, in 1984. He has since gained enormous popular and critical acclaim for both his mainstream and his science fiction novels.
By graham jarvie 03 May 2011
So this is the first Banks book that i have been able to put down - and i've read them all. It just seemed so derivative, like someone else had ghost written it - all the right ideas and breadth and scope but missing something of the Banks' innovative and acerbic spark. Apart from the concept of Hell and the new secret service divisions it was a cut and paste job all the way.
If you want to know about the amazing Culture culture and you are new to Banks, don't start here
By Mr Isaac Scott 15 Nov 2010
FANTASTIC book, its full-on culture from the start. Gripping from the first page! A must read for all culture fans.
Balances high concepts and macrocosmic scale with deft characterisation and the kind of excitement expected from his acclaimed Culture series SciFiNow