The novels of Iain M. Banks have forever changed the face of modern science fiction. His Culture books combine breathtaking imagination with exceptional storytelling, and have secured his reputation as one of the most extraordinary and influential writers in the genre. 'Banks is a phenomenon' William Gibson In the winter palace, the King's new physician has more enemies than she realises. But then she also has more defences than even her most hardened adversaries could imagine. In another palace, far across the mountains, sits the regicidal Protector General. His chief bodyguard also has enemies to worry about, with the threat of treachery and assassination never far away. And beneath the surface of these feudal courts - behind the spies, murders, politics and intrigues - lies an entirely different kind of threat, an entity that nobody would ever suspect. Praise for the Culture series: 'Epic in scope, ambitious in its ideas and absorbing in its execution' Independent on Sunday 'Banks has created one of the most enduring and endearing visions of the future' Guardian 'Jam-packed with extraordinary invention' Scotsman 'Compulsive reading' Sunday Telegraph The Culture series: Consider Phlebas The Player of Games Use of Weapons Excession Inversions Look to Windward Matter Surface Detail The Hydrogen Sonata The State of the Art Other books by Iain M. Banks: Against a Dark Background Feersum Endjinn The Algebraist Also now available: The Culture: The Drawings - an extraordinary collection of original illustrations faithfully reproduced from sketchbooks Banks kept in the 1970s and 80s, depicting the ships, habitats, geography, weapons and language of Banks' Culture series of novels in incredible detail.