The third Culture novel from the awesome imagination of Iain M. Banks, a modern master of science fiction.
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 or 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 burnt-out case. But not even its machine intelligence could see the horrors in his past.
Praise for the Culture series:
'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
The Culture series: Consider Phlebas The Player of Games Use of Weapons The State of the Art Excession Inversions Look to Windward Matter Surface Detail The Hydrogen Sonata
Other books by Iain M. Banks: Against a Dark Background Feersum Endjinn The Algebraist