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Transitionby Iain M. Banks
Synopses & Reviews
There is a world that hangs suspended between triumph and catastrophe, between the dismantling of the Wall and the fall of the Twin Towers, frozen in the shadow of suicide terrorism and global financial collapse. Such a world requires a firm hand and a guiding light. But does it need the Concern: an all-powerful organization with a malevolent presiding genius, pervasive influence and numberless invisible operatives in possession of extraordinary powers?
Among those operatives are Temudjin Oh, of mysterious Mongolian origins, an un-killable assassin who journeys between the peaks of Nepal, a version of Victorian London and the dark palaces of Venice under snow; Adrian Cubbish, a restlessly greedy City trader; and a nameless, faceless state-sponsored torturer known only as the Philosopher, who moves between time zones with sinister ease. Then there are those who question the Concern: the bandit queen Mrs. Mulverhill, roaming the worlds recruiting rebels to her side; and Patient 8262, under sedation and feigning madness in a forgotten hospital ward, in hiding from a dirty past.
There is a world that needs help; but whether it needs the Concern is a different matter.
"Banks's latest novel opens with a warning from 'Patient 8262' stating that he or she is an unreliable narrator, before the epic takes off, plunging the reader into a whirlwind of intricately constructed characters and detailed accounts of their experiences as they 'flit' across multiple Earths. The cast of characters include Adrian, the greedy city trader, emblematic of the selfishness needed to become a 'traveler'; the Philosopher, an assassin who despises killing; a catch-me-if-you-can rogue operative named Mrs. Mulverhill; and the imperious Madame d'Ortolan, possibly the leader of the Concern, a vast multi-world organization that claims to protect worlds from chaos, but may also hide a greater, darker purpose. Banks's prose is elegant and electric and his story dizzying, but inevitable contradictions are brilliantly tied together — the only way many characters maintain sanity is to question everything, and readers would be well-advised to do the same. Banks manages the neat feat of synthesizing 19th-century style with the cutting edge, the irreverent with the philosophical, and the intellectual with the adventurous." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Suffice it to say that surprises are in store, as well as much slightly kinky lovemaking, a deliberate disordering of the senses...and, finally, a classic white-knuckle climax." Washington Post
A torturer, a hedge fund manager, and a reluctant assassin are among the strange characters found in Transition, a work described by the London Times as unexpectedly savage, emotionally powerful, and impossible to forget.
A world that hangs suspended between triumph and catastrophe requires a firm hand and a guiding light. But does it need the Concern — an all-powerful organization with a malevolent presiding genius in possession of extraordinary powers?
About the Author
Iain M. Banks, one of the United Kingdom's bestselling authors of science fiction, has written such highly regarded novels as Excession,/i>, Feersum Endjinn, Use of Weapons, The State of the Art, and Against a Dark Background. As "Iain Banks" he also writes mainstream novels, including The Wasp Factory and A Song of Stone. He lives in Scotland.
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