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Surface Detail by Iain M. Banks

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Featured on The Book Show on Sky Arts on 11 November 2010.

Iain M. Bank's Culture series is in a league of its own when it comes to modern science fiction and his latest Surfae detail doesn't disappoint. Vast in scale, subtle and complex in plotting and, as it questions how society itself functions, full of morally fascinating subjects.

If you like Iain M. Banks you might also like to read books by David Wingrove, Christopher Brookmyre and David Brin.


Surface Detail by Iain M. Banks

It begins in the realm of the Real, where matter still matters. It begins with a murder. And it will not end until the Culture has gone to war with death itself. Lededje Y'breq is one of the Intagliated, her marked body bearing witness to a family shame, her life belonging to a man whose lust for power is without limit. Prepared to risk everything for her freedom, her release, when it comes, is at a price, and to put things right she will need the help of the Culture. Benevolent, enlightened and almost infinitely resourceful though it may be, the Culture can only do so much for any individual. With the assistance of one of its most powerful - and arguably deranged - warships, Lededje finds herself heading into a combat zone not even sure which side the Culture is really on. A war - brutal, far-reaching - is already raging within the digital realms that store the souls of the dead, and it's about to erupt into reality. It started in the realm of the Real and that is where it will end. It will touch countless lives and affect entire civilizations, but at the centre of it all is a young woman whose need for revenge masks another motive altogether.

About the Author

Iain M. Banks

Iain M. Banks came to widespread and controversial public notice with the publication of his first novel, THE WASP FACTORY, in 1984. He has since gained enormous popular and critical acclaim for both his mainstream (published under the name Iain Banks) and his science fiction novels. Iain Banks died in June 2013.

Maxim Jakubowski's view on MATTER...
Banks’ Culture series, of which this the latest instalment, is space opera at its exuberant best: adventures and conflicts on a galactic scale, alien races by the dozen, non-stop action, a gallery of sharply-edged characters in search of the truth and racing against time. All the ingredients are perfectly stirred to provide first class entertainment and science fiction at its most stirring. Makes STAR WARS look simplistic.

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Book Info

Publication date

7th October 2010


Iain M. Banks

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