Dark family secrets, a long-lost love affair and a multi-million pound gaming business lie at the heart of Iain Banks' fabulous new novel. The Wopuld family built its fortune on a board game called Empire!, now a hugely successful computer game. So successful, the American Spraint Corp wants to buy the firm out.
Young renegade Alban, who has been evading the family clutches for years, is run to ground and persuaded to attend the forthcoming family gathering - part birthday party, part Extraordinary General Meeting - convened by Win, Wopuld matriarch and most powerful member of the board, at Garbadale, the family's highland castle.
Being drawn back into the bosom of the clan brings an inevitable and disconcerting confrontation with Alban's past. What drove his mother to take her own life? And is he yet ready to see Sophie, his beautiful, enchanting cousin and teenage love, at the EGM? Grandmother Win's revelations will radically alter Alban's perspective for ever.
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"Bank's 23rd book isn't his best, but it carries one all the way up its craggy steeps." - PW
"Still a master. Banks's evocation of the tortures and travails of first love is moving and lyrical." - The Independent (UK).
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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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