Fiction Reviews


(1995) Iain Banks, pub, 6.99, pbk, pp. ISBN

Isis Whit is the Elect of God and heir to the Luskentyrian sect, sent on a mission by the founder just prior to their main festival, held once every four years. Her mission is to locate and return to the fold her apostate cousin Morag. While away, Isis discovers that Morag is making sticky pictures; but back home Isis is being framed for stealing a holy substance. Can Isis clear her name? Will Morag return to the sect? What is going on?

Once again Banksie delivers reams of priceless observations on life on modern England, while creating characters of divine complexity, humour and courage. It probably goes without saying that Iain's mainstream work is much better than his SF (not that there's anything wrong with the SF...) but it is surprising that Iain has maintained this quality for over ten years. That wasn't a promise held out by The Wasp Factory, despite all the hype. If you're not into this stuff yet, I'd suggest you start with The Crow Road, then Complicity, and then you're hooked.

Tony Chester

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