This magnificent eighth novel (after 2000's Look to Windward) of the Culture, an interstellar posthuman civilization of incredible wealth and technological sophistication, centers on three siblings: Ferbin and Oramen, the misfit heirs of conquering King Hausk of the Sarl, who rules a backward and patriarchal realm deep beneath the surface of the artificial "Shellworld" Sursamen, and their exiled sister, Djan, now a powerful agent of the Culture's Special Circumstances division. When King Hausk is murdered, Ferbin narrowly avoids the conspirators and sets out across the galaxy to ask Djan's help with revenge against the killer, now serving as Oramen's regent. Soon they learn of the horrific forces a hidden enemy is about to unleash on Sursamen, and must race to save the home that has rejected them both. 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. (Mar.)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Matter (Culture Series #7)by Iain M. Banks
In a world renowned even 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, even without knowing the full truth, it means returning to a… See more details below
In a world renowned even 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, 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 civilisations 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.
Fans of the sf alter ego of literary fiction writer Banks will welcome his new Culture novel. The Culture, a highly evolved humanoid and machine civilization that spans the universe, is described from the point of view of a princess, Djan, given to the Culture by her warlord father. Now a highly trained Culture special circumstances agent, Djan returns to her home world on Sursamen, a fabricated sphere of 12 concentric worlds, created billions of years ago by a long vanished species, to act in a complex web of intra- and interspecies intrigue. Writing with a flowing and optimistic style and with much humor, the author portrays a fully imagined utopian future made possible by technology and a benignant world view, which contrasts with the many worlds depicted still struggling with war, famine, and disease. An appendix with lists of characters, species, and vocabulary terms is a great aid to the reader. Recommended for all libraries with contemporary literature collections.-Sara Rutter, Univ. of Hawaii at Manoa Lib., Honolulu
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