Against a Dark Background

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Overview

Sharrow was once the leader of a personality-attuned combat team in one of the sporadic little commercial wars in the civilization based around the planet Golter. Now she is hunted by the Huhsz, a religious cult which believes that she is the last obstacle before the faith's apotheosis, and her only hope of escape is to find the last of the apocalyptically powerful Lazy Guns before the Huhsz find her.

Her journey through the exotic Golterian ...

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Overview

Sharrow was once the leader of a personality-attuned combat team in one of the sporadic little commercial wars in the civilization based around the planet Golter. Now she is hunted by the Huhsz, a religious cult which believes that she is the last obstacle before the faith's apotheosis, and her only hope of escape is to find the last of the apocalyptically powerful Lazy Guns before the Huhsz find her.

Her journey through the exotic Golterian system is a destructive and savage odyssey into her past, and that of her family and of the system itself.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
On the run from a cult of intergalactic religious fanatics who want her death, the Lady Sharrow emerges from retirement to seek out a powerful artifact that may save her life--the legendary Lady Gun, a weapon that kills by altering the reality around it. The author of Consider Phlebas ( LJ 5/15/88) and The Player of Games ( LJ 2/15/89) has constructed a richly hued, far-future tapestry for his latest space adventure. Sophisticated prose, complex characters, and an unbridled imagination combine in this tale of high drama and intrigue. A good choice for most libraries.
Carl Hays
As the lone survivor of an aristocratic lineage, Lady Sharrow bears the ancient curse of the fanatical Huhsz religion: to wit, return the Lazy Gun--a deadly and enigmatic weapon stolen by one of her distant ancestors--or suffer ritual assassination. Yet before she can find the gun, Sharrow must retrieve another priceless treasure, the "Universal Principles", a book that may or may not reveal the gun's location. To remain one step ahead of the Huhsz assassination squad, Sharrow assembles her old team of neurally bonded mercenaries to assist in the hunt, and leaps headlong into a series of imperiled adventures spanning several worlds. Her only rivals for the gun are a pair of mysterious clones who keep her in thrall to a lethal virus--one that allows them to dispense excruciating pain at any distance. By ingeniously interweaving striking characterizations, richly conceived futuristic landscapes (e.g., a world-enveloping organism with a civilization among its roots), and an utterly compelling story line, Banks proves himself a master of the genre on all fronts. For sf fans who like their science hard and their action fast, this is a must read.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780553292251
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 7/28/1993
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 528
  • Product dimensions: 4.19 (w) x 6.90 (h) x 1.17 (d)

Meet the Author


Iain Banks came to controversial public notice with the publication of his first novel, The Wasp Factory, in 1984. Consider Phlebas, his first science fiction novel, was published under the name Iain M. Banks in 1987. He is now widely acclaimed as one of the most powerful, innovative and exciting writers of his generation.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 31 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(21)

4 Star

(7)

3 Star

(2)

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1 Star

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 31 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 17, 2006

    Sad, beautiful and intriguing

    This is a fun book, even considering that it was quite heavy reading at times. The novel takes place exclusively around one star, and the couple of earth-like planets and moon-colonies that revolve around it. The novel would become heavy reading when the star-system's rich history is insinuated. Quite randomly, it seems, would the reader get clues and fragments of the violent and glorious past of this handful of worlds. That's very similar to what the main characters were doing - researching the past trying to hunt down ancient artifacts. This was a society, that, while able to travel to every planet in the system, was really in the middle of a dark age. The Holy Grail of artifacts, the LAZY gun(not LADY gun, as the official review states), is beyond their technology's ability to reverse engineer. The main characters are not always likable, but they are always interesting. Maybe this is not one of Bank's more well known books because it lacks a certain polish. That's just a stab in the dark, however. I stumbled across a dog-eared mass market copy in the early nineties, and thoroughly enjoyed it. I stumbled across ANOTHER dog-eared mass market copy two or three years ago, and enjoyed it even more. I've only read two other of Bank's Sci-Fi creations: Player of Games and Look to Windward. This is still my favorite. Oh, BTW, this is not a `culture' novel at least there's no obvious connection to the culture story-line. I'm currently in the middle of The Algebraist, which prompted me to look up `Background'.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 13, 2013

    Another great work by a master sci-fi writer.

    Another great work by a master sci-fi writer.

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  • Posted April 22, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Hard time rating this book

    I had a hard time rating this book. There was nothing bad with the book, but neither was there anything outstanding about the book. I had some trouble figuring out why the main character wanted to live badly enough to go on the odyssey she went on. It was almost like she was on automatic as far as continuing her life, and perhaps that was what the author was going for. Just a woman with nothing driving her to continue but the instinct for survival. As such, I didn't find myself rooting for her to succeed, or fail for that matter. I will say that given the above, I just kept reading it, mainly because the author has an easy to read writing style and it wasn't a struggle to continue reading. It also wasn't something I went out of my way to make time to read.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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    Posted July 30, 2011

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