I picked this up for a fiver in Fopp, during one of my occasional rash spending sprees (I think I bought I couple of CDs and a DVD at the same time), but having read it, I feel guilty for having paid so little for such a good book. I'm a pretty big fan of Iain — both his sci-fi and his more mainstream stuff (although I think the distinction is pretty blurred, especially with things like The Bridge and Walking on Glass), and one thing I particularly like is his ability to generate a whole new 'universe' with each new book.
By contrast to his earlier 'Culture' universe, this civilisation is much less advanced, being restricted to STL (slower than light) travel and communication, and the outlawing of AI (which were so prominent in things like Excession).
If I were to criticise this book, I would have to say it leaves me wanting for more, particularly a desire to know what happens to some of the well developed, but under utilised characters in the book.
Anyway, I loved the book, and am planning on rereading Excession in the next few weeks.Rating: 4/5