Use of Weapons (Culture Series #3)

Use of Weapons (Culture Series #3)

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by Iain M. Banks
     
 

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The man known as Cheradenine Zakalwe was one of Special Circumstances' foremost agents, changing the destiny of planets to suit the Culture through intrigue, dirty tricks and military action.

The woman known as Diziet Sma had plucked him from obscurity and pushed him towards his present eminence, but despite all their dealings she did not know him as well as she

Overview

The man known as Cheradenine Zakalwe was one of Special Circumstances' foremost agents, changing the destiny of planets to suit the Culture through intrigue, dirty tricks and military action.

The woman known as Diziet Sma had plucked him from obscurity and pushed him towards his present eminence, but despite all their dealings she did not know him as well as she thought.

The drone known as Skaffen-Amtiskaw knew both of these people. It had once saved the woman's life by massacring her attackers in a particularly bloody manner. It believed the man to be a lost cause. But not even its machine could see the horrors in his past.

Ferociously intelligent, both witty and horrific, USE OF WEAPONS is a masterpiece of science fiction.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781857231359
Publisher:
Gardners Books
Publication date:
03/26/1992
Series:
Culture Series, #3
Edition description:
New

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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3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 70 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was first introduced to Iain Banks by reading his book 'Consider Phlebas'. Of the space science fiction genre, I found his detail and depth of imagery astounding. I recommend that book to sci-fi fans. 'Use of Weapons' could be simply described as being about a futuristic mercenary doing deeds for a powerful benevolent race. But this is not a simple book. Two story lines interweave in alternating chapters. The first is traditional, moving forward in time, following one plot line. The other goes backward in time, each chapter number counting backward as well, and touches on past events that increasingly explain events and people being followed in the upward counting chapters. This manner of story telling certainly requires a great attention to detail by the reader, but the reward at the end is worth it, as we finally discover what really is going on. After finishing the book I found myself re-reading many sections, rediscovering many things I had missed. I will be looking for what seems to be a sequel, 'States of War'.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I think that of the Iain Banks science fiction I've read, Use of Weapons is easily his best. It's a pretty challenging read too, since it actually has two plot threads that are told starting from one point in time. One moves forward chronologically, and the other backwards to earlier events. These two threads are intermixed in alternating chapters, so as you read the book you are jumping further forward or back in time. This is confused a bit more by introducing a handful of flashbacks, but if you stick with it the rewards are manifest. The overall story focuses a skilled mercenary called Zakalwe, that works for a post-scarcity, utopian civilization known as the Culture. Asked to fight their battles, he kills so that the Culture doesn't have to dirty its hands with the bloody business of imperialism. The book slowly pieces together this man's life until he finally confronts the disturbing past that drives him to keep fighting. Use of Weapons reads a lot like Iain Banks' other Culture novels, with detailed action sequences, broader looks at interstellar society, and lots of little crumbs and twists that keep you guessing about the plot. However, it differs from the space opera feel of Consider Phlebas, or the meandering conspiracy of Excession. The scope is also smaller, where most of the Culture novels blow your mind with the scale of the galaxy, Use of Weapons focuses on smaller set pieces. The book is amazing for multiple readings too, since after you've finished it the first time you will notice many more details on subsequent readings. The end also casts a very different light on the various chapters of the book, allowing you to reinterpret things again and again. Overall I would say that if you like Iain Banks' other Culture novels, you really owe it to yourself to read Use of Weapons. In regards to the reviewer that said the cruelty doesn't advance the plot, I'm inclined to say that that person hasn't read the book.
LarryTFL More than 1 year ago
The Culture novels by Iain M. Bank are all very good but by no means 'light' reading! The plots are complicated and the author makes you concentrate on the when and where you are within the stories.
The_Wolfie More than 1 year ago
Arguably the best, richest SF galactic Empire series since Asimov, the Culture series spans centuries of time and a series of interwoven plots that truly compel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have found IAIN BANKS a challenging writer to read. Some of his stuff, like "Use of Weapons" I could not get enough of. Others, not so much. I was hoping he had created a follow on book. But apparently not. Randy
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This was a bit more difficult to read. Read it twice and enjoyed it. Must be attentive as you read. Ian M. Banks - we will miss you. RIP.
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