Surface Detail by Iain M. Banks

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 5 Critic Reviews



It begins in the realm of the Real, where matter still matters.

It begins with a murder.

And it will not end until the Culture has gone to war with death itself.

Lededje Y'breq is one of the Intagliated, her marked body bearing witness to a family shame, her life belonging to a man whose lust for power is without limit. Prepared to risk everything for her freedom, her release - when it comes - is at a price, and to put things right she will need the help of the Culture.

Benevolent, enlightened and almost infinitely resourceful though it may be, the Culture can only do so much for any individual. With the assistance of one of its most powerful - and arguably deranged - warships, Lededje finds herself heading into a combat zone not even sure which side the Culture is really on. A war - brutal, far-reaching - is already raging within the digital realms that store the souls of the dead, and it's about to erupt into reality.

It started in the realm of the Real and that is where it will end. It will touch countless lives and affect entire civilizations, but at the center of it all is a young woman whose need for revenge masks another motive altogether.

About Iain M. Banks

See more books from this Author
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 October 28, 2010 by Orbit. 627 pages
Genres: Science Fiction & Fantasy, Action & Adventure, Literature & Fiction, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Surface Detail

The Guardian

See more reviews from this publication

But this is a minor quibble – the novel's real power lies in the absorbing questions it poses about the value of the real, as opposed to the virtual, about who or what is expendable, and whether a society is better held together by threats or by promises.

Oct 22 2010 | Read Full Review of Surface Detail (Culture)

Los Angeles Times

See more reviews from this publication

Fans of Iain M. Banks' Culture series will enjoy the sheer thrills of the latest mind-bender, 'Surface Detail,' but the many layers of reality may prove too much for others.

Jan 01 2011 | Read Full Review of Surface Detail (Culture)

The Bookbag

This is at least the eighth book to feature the Culture, which first started with 'Consider Phlebas' featuring the Culture's religious war against the Idiran Empire.

Nov 13 2010 | Read Full Review of Surface Detail (Culture)

MATTER, Iain M Banks's previous return to his best-known science-fictional entity, the Culture, was full of incidental pleasures and stupendous vistas but was a bit of a dog's breakfast in terms of plot.

Oct 20 2010 | Read Full Review of Surface Detail (Culture)

Bookmarks Magazine

Russell Letson Los Angeles Times 3.5 of 5 Stars "Banks has certainly imbued Surface Detail with excitement and energy, but ultimately the novel seems too long, and too virtual.

Jun 21 2011 | Read Full Review of Surface Detail (Culture)

Reader Rating for Surface Detail

An aggregated and normalized score based on 287 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes

Rate this book!

Add Review