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.
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What happened to Peter Kenny?
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.
A stellar performance
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.