As with all of Iain Banks' novels, I sat straight down and started reading avidly. This is a very different novel at the start to his other works, at first I was thinking it a weak novel, but then I found that I was being lulled into a sense of peacefulness, but still half expecting something to happen. When it happens, Banks managed once again to take over every emotion possible, and left me feeling completely drained. This is a masterpiece of writing, if it gets you the right way. My advice - read it from cover to cover without stopping for anything - if you dip in and out, you'll loose the mood.