The title and the epigraph both are from the T.S. Eliot poem The Wasteland, which just happens to be a favorite poem of mine, by a favorite author. (Look to Windward is titled from the same piece.) That sort of thing is usually a good sign.
Not surprisingly, I picked up a few things this time around I'd missed in my earlier perusals. I love books like that. It's full of crazy-ass characters and their odd antics, but without distracting from the story. Like most of the Culture novels, it takes place on the fringes; what's more CP in particular is set during a war between the Culture and another race called the Idirans who have an expanding religious hegemony. It's told from the viewpoint of an agent of the Idirans, which I thought was a pretty clever way to write about a theoretical quasi-utopia and still make it different and interesting.
Now I'm reading Margaret Atwood's Bluebeard's Egg, a collection of short stories. And the infinity book, of course, and a work recommended by Neil Gaiman in his blog called: Lights out for the Territory by Iain Sinclair. I am resisting sitting down and reading through all of my 23 other Iain Banks books.