A civilization has suffered greatly at the hands of the Culture, who inadvertently caused a civil war through a bungled attempt to reform their society. The slowly emerging plot of the latest Culture novel involves the civilization's plans for revenge.
Look to Windward is about the lasting effects of war, and about the conflicting demands of morality, loyalty, and desire for revenge placed on individuals in difficult situations. It's also about the Culture in a more direct way than previous books have been: the Culture is shown to us through the eyes of outsiders who see the Culture for what it is, rather than being at the wrong end of its propaganda machine.
This book is very good -- one of Banks' best. The only drawback, for me, was the presence of a few overly long segments of argumentative dialogue about the Culture's decadent, careless attitude. These segments seem to be present in all Culture novels and never contribute much. Banks, even more than most authors, really shines when he is showing instead of telling.
copyright © 2001 John Regehr