Dark family secrets, a long-lost love affair and a multi-million pound gaming business lie at the heart of Iain Banks' fabulous new novel. The Wopuld family built its fortune on a board game called Empire! now a hugely successful computer game. So successful, the American Spraint Corp wants to buy the firm out. Young renegade Alban, who has been evading the family clutches for years, is run to ground and persuaded to attend the forthcoming family gathering - part birthday party, part Extraordinary General Meeting - convened by Win, Wopuld matriarch and most powerful member of the board, at Garbadale, the family's highland castle. Being drawn back into the bosom of the clan brings an inevitable and disconcerting confrontation with Alban's past. What drove his mother to take her own life? And is he yet ready to see Sophie, his beautiful, enchanting cousin and teenage love, at the EGM Grandmother Win's revelations will radically alter Alban's perspective for ever.