Hardcover: 410 pages
Publisher: Gollancz (2 April 2007)
Pardon me while I quietly rave about this.
This is Reynold's newest novel set in his Revelation Space setting, a place where, despite a lack of FTL travel, a space-based civilisation has taken root in the Glitter Band [sic]. This is a solar system full of habitats, with post-human Ultras, uploaded consciousnesses, Voluntary Tyrannies (it's so much easier if you don't have to bother with democracy), and a dazzling ten thousand different societies all co-existing, all agreeing on some basic rules, but all going their own ways.
Of course, in any feasible society, you need police. In this one, they're known as the Prefects, and they have a single responsibility - to uphold the legitimacy of the voting processes. But despite this, the story is effectively a police procedural, of a most unusual form. Our hero Tom Dreyfus has to cope with treachery, and a threat to the whole of humanity, as well as coming to terms with something from his past.
And one of his deputies is a real swine. Yes, a pig is a pig!
Reynolds is definitely up their with Banks and Co., one of a particular brand of British SF writers who've taken Sensa Wunda Space Opera and rebuilt it in a 21st Century mould..
It doesn't get much better than this.