The Steep Approach to Garbadale

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Overview

Dark family secrets, a star-crossed love affair, and a multimillion-dollar empire take center stage in Iain Banks's bighearted novel.

The Wopuld family has built its fortune on a board game called Empire! -- now a hugely successful computer game. So successful, in fact, that a powerful American corporation wants to buy the family out.

Young renegade Alban Wopuld, who has ...
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The Steep Approach to Garbadale

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Overview

Dark family secrets, a star-crossed love affair, and a multimillion-dollar empire take center stage in Iain Banks's bighearted novel.

The Wopuld family has built its fortune on a board game called Empire! -- now a hugely successful computer game. So successful, in fact, that a powerful American corporation wants to buy the family out.

Young renegade Alban Wopuld, who has been evading the family clutches for years, has sold most of his shares in the family firm and resigned from his job in the company. But when he's tracked down by his cousin Fielding, Alban is persuaded to attend the upcoming family gathering -- part birthday celebration, part shareholders' meeting -- convened by Grandma Win, Wopuld matriarch and the most powerful member of the board.

Fielding expects his cousin to help convince the rest of the family not to sell their shares, but Alban knows that his first obligation at Garbadale, the family's Highlands estate, is to confront two painful events from his past: his ill-fated love affair with his beautiful cousin Sophie and his mother's suicide. An unexpected revelation by Grandma Win, however, radically alters Alban's perspective forever.

Full of his trademark warmth, humanity, and inventiveness, this wonderfully vivid story of family turmoil, compromised loyalties, and hidden origins is Iain Banks's most compelling novel since The Crow Road.

Praise for The Steep Approach to Garbadale

The Steep Approach to Garbadale, with its sharp-tongued protagonist, feuding family and dark secrets, is full of Banks's familiar magic…. It’s tremendous fun. --The Times (U.K.)

A sprawling family saga, The Steep Approach to Garbadale is being hailed as his best book in years. Banks is the Tarantino of the book world. --The Independent on Sunday (U.K.)

In his evocation of a boy's first forays into this thrilling new world, it is poignantly acute. Of an adult’s surprise at discovering real love, it is very moving. --The Herald (U.K.)

About the Author
IAIN BANKS was born in 1954 in Dunfermline, Fife. He went to Stirling University between 1972 and 1975 and worked as a hospital porter, a pier porter, an estate worker, an expediter analyzer (IBM-speak for "clerk"), a nondestructive testing technician, and lastly, a law costs draftsman (or clerk) before giving up that particular day job in 1984 upon publication of The Wasp Factory. He writes nominally mainstream books under the above name and -- following an arguably successful bid for the World's Most Penetrable Pseudonym title -- science fiction novels under that of Iain M. (for Menzies) Banks. He lives back in Fife now, where such eccentricity is generally tolerated. He is an enthusiastic consumer of low-profile tires, outdoor stuff, MIDI equipment, gadgets in general, books, magazines, CDs, credit limits, alcohol, and Indian cuisine, and his hobbies include writing.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"What Banks serves up is both unanticipated and terrible. The fates of his characters are genuinely affecting. He achieves this by a broad adherence to a thriller structure. And by an empathetic brilliance."  —Evening Standard
The Barnes & Noble Review
It's almost impossible to quickly catalog the delights of this novel from the mischievous imagination that produced The Wasp Factor and The Crow Road. There's the large and eccentric clan of the Wopulds, the decaying stewards of a British board-game dynasty that culminated in the classic Empire! There's Alban, sensitive and alienated young scion of the aforementioned tribe, living the life of a couch-surfing slacker to avoid the family ghosts that haunt him; and Alban's smart and cynical foil Fielding, now in charge of much of the family business. There's the complex, equally cynical merger deal with a big-bucks American firm (the occasion for a delicious comic deconstruction of a PowerPoint presentation). And there are a host of wonderful secondary characters: Alban's voluble and profane roommate Tango, the fading but still powerful Wopuld matriarch, Grandma Win, and the American schemers Feaguing and Fromax, just to name a few. It's ultimately Alban's story that emerges from this noisy hurlyburly, as a surprisingly warm and engaging melody. When he reenters his family's world, he inadvertently opens doors to the past through which a new vista can been seen, casting all of this novel's pleasurable distractions into a different light. As Banks leads the reader to the final revelation of his rich tale, laughter and grief equally enter the glorious view.
--Bill Tipper
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780349139142
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
  • Publication date: 12/1/2013
  • Edition description: New edition
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 935,478
  • Product dimensions: 4.90 (w) x 7.70 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author


Iain Banks has gained enormous popular and critical acclaim for both his mainstream and his science fiction novels. He is perhaps best known for his Culture series of novels, which includes Consider Phlebas, Matter, and Surface Detail.
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