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Publisher's Summary

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
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Customer Reviews

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By Hope on 08-07-11

amazing narration

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.

Loved it.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful


By Jacobus on 05-30-11

Probably Iain M. Banks best Culture novel

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.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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By J Hurwitz on 11-04-10

The finest Culture novel yet!

Over many years I've keenly tracks Banks' development in his wild and wonderful Culture universe. I couldn't put this one down - a work of sheer SciFi genius! Detailed yet expansive, bizarre yet familiar. Philosophy, war, religion, technology, physics, dream. More please Iain! Also masterfully narrated by Peter Kenny across a galaxy of different characters.

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10 of 10 people found this review helpful


By Martin on 11-19-10

Dissenting voice

Looks like I'm the only one who doesn't think this is the best of the Culture novels so far. Don't get me wrong, I still thoroughly enjoyed this book, but found it rather slower in pace -- a little heavy on its feet perhaps. There seemed to be far more humour in this one, and that's not a bad thing. Also, one of my favourite minor characters of all time appears: the ship's avatar for the Falling outside Normal Moral Constraints, and Banks's florid imagination is, as usual, stunning. I actually found the reader to be far too fast (maybe I'm just a slow processor) -- I had to check that my iPhone wasn't set to 2x speed. But he does the characters brilliantly.
All in all, I thought both Matter and The Algebraist more compelling, but I appear to be in the minority.

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5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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By Lyndon on 06-25-17

The games

great to listen to and try and figure what the end game will just be.

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0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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