By Iain M. Banks
(Simon & Schuster, Hardcover, 9780743200141, 400pp.)
Publication Date: November 2000
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From Silicon Valley to Scotland's Silicon Glen, Kate Telman trawls the globe in search of opportunities for her place of employment, cryptically known only as The Business. Though raised from girlhood to be a partner in The Business, Kate is still trying to navigate the mysterious world of the cabal-like organization whose origins predate the Christian church.
With tentacles stretching from the ice-fields of Antarctica to a remote Himalayan principality, The Business boasts possession of a book of DaVinci cartoons, pornographic paintings by Michelangelo, and several sets of crown jewels. Yet its exact nature seems to be vague to the point of invisibility. In the course of her journey, Kate begins to uncover some curious facts about her enigmatic employer, and to keep control of her life she must learn to do The Business.
In its first week out, The Business hit #3 on the Times of London's bestseller list, with tens of thousands of British readers having thrilled to this visciously funny commentary on corporate takeovers, the rise of the Internet, and other post-Cold War struggles for economic and political domination.