The novels of Iain M. Banks have forever changed the face of modern science fiction. With breathtaking imagination and extraordinary storytelling, they have secured his reputation as one of the most extraordinary and influential writers in the genre. 'Banks is a phenomenon' William Gibson Count Sessine is about to die for the very last time . . . Chief Scientist Gadfium is about to receive the mysterious message she has been awaiting from the Plain of Sliding Stones . . . Bascule the Teller, in search of an ant, is about to enter the chaos of the crypt . . . This is the time of the encroachment and everything is about to change. Although the dimming sun still shines on the vast, towering walls of Serehfa Fastness, the end is close at hand. The King knows it, his closest advisers know it, and the crypt knows it too; so an emissary has been sent - an emissary who holds the key to all their futures. Praise for the novels of Iain M. Banks: 'Epic in scope, ambitious in its ideas and absorbing in its execution' Independent on Sunday 'Banks has created one of the most enduring and endearing visions of the future' Guardian 'Jam-packed with extraordinary invention' Scotsman 'Compulsive reading' Sunday Telegraph Books by Iain M. Banks: Consider Phlebas The Player of Games Use of Weapons Excession Inversions Look to Windward Matter Surface Detail The Hydrogen Sonata The State of the Art Against a Dark Background Feersum Endjinn The Algebraist Also now available: The Culture: The Drawings - an extraordinary collection of original illustrations faithfully reproduced from sketchbooks Banks kept in the 1970s and 80s, depicting the ships, habitats, geography, weapons and language of Banks' Culture series of novels in incredible detail.