Sharrow was once the leader of a personality-attuned combat team in one of the sporadic little commercial wars in the civilisation based around the planet Golter.
Now she is hunted by the Huhsz, a religious cult which believes that she is the last obstacle before the faith's apotheosis, and her only hope of escape is to find the last of the apocalyptically powerful Lazy Guns before the Huhsz find her.
Her journey through the exotic Golterian system is a destructive and savage odyssey into her past, and that of her family and the system itself.
I have read a few of Banks' 'Culture' series novels, and found them quite easy to throw myself into... with one exception... but this is the first of his non-Culture novels I have read and I admit to being very impressed.
Reading like a James Bond novel set in Buck Roger's 24th Century, this one had me on the edge of my seat most of the way. With a stunning array of wierd characters, from the priesthood who live chained to a set of tracks that run around in a house like a maze, through to a duo of homicidal clones, I would have to say my most favourite are the wandering clan of freelance mercinaries who all believe they are God, and the rest of their crew are simply figments of their imagination that won't go away and thus must serve some purpose.
I was very taken with the intricate descriptions of some of the items and locations throughout, in particular the Crownstar Addendum, a necklace like none other, and the world-spanning single plantform, known as the Entraxrln, which covers the planet Miykenns so totally that it controls the global weather patterns.
Overall, though missing some of the elements I really enjoy from his Culture series titles, such as the self-aware droids etc, this one held me enthralled from cover to cover... my only gripe with it was that I could only read it in small, 5-10 minute patches during breaks.
Random listing from 'Books'...
Four masked horsemen, dressed as Templar Knights, storm an exhibition of Vatican treasures at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, smashing display cabinets and stealing artifacts.
Sam Reilly leads the FBI's investigation, helped by Tess Chaykin, an archaeologist who witnessed the shocking theft. She takes him through the dark history of the crusading Knights and together they are plunged into a terrifying journey which forces them ... more...
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"Politics is not a bad profession. If you succeed there are many rewards, if you disgrace yourself you can always write a book."
Ronald Reagan (1911 - 2004)