Monday, April 24, 2006

Use of Weapons by Iain M. Banks

Use of Weapons is set around the edges of Banks' utopian star-civilization the Culture and focuses on Cheradenine Zakalwe, an elite agent of the Culture's Special Circumstances division and a tortured soul, haunted and scarred by his past.

The novel explores the layers of Zakalwe by shifting between a traditional forward timeline narrative in which Zakalwe undertakes a political stabilization mission for the Culture, and a second timeline that moves steadily backward in time, following Zakalwe's career as an agent for Special Circumstances, back to his recruitment by Special Circumstances and early war experiences, and, finally, back to his formative years.

The net effect is a stellar, literate SF novel. Definitely recommended.

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