Iain M. Banks
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Iain M. Banks, the international bestselling author of The Player of Games and Consider Phlebas, is a true original, a literary visionary whose brilliant speculative fiction has transported us into worlds of unbounded imagination. Now, in his acclaimed new novel, Banks presents an engrossing portrait of an alien world, and of two very different people bound by a startling and mysterious secret.
On a backward world with six moons, an alert spy reports on the doings of one Dr. Vosill, who has mysteriously become the personal physician to the king despite being a foreigner and, even more unthinkably, a woman. Vosill has more enemies than she first realizes. But then she also has more remedies in hand than those who wish her ill can ever guess.
Elsewhere, in another palace across the mountains, a man named DeWar serves as chief bodyguard to the Protector General of Tassasen, a profession he describes as the business of "assassinating assassins." DeWar, too, has his enemies, but his foes strike more swiftly, and his means of combating them are more direct.
No one trusts the doctor, and the bodyguard trusts no one, but is there a hidden commonality linking their disparate histories? Spiraling around a central core of mystery, deceit, love, and betrayal. Inversions is a dazzling work of science fiction from a versatile and imaginative author writing at the height of his remarkable powers.
the King. Nor any more able to offer requital.' I wondered stupidly what she meant for a moment before realising, and feeling a terrible sadness fall slowly on my soul, as though a great shroud had been dropped inside me, settling with a sorrowful, implacable inevitability over all my hopes and dreams, obliterating them for ever. She put one hand to my cheek, and her fingers were still warm and dry and tender and firm at once, and her skin, I swear, smelled sweet. 'You are very precious to me,
my righteous indignation and so decided to do as I commanded. The Duke's man looked terrified, but did as he was told. I buttoned up my jacket to further secure the note, found the Doctor's bag and hurried to the King's chamber with my escorts. The Doctor had turned the King on to his side. She knelt by his bed, stroking his head in a distracted way, fending off questions from Doctor Skelim. (A reaction to something in his food, probably, she told him. Extreme, but not poison.) You stood,
shook violently for a few moments, then stiffened suddenly and finally went limp. The Doctor stepped towards him and went to put her hand to his neck but she was knocked aside by Nolieti, who gave an angry, anguished shout of his own and reached through the iron hoops to place his finger on the pulse-point on the neck which the Doctor has taught me is the best place to test the beat of a man's vitality. The chief torturer stood there, quivering, while his assistant gazed on with an expression of
pool and hit the water so hard that he knocked himself out, but the two other friends rescued him and brought him back to the grass by the side of the pool. They were still slapping his cheeks and trying to press water out of his lungs when Sechroom appeared from the water, her head and neck all bloody and stumbled up to see how her friend was.' 'She was alive!' 'She had struck her head on an underwater rock when she'd fallen into the pool and had nearly drowned, but she'd been brought up to
local gods, and the two of them were left to fend for themselves in the wilderness. They could still find fruit to eat and water to drink, and they were able to make a shelter from the giant leaves of trees. They had with them bows and arrows and a pair of blow-pipes which fired poisoned darts, too. They had made these before they had come on the holiday and were quite proud of them They used the bows and blowpipes to go hunting for some of the animals on the island, though the animals were not