By Iain M. Banks

The dual Novae conflict were one of many final of the Idiran battle, and probably the most bad: wanting to evade their inevitable defeat, the Idirans had brought about now not one yet suns to blow up, snuffing out worlds and biospheres teeming with sentient existence. They have been assaults of wonderful percentage -- gigadeathcrimes. however the conflict ended, and existence went on.
Now, 8 hundred years later, gentle from the 1st explosion is ready to arrive the Masaq' Orbital, domestic to the Culture's such a lot adventurous and decadent souls. There it is going to fall upon Masaq's 50 billion population, collected to commemorate the deaths of the blameless and to mirror, if just for a second, on what a few name the Culture's personal complicity within the poor event.
Also travelling to Masaq' is significant Quilan, an emissary from the war-ravaged global of Chel. within the aftermath of the clash that cut up his international aside, such a lot think he has come to Masaq' to deliver domestic Chel's such a lot exceptional superstar and self-exiled dissident, the commemorated Composer Ziller.
Ziller claims he'll do whatever to prevent a gathering with significant Quilan, who he suspects has come to homicide him. however the Major's actual task could have a long way larger effects than the loss of life of a trifling political dissident, as a part of a conspiracy extra formidable than even he can recognize -- a challenge his superiors have buried so deeply in his brain that even he can't take into account it.
Hailed via SFX journal as "an very good hopping-on aspect if you've by no means learn a Banks SF novel before," Look to Windward is an awe-inspiring immersion into the wildly unique, vividly discovered civilization that Banks calls the tradition.

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Ribbons of slowly falling dust spiraled up around them and marked their progress. They knew that made them easy meat for a sniper, had there been one to shoot at them. Kyle scanned the area. The stars were smears of distant light. The crags, those that had survived, stood as they had for thousands of years. In spite of the fact that everything looked normal - it didn't feel normal - and that was what bothered him. Both because he'd been trained to make fact based decisions, and because the feeling was so strong.

Hong shot the axeman through the head, shot him a second time just to make sure, and led the charge that secured the room and fifty feet of passageway. With that accomplished, Kyle took a moment to assess the situation. A quick count revealed that the platoon had suffered thirty percent casualties, with the second squad being nearly all killed, the third having lost two men, and the first, which had passed through the locks last, almost untouched. So much for the walkover theory. If this was the Academy's idea of easy, it was a wonder that anyone survived to graduate.

Excellent. " Thrawn had turned, and was about to leave, when Jerec spoke again. "One more thing . " The officer turned at the sound. of Jerec's voice. " Thrawn was well aware of what Jerec wanted but nodded dutifully and said, "Yes, sir," with exactly the same intonation he had used the first time the order had been issued. Besides being a brilliant tactician, and even better strategist, Thrawn had still another virtue, and that was his absolute lack of ego. Something of a necessity for an officer with alien origins in a military organization rife with patronage and politics.

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