Top positive review
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Beautifully drawn characters and heart-breaking despair. A tell about one of the Culture's 'mistakes'.
on 17 July 2014
I have read all of Iain M Banks books, and I read Look to Windward the year it was first published in paperback in 2001.
This is a Culture book. In fact more than that it is the first Culture book. It is interesting to speculate that when Iain M Banks wrote this story he definitely was not thinking about a series or a trilogy, but as a stand alone novel.
To recap The ten books of the Culture are: Consider Phlebas, 1987; The Player of Games,1988; Use of Weapons, 1990; The State of the Art, 1991; Excession, 1996; Inversions, 1998; Look to Windward,2000; Matter,2008; Surface Detail, 2010; The Hydrogen Sonata, 2012.
The story of Look To Windward is a story of Culture intervention that goes horribly wrong. And it is told from the viewpoint of one soldier, one Major Quilian who during the course of a very short civil war lost his one true love. And here;'s the twist, in the Civilisation of the Chel, from where Quilian originates death is no longer final. Individual can have most parts of their bodies regrown or rejuvenated, they can backup their entire being into a soul keeper, and they can also pass into a heaven where they live on in another form.
Only here's the rub: the Chel mate for life. Quilian's one and only love dies in a vicious unexpected battle, so suddenly, so completely that there is nothing, no potential body rebuild, no soul keeper, no after life. hence Quilians' despair. although despair is a word that falls a million times short of what he actually feels.
I won't say anymore about the story, and I have not given anything away that will spoil your enjoyment.
This is a melancholy tale of regret and mourning. But like a sad song on the radio it draws you in and enlightens and educates you in the darker side of life. I've always enjoyed reading and re-reading this because the characters are so beautifully drawn, and the despair of Quilian so heart-breaking.