Against a Dark Background by Iain M. Banks

January 2007

Another day, another Iain M. Banks book. Banks can certainly be relied on for a jaunty romp through space, and Against a Dark Background has all the usual elements: intergalactic chase scenes, weapons of unimaginable power, shadowy figures, familial strife, religious cults—and, nicely, a powerful female protagonist. There are also some interesting scenes and ideas; the book starts with a gripping action sequence, and the “Sea House” in particular is a very vividly imagined setting later on in the book. It’s not the most brilliant novel on the face on the earth, but there’s nothing really wrong with it either (except maybe the ending, which was a bit too sudden and too lacking in any sort of resolution for my liking). A fun diversion, though not anything like Use of Weapons (which may be a good thing or bad thing, depending on your point of view).

Further reading…