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About the book:
In a world renowned within a galaxy full of wonders, a crime within a war. For one brother 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, it means returning to a place she'd thought abandoned forever.
Only the sister is not what she once was; Djan Seriy Anaplian has become an agent of the Culture's Special Circumstances section, charged with high-level interference in civilisations throughout the greater galaxy.
Concealing her new identity - and her particular set of abilities - might be a dangerous strategy. 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.
- 'Of all the books I've read of ultrapowerful galactic civilizations, this one does it best. Incredible tech and a huge scope, yet telling a very human story that stands out among the vastness.' Wired.com
- 'Beautifully written and filled with memorable characters and startling technology, this tale of intricate politics and interstellar warfare ably demonstrates that Banks is still at the height of his powers.' Publishers Weekly (starred review)
- 'Unexpectedly savage, emotionally powerful and impossible to forget.' Lisa Tuttle, The Times
- When Iain Banks slots the middle initial between his forename and surname, you can expect science fiction on a grand scale, replete with brain-busting concepts and a dry wit." James Lovegrove, The Financial Times
- 'His wry character observations are a joy to read, and the book has a rich seam of humour ... this long-awaited return for both a writing legend and his finest creation is a delight.' SFX
- 'Matter is as engrossing as you'd expect a Banks book to be.' Starburst
- 'A searing inquiry into justified warfare and the dangers of imposing your ideas of civilisation, told at a rattling pace with breathtaking set pieces and oodles of wit and charm.' Scotland on Sunday
- 'Set in an intricate, yet wonderfully realised world, this latest Culture novel will pull you in and keep you hooked right up to the explosive finale." Waterstone's Books Quarterly
- 'Confirms Banks as the standard by which the rest of SF is judged.' The Guardian
- 'This is a major sequence for anyone who cares about science fiction.' Telegraph Online
- 'Gripping, touching and funny.' Times Literary Supplement
- 'A wild imagination.' Mail on Sunday
- 'Spectacular … the field needs his energy.' The Scotsman