The Scavenger species are circling. It is, truly, provably, the End Days for the Gzilt civilization.
An ancient people, organized on military principles and yet almost perversely peaceful, the Gzilt helped set up the Culture ten thousand years earlier and were very nearly one of its founding societies, deciding not to join only at the last moment. Now they've made the collective decision to follow the well-trodden path of millions of other civilizations; they are going to Sublime, elevating themselves to a new and almost infinitely more rich and complex existence.
Amid preparations though, the Regimental High Command is destroyed. Lieutenant Commander (reserve) Vyr Cossont appears to have been involved, and she is now wanted - dead, not alive. Aided only by an ancient, reconditioned android and a suspicious Culture avatar, Cossont must complete her last mission given to her by the High Command. She must find the oldest person in the Culture, a man over nine thousand years old, who might have some idea what really happened all that time ago.
It seems that the final days of the Gzilt civilization are likely to prove its most perilous.
"Starred Review.The action tumbles along at a dizzying pace, bouncing among a fascinating array of characters and locales. It's easy to see why Banks's fertile, cheerfully nihilistic imagination and vivid prose have made the Culture space operas bestsellers and award favorites." - Publishers Weekly
"One of Banks' best Culture novels to date." - Booklist
"Starred Review. Scotland-resident Banks' Culture yarns, the science-fiction equivalent of Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels, brim with wit and wisdom, providing incomparable entertainment, with fascinating and highly original characters, challenging ideas and extrapolations, and dazzling action seamlessly embedded in a satirical-comedy matrix." - Kirkus Reviews
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Iain (Menzies) Banks was born in Fife in 1954, and was educated at Stirling
University, where he studied English Literature, Philosophy and Psychology.
He came to widespread and controversial public notice with the publication of his first novel, The Wasp Factory, in 1984.
His first science fiction novel, Consider Phlebas, was published in 1987. He continued to write both mainstream fiction (as Iain Banks) and science fiction (as Iain M. Banks).
He was acclaimed as one of the most powerful, innovative and exciting writers of his generation: The Guardian called him "the standard by which the rest of SF is judged". William Gibson, the New York Times-bestselling author of Spook Country described Banks as a "phenomenon".
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