The dazzling new Culture novel from a modern master of science fiction - a tour de force of brilliant storytelling, world-building and imagination.
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.
©2010 Iain M. Banks (P)2010 Hachette Digital
Once again I was completely immersed in the universe of Iain M. Banks: both in the Virtual and the Real, although the lines tend to blur frequently. He does not spare us in his depictions of the virtual hells - even Hieronymus Bosch would feel queasy at times - but his quirky inventiveness shines throughout.
The first-time visitor to the Culture would probably feel overwhelmed by the cornucopia of Minds and intelligent life forms, pan-human and otherwise. I would recommend an introduction through 'Look to Windward' or 'The Player of Games' before attempting this, his greatest work to date. I have read every book of his and this is the first audiobook of the series that I've listened to. I had thought it would be an impossible task for a single narrator to cover the incredible range of characters, but Peter Kenny has done a fantastic job fleshing them out. I did not want it to end. Can't wait for the next one!
I enjoyed revisiting the Culture once again with this almost thriller. Peter Kenny's narration once again makes this a gem.
Like all of Iain M Banks' Culture novels that I have read, this one was vast, mind blowing and in parts hilariously funny. The best part about Banks in audio is that my mind can wander during detailed descriptions of space (or other) battles, and not have lost the thread when the interesting (to me) stuff starts up again.
The narrator gave a unique voice characterisation to every one of the many major and minor characters, making sections of the story that I think I may have skimmed in print utterly engaging in audio. I'm sure the book has its faults, I've seen other reviewers complain about Veppers being a cardboard cutout pantomime villain, and they're right. I just didn't mind though, so much did I enjoy the personalities of the rest of the characters, especially the ships' Minds.
When I drive, I read... uhm listen. I like SciFi, Fantasy, some Detective and Espionage novels and Religion. Now and then I will also listen to something else.
Playing with the concept of life after death in the advanced Culture we've met in 'Consider Phlebas' Banks brings a new twist to his Culture novels. While his other novels were almost all tragedies, this novel comes over more philosophical and succeeds in making the reader think about concepts like 'soul, consciousness, mind' and 'being.' While the story is most of the time straight forward, Bank's captivates with interesting characters that he bring together in an unexpected way. Peter Kenny's interpretative reading is topnotch. I never opted out and he kept the characters very alive and interesting. This audio book comes highly recommended.
This is a very pleasant listen. The narration, concepts and language were all excellent. However, I was not enthralled by the plot and I found that I "could put it down". I would still recommend this book to you if you are a SF fan.
Great narration brings Banks’ characters to virtual life in another space epic from Banks who has lost none of his inventiveness. Brilliant and witty as ever...
Report Inappropriate Content