by Iain M. banks
Interesting read setting the scene for the other Culture novels, although there is no real continuity between the novels. It describes the galactic battles between the Culture and Idirans on a scale hard to imagine, but well brought to life in the novel. Also a good introduction to the authors style for writing science fiction. I find it hard to read, but the stories are interesting enough to make me want to continue. And let's not mention the names he comes up with!