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Publisher's Summary

There is a world that hangs suspended between triumph and catastrophe, between the dismantling of the Wall and the fall of the Twin Towers, frozen in the shadow of suicide terrorism and global financial collapse. Such a world requires a firm hand and a guiding light. But does it need the Concern: an all-powerful organization with a malevolent presiding genius, pervasive influence and numberless invisible operatives in possession of extraordinary powers?

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

What members say

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  • Overall
  • Kurt
  • Newmarket, NH, United States
  • 10-29-09

Finally an Iain M. Banks book on audible...

I've been a long time fan of Iain M. Banks, especially his sci fi -- the Culture books in particular. I search his name in Audible every month. I wish there were audio versions of all these books -- Player of Games, Consider Phlebas, Use of Weapons, Excession, etc. ...

Banks' ideas and characters are inspired. His plots are improved with a second reading (listening), when you recognize details and have insights into the secrets of his fascinating characters.

Transition weaves the stories of six people through time and alternate dimensions. Among them a despotic bureaucrat and her moralistically superior outlaw rival, a narcissistic stock broker, a torturer, and the transitioner -- a sympathetic assassin who can "flit" his consciousness into another body in another dimension. Banks explores this cool concept in depth.

The narrator is fantastic. I'm going to look for other books read by him.

There are scenes in this book, like most of Banks' books, that are very harsh. The torturer's story, for example, is hard to listen to at times. This is definitely not a book for kids.

Highly recommended. If you enjoy books like Snow Crash, William Gibson, etc., then you'll probably like it a lot.

31 of 31 people found this review helpful

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  • Guillermo
  • Rochester Hills, MI, United States
  • 07-01-10

Brilliant Science Fiction

I'm so grateful to Iain M. Banks for writing yet another complex, moving, intelligent and well told story and for Peter Kenny for doing such a wonderful job narrating it. Transition is a book worthy of the this same science fiction author who wrong "Look to Windward" and the "Algebraist".

Please be aware that Iain M. Banks tends to write very richly crafted villains as well as heroes, so if you're squeamish he's not for you. I'm not squeamish, of course, and love his style.

Finally, part of what makes Transition so rich is that it ties itself obliquely yet solidly to problems we face in our world, and he lets us make judgements for ourselves without telling us what to think. This is a great book.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Tamsin
  • Los Angeles, CA, United States
  • 08-28-10

Banks is a master of complex challenging sci-fi

I'm a huge Iain M Banks fan, and this book has been my favorite listen on audible so far. If only there were more of his books here. Please please please add some from the Culture Universe.

Banks writes complex, thoughtful and challenging sci-fi.... exploring themes in which morality is curved, good and evil are never quite straightforward and the narration can be interestingly non linear. If you like your protagonists to be sometimes flawed while always interesting, and your antagonists sometimes sympathetic yet always vile. Take a ride with Banks.

Peter Kenny's narration is superlative. Many readers could easily subtract from the genius of Banks' writing. I found it difficult to imagine anyone adding to it, but Kenny does so, bringing the subtleties of the characters out quite beautifully with his range of voice and accent. Brilliant.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall


A good read (listen). Banks never fails to surprise. Peter Kenny brings the story to life Banks has a number of other SF books available from Audible in the UK. Why not here?

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Mark
  • Sugar Land, TX, United States
  • 04-02-10


Stunning book. It takes some concerntration, as do all Iain Bank's book, but it is well worth the effort. One of the the most innovative writers. More please!

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall


Took some time for the story to unfold--as is often the case with Banks' books. But he is one of my top 5 favorite authors and I knew it was worth being patient and allowing the story to unfold. I was not disappointed. This is a great story. The narrator is fantastic.

How I wish there were more Iain Banks novels on Audible.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • CCCii
  • SF Bay Area, USA
  • 01-09-10

First rate

I loved this book. Five stars! It was confusing at first (but in an interesting way,) but became more clear as it went on. Banks is the most wildly creative writer I've "read" in ages. I just wish I could get all his work here. Much to my annoyance some of his audio books are available in England though not here.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Entertaining, original

Mr. Banks is a very good writer, perhaps one of the best writing SF today. I have no idea where he gets his ideas and concepts from. But it is not from the usual hackneyed sources seemingly used by most modern SF authors. Glad that there are still writers like Banks with an honest to goodness imagination. Unfortunately, there are very few left. The rest do variations on themes that have been done to death years ago, and add precious little of interest to them.
I am a lifelong SF fan who has been reading this genre for more than 60 years. I find the modern trend of making nearly every SF protagonist a woman, seemingly for the political correctness of it, unappealing. Although Bamks does tend to do "women as superheroes" like so many do, I see that he generally manages to do that by emphasizing and reworking their feminine traits and refraining from turning them into he men warrior types...with breasts. This author writes a good story.
Peter Kenny's narration is first rate.

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  • Story

Thoughtful and Compelling

Banks is a master of literary, idea-driven science fiction. Transition jumps around between characters, times, and alternate universes, and still winds up being a straightforward story. Beautiful. And Peter Kenny is probably the best narrator I've come across in an audiobook. Flawless voice work and a perfect fit with the intelligent writing.

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  • PJ
  • Bangalore, India
  • 05-10-15

Brilliant Banks stuff

Loved it
It is a typical Banks science fiction work. Complicated plot and multiple characters
Narrated very well too
Must read for any one who is a Banks can and also for a sci-fi can