Banks, Iain M. -- The Algebraist

His first non-Culture SF story in a while. This is a classic artifact-chase through a gas giant, although (for a change) the gas gianteers aren't extinct, they're just secretive jerks. Everyone is fighting over the mcguffin, so there are huge space battles (unfortunately against a blood-soaked psychopathic sadist, who is about as interesting a character as the prop closet he was dragged out of). The vast sweeps of galactic history are nice, though. Fun read, except that (this being Banks) everyone gets screwed at the end.

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