Among those operatives are Temudjin Oh, of mysterious Mongolian origins, an un-killable assassin who journeys between the peaks of Nepal, a version of Victorian London, and the dark palaces of Venice under snow; Adrian Cubbish, a restlessly greedy City trader; and a nameless, faceless state-sponsored torturer known only as the Philosopher, who moves between time zones with sinister ease.
Then there are those who question the Concern: the bandit queen Mrs. Mulverhill, roaming the worlds recruiting rebels to her side; and Patient 8262, under sedation and feigning madness in a forgotten hospital ward, in hiding from a dirty past.
There is a world that needs help - but whether it needs the Concern is a different matter.
©2009 Iain M. Banks; (P)2009 Hachette
Not only was the book boring, its fixation on toture was very off-putting. I give two stars because, like book 1 of the Splatterjay series, there is a story somewhere in there amongst the shock and gore.
I'm a huge fan of Banks' Culture novels, but this book didn't quite rise to the same level. His gratuitous descriptions of sex acts tended to distract and detract from an otherwise thoughtful story. Several times.
WIth regard to the performance, the narrator did a good job voicing the different characters, but one or two of the English accents were occasionally too thick to comprehend.
Overall, I would still recommend Banks as an author, just not this particular work.
Banks defines the "New Space Opera". Go get some "Culture" (that's what his longest series is called) or even better; The Algebraist. This trash-novel ended faster than i expected, and i was relieved.
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