In a world renowned even within a galaxy full of wonders, a crime within a war. For one man it means a desperate flight, and a search for the one - maybe two - people who could clear his name. For his brother it means a life lived under constant threat of treachery and murder. And for their sister, even without knowing the full truth, it means returning to a place she'd thought abandoned forever.
Only the sister is not what she once was; Djan Seriy Anaplian has changed almost beyond recognition to become an agent of the Culture's Special Circumstances section, charged with high-level interference in civilizations throughout the greater galaxy.
Concealing her new identity - and her particular set of abilities - might be a dangerous strategy, however. In the world to which Anaplian returns, nothing is quite as it seems; and determining the appropriate level of interference in someone else's war is never a simple matter.
Matter is a novel of dazzling wit and serious purpose. An extraordinary feat of storytelling and breathtaking invention on a grand scale, it is a tour de force from a writer who has turned science fiction on its head.
©2008 Iain M. Banks (P)2014 Hachette Audio
I have loved this series, and the narration has been no small part. While this narration is decent, it was made worse in the inevitable comparison to the previous narrator, Peter Kenny, who was excellent.
As for the book, of course Banks is wonderful. A bit overdone at the end, but clever throughout.
I cannot recommend this highly enough. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the book a few years ago, but the narrator brought another dimension to the story that blew me away.
In my humble opinion Iain M Banks is a master of this genre, rivalled only by Alastair Reynolds. This story is beautifully written and totally absorbing from the beginning. The characters are wonderfully realised, the story lines fast paced and believable with an underlying humour that I found delightful.
As is often the case when I read Banks, I found myself marvelling at his insights and observations. He is a formidably intelligent man.
Toby Longworth is a brilliant narrator and this story suits his talents to a tee. It takes real talent to bring characters to life as he did in this book.
Loved it and will listen to it again for sure.
This is by far my least favorite culture series book yet. The heavy medieval storyline did nothing for me. I made it all the way through, but the payoff wasn't worth the cost of the lost time listening to it. Certainly interesting parts, but for the most part I found it boring.
This is a great book, though not one of the best in the Culture series (The Use of Weapons and the Player of Games will always loom large over the series as some of the best SF of all time). But Longworth's performance really elevates the book and he does a stellar job of giving different speech patterns to the different characters and making them come alive. Highly recommended.
BasicListener? I listen with both ears!
17 hours so good value but this is not really a culture story it is more of a swords and sandals story.
the ending is good though
the voice acting is good
overall it is hard to see how the same author wrote Player of Games and this turgid thing
I love the culture series and honestly this book was full of the big ideas, frank characters, action and humor of all the others, but usually there's an overarching theme that is dissected and revealed wonderfully at the end. But I didn't get it. Maybe I was spoiled by the amaze balls Use of Weapons.
I've enjoyed the Culture Novels, and was fairly well enjoying this one up to the end, until it totally fell apart… I was looking forward to a conclusion that would tie all of the parts together, but it seemed that Mr. Banks just ran out of steam, or time, or something, because all of a sudden the story ended in what seemed to be half a chapter of nothing.
No conclusions, or explanations, just kill of all the characters, save one, and hang the ending on a non secreter. I will try again with another Banks story, but would like to know what the hell happened to this one?
I'm a fan of Ian Banks Culture series, but I think this one needed some more editing. The author clearly had the story well laid out in his head, but often speeds away from the listener.
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