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 them 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.
Usually I find myself utterly lost in Banks' Culture series... but this time I found myself yearning to move on to another book well before I hit the half way mark.
Hard to keep track of, with multiple jumps in time and space, and not always in any logical order, I found most of the story to be quite weak and ultimately disappointing.
Overall, it saddens me to have to say, this was NOT one of Iain's that I enjoyed very much at all.
Random listing from 'Books'...
When attempting to infiltrate a pack of wolves, a ninja is strongly advised NOT to wear a chicken suit - the Ninja Warrior's Handbook, Volume 27. Something strange is going on. Something really, really...unreal. Farmer Fetlock's cows have been wrapped in toilet paper again! But if Pongo isn't the toilet-roll-toting prankster behind the ninja cow caper, then who is? Could the culprit have come from outer space? Can the Nerdy Ninjas catch them in the act? It's a mystery. A mystery of high-jinks and high pants.
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"It ain't the parts of the Bible that I can't understand that bother me, it is the parts that I do understand."