Every book I’ve read by Banks has been different from the last. Inversions, is no exception. In many ways, Inversions is the answer to the question, “What would it be like if Banks wrote a political intrigue fantasy novel?” A most unusual addition to the Culture series, this book takes place entirely on one planet, there are no space ships, there are no drones, and it is limited in feature entirely to a medieval planet.
It follows the dual story lines of a bodyguard to one king and an assistant to a doctor that tends to an enemy king. Even more interesting, the Doctor chapters are in first-person, and the Bodyguard chapters are in third-person. As always, Banks experiments with the form. As you progress through the novel, you come to realize that each point of view character is exemplifying an ideal: the Doctor represents the ideal of altruistic intervention and the Bodyguard represents the ideal of zero interference.
While I didn’t enjoy this novel as much as previous Banks’ novels purely for its plotting, the characterization is simply superb and provides an interesting diversion from the other Culture stories.