• Transition

  • By: Iain Banks
  • Narrated by: Peter Kenny
  • Length: 13 hrs and 37 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Release date: 03-09-09
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Hachette Audio UK
  • 4 out of 5 stars 4.1 (234 ratings)

Summary

A world that hangs suspended between triumph and catastrophe, between the dismantling of the Wall and the fall of the Twin Towers, frozen in the shadow of suicide terrorism and global financial collapse, such a world requires a firm hand and a guiding light. But does it need the Concern: an all-powerful organisation with a malevolent presiding genius, pervasive influence and numberless invisible operatives in possession of extraordinary powers? On the Concern's books are Temudjin Oh, an un-killable assassin who journeys between the peaks of Nepal, a version of Victorian London and the dark palaces of Venice; and a nameless, faceless torturer known only as the Philosopher. And then there's the renegade Mrs Mulverhill, who recruits rebels to her side; and Patient 8262, hiding out from a dirty past in a forgotten hospital ward.
As these vivid, strange and sensuous worlds circle and collide, the implications of turning traitor to the Concern become horribly apparent, and an unstable universe is set on a dizzying course.
©2009 Iain Banks (P)2009 Hachette Digital
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Regular price: £17.99

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Mike on 10-11-09

Audio book of the year

This manages to get past the troubling multi-character recounting of the plot by the skillful vocal work of the narrator. At no point are you unsure about who is leading the story. A witty, evocative and sly piece of storytelling, greatly enhanced by being an audio book. What the medium was intended for. Fantastic.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Alison Page on 21-09-09

Oh boy

I haven't finsihed this yet but I'm really enjoying it. I think it's the best by him I have read/heard for some time. In addition the reading is lively and characterful, well suiting the tone of the book.

The premise - revealed pretty early on so I don't think this is a spoiler - is a bunch of people leaping from body to body in Quantum Leap style, but rather than back and forth within history, between an infinitude of parallel Earths. Banks has an unusually powerful imagination, and he's used it to render each world with depth of detail in a quick vignette, rather than to produce a shallow cavalcade of implausible exotica. The writing too is controlled and either lyrical or cynical as it needs to be.

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8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Peter on 25-09-10

Complicated but a great ending.

If you like your stories complicated, you'll love Transition. Just keep track of which character is currently narrating and you'll be thoroughly entertained.

Iain Banks once again applies his unique perspectives and sporadic comedic genius to a supremely well thought-out plot constructed of ideas not often approached with such enthusiasm and expressed in such detail.

Very deep and philosophical in parts; sometimes long-winded but never boring. Definitely worth the time just for the last few chapters - especially the final paragraph of the epilogue. Very satisfying end.

Be aware of graphic sex and violence however the more elaborate and unconventional occasions are highly entertaining, even if occasionally too in-depth.

Narrator is excellent as always. Peter Kenny also read The Wasp Factory and has no trouble keeping the many and greatly varying character roles distinct and true to their natures. Australian and American accents are weaker but not only very brief in the story. Very glad that the reader is British.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

2 out of 5 stars
By Andrew C on 09-04-12

Hard to see what the fuss is about

What disappointed you about Transition?

Two hours into it, and I'm still not sure why I'm listening, whether there is a plot and why the characters are meant to be interesting.

What was most disappointing about Iain Banks’s story?

The plot is very oblique, disjointed, and nothing that smacks of the brilliance of Excession, The Algebraist or Surface Detail.

What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

Peter Kenny, a great narrator, doesn't really shine either, because there is so much text by the first person writer.

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