Meh. I liked the Culture and the World Building, and even the protagonist. But in the end it petered out and failed to sustain its own weight.
Better than "Use of Weapons", which built and built and built and built to a "The Horror! The Horror!" scene that was at once distasteful, obvious, and somehow anticlimactic.
Are all the books like this, Tragedies, where the darkness overshadows the light, the nasty bits most forcefully written? Maybe if I went in with that expectation… or maybe I'm missing something?
I'm just finishing Charlie Stross' 'Neptune's Brood', which is a pretty good space opera about interplanetary finance constrained by the speed of light. Stross isn't a poet, but it's a really fun bunch of ideas.