Consider Phlebas

Consider PhlebasConsider Phlebas by Iain M. Banks
Published by Orbit on 2008-03-26
Genres: Action & Adventure, Fiction, Hard Science Fiction, Science Fiction, Space Opera
Pages: 544
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The war raged across the galaxy. Billions had died, billions more were doomed. Moons, planets, the very stars themselves, faced destruction, cold-blooded, brutal, and worse, random. The Idirans fought for their Faith; the Culture for its moral right to exist. Principles were at stake. There could be no surrender.

Within the cosmic conflict, an individual crusade. Deep within a fabled labyrinth on a barren world, a Planet of the Dead proscribed to mortals, lay a fugitive Mind. Both the Culture and the Idirans sought it. It was the fate of Horza, the Changer, and his motley crew of unpredictable mercenaries, human and machine, actually to find it, and with it their own destruction.

Consider Phlebas is the first book in Ian. M. Bank’s Culture series and demonstrates his talent for suspense in a pretty hard core sci-fi novel detailing the exploits of a shape shifting secret agent of the Iridans.

Undertaking a clandestine mission to a forbidden planet in search of a fugitive artificial intelligence, Consider Phlebas is a serious space opera set in the midst of a war between two galactic empires.

The scale of the universe Banks paints is immense and apparently the rest of the series only gets better.

Gentile or Jew
O you who turn the wheel and look to windward,
Consider Phlebas, who was once handsome and tall as you.

T.S. Eliot