A Song Of Stone

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9780349110110: A Song Of Stone

The war is ending, perhaps ended. For the castle and its occupants the troubles are just beginning. Armed gangs roam a lawless land where each farm and house supports a column of dark smoke. Taking to the roads with the other refugees, anonymous in their raggedness, seems safer than remaining in the ancient keep. However, the lieutenant of an outlaw band has other ideas and the castle becomes the focus for a dangerous game of desire, deceit and death. Iain Bank's masterly novel reveals his unique ability to combine gripping narrative with a relentlessly voyaging imagination. The narrative technique and sheer brio of A SONG OF STONE reveal a great novelist at the height of his powers.

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Review:

This brutal tale starts in a bleak, brutal European any-war. Abel and Morgan live in a forboding castle, alone and isolated, until the conflict intrudes on their numb lives in the form of a cruel mercenary lieutenant and her violent, ravaging men who take up residence. From there, the tale disintegrates into darkness and atrocity, punctuated by Abel's memories of earlier joy and pain. Iain Banks pushes the story steadily downward, dragging the morbidly fascinated reader into the depths of human despair. Gang rape, torture, and incest are seen through Abel's uncaring eyes--this book is not for the squeamish. And although Banks strives for a Passion play in the end, what's missing is even the tiniest kernel of real redemption. Fans of The Wasp Factory and Banks's other non-science fiction works will find familiar details here, but A Song of Stone stands alone as a fable of hopelessness. --Therese Littleton

From the Back Cover:

A European nation not unlike Bosnia: armed forces roam the lawless land where dark columns of smoke rise up from the surrounding farms and houses. The war is ending, perhaps ended. But for the castle and its occupants, a young lord and lady, the trouble is just beginning.

Fearing an invasion of soldiers, the amorous couple takes to the road with the other refugees, disguised in rags. But the brutal female lieutenant of an outlaw band of guerrillas has other ideas. Just hours into their escape, the fleeing aristocrats are delivered back to the castle, where, now prisoners in their own home, they become pawns in the lieutenant's dangerous game of desire, deceit, and death.

A Song of Stone demonstrates Iain Bank's unique ability to combine gripping narrative with a soaring, voyaging imagination. This noir fable confirms his reputation as the master of things dark and debauched. Singular, haunting, and viciously wry, A Song of Stone is a tour de force of contemporary fiction.

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Banks, Iain
Published by Abacus (1998)
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