Look to Windward by Iain M. Banks

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The Twin Novae battle had been one of the last of the Idiran war, and one of the most horrific: desperate to avert their inevitable defeat, the Idirans had induced not one but two suns to explode, snuffing out worlds and biospheres teeming with sentient life. They were attacks of incredible proportion -- gigadeathcrimes. But the war ended, and life went on.
Now, eight hundred years later, light from the first explosion is about to reach the Masaq' Orbital, home to the Culture's most adventurous and decadent souls. There it will fall upon Masaq's 50 billion inhabitants, gathered to commemorate the deaths of the innocent and to reflect, if only for a moment, on what some call the Culture's own complicity in the terrible event.
Also journeying to Masaq' is Major Quilan, an emissary from the war-ravaged world of Chel. In the aftermath of the conflict that split his world apart, most believe he has come to Masaq' to bring home Chel's most brilliant star and self-exiled dissident, the honored Composer Ziller.
Ziller claims he will do anything to avoid a meeting with Major Quilan, who he suspects has come to murder him. But the Major's true assignment will have far greater consequences than the death of a mere political dissident, as part of a conspiracy more ambitious than even he can know -- a mission his superiors have buried so deeply in his mind that even he cannot remember it.
Hailed by SFX magazine as "an excellent hopping-on point if you've never read a Banks SF novel before," Look to Windward is an awe-inspiring immersion into the wildly original, vividly realized civilization that Banks calls the Culture.

About Iain M. Banks

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Iain Banks came to controversial public notice with the publication of his first novel, The Wasp Factory, in 1984. Consider Phlebas, his first science fiction novel, was published under the name Iain M. Banks in 1987. He is now widely acclaimed as one of the most powerful, innovative and exciting writers of his generation.
Published August 1, 2001 by Pocket Books/Star Trek. 384 pages
Genres: Science Fiction & Fantasy, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Matters will culminate as Ziller conducts his latest masterwork and, in a melancholy commemoration, the light of a nova caused by the Hub during the Idiran War reaches Masaq’.

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The Guardian

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Look to Windward Iain M Banks Orbit, £16.99, 357pp Buy it at BOL Space doesn't excite writers any more.

Sep 02 2000 | Read Full Review of Look to Windward

Publishers Weekly

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In a recent attempt to covertly overthrow the repressive caste system at the center of Chelgrian society, agents of the Culture's secret Special Circumstances unit accidentally triggered a civil war that left five billion Chelgrians both dead and dishonored.

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SF Site

Banks: A Few Notes on The Culture ISFDB Bibliography SF Site Review: Excession Although it is the seventh of Iain Banks' Culture novels, Look To Windward might most productively be viewed as the third book in a trilogy on the theme of perspective.

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Not only do we have a rundown of every single Culture novel, but we've also got some important excerpts from an obscure essay Banks wrote in 1994 about the ideas behind the Culture universe.

Feb 11 2008 | Read Full Review of Look to Windward

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