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Well, that was disappointing. I guess I was expecting something with a bigger scope, that would put The Culture (Iain M. Banks' fictional spacefaring society) up front and center. Instead what I got was a story that read like a mediocre Forgotten Realms tie-in novelization starring a Drow IN SPACE! who happens to be a Chaotic Neutral long-lost cousin of Drizzt Do'Urden. Or, to come at it from a different angle, like you took Captain Kirk away from Spock and Bones, stripped him of his moral compass, and then put him through a series of wacky Flash Gordon-style space opera adventures. The book has an actual Wacky Wayside Tribe of dark-skinned human cannibals IN SPACE! and I don't know that it's possible for me to keep respecting any work that goes off and does something like that. The ending was... well, better than the rest of the book in some ways, but it artlessly makes a heavy-handed point about the brutality of war. Score: 1 star out of 4.