By Iain M. Banks
Hisako Onoda, global recognized cellist, refuses to fly. And so she travels to Europe as a passenger on a tanker sure throughout the Panama Canal. yet Panama is a rustic whose politics are as risky because the neighborhood freedom opponents. whilst Hisako's send is captured, it's not lengthy earlier than the ambience is as flammable as an oxy-acetylene torch, and the strain as sharp because the spike on her cello. CANAL goals is a unique of misleading simplicity and darkish, unique energy: stark mental insights mesh with vividly realised situations in an ominous projection of world realpolitik. the result's another significant landmark within the really notable profession of a very good smooth novelist.
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Slowly, the asphyxia started to loosen its hold on her. She wondered if she was sinking or rising. tic tic tic. Ah. The noise of the boats peaked and passed. Her flippers met the soft mud of the lake bottom, and she kept on going down, her legs buckling slowly, knees folding. She felt the cool mud waft up around her thighs. She stopped like that, in equilibrium. There. She tested herself, taking a few deep breaths. No problem. Hisako opened her eyes, looked around at nothing but darkness. She brought her watch up, to make sure she could still see as well as to check the time.
Don't worry, lady,' Sucre said. ' she said, feeling her mouth stumble over the words. The strap resisted her. She tutted, leant forward, then Philippe held her hand, helped her. 'Hey,' Sucre said. ' She looked up, blinking, as the watch came free. 'Cellist,' she said, dropping the watch into the bag with the others. ' She only realised then that she hadn't thought of the instrument; of course, it might be at risk. She formed a question to enquire after its safety, then thought the better of it.
The automatic's muzzle looked very big and dark. She could see the rifling at the end of the barrel, producing a hole that reminded her of a gearwheel from an old-fashioned watch. A thin film of oil glistened on the gun's steel. ' grinned Sucre. ' 'I'm not the captain,' she heard Philippe say. ' Sucre stayed just as he was for a moment, then turned to look at Hisako, smiled broadly, and turned the gun round so it was in profile for her. ' he said. She nodded. He stuffed it back into his belt. ' 'Twelve,' Philippe sighed.