The Algebraist is Iain M. Banks‘ most recent science-fiction novel. Most of his SF novels are set in the universe of the Culture. This one is assuredly not. Artificial Intelligences are hated and persecuted.
Fassin Taak is a human Slow Seer, a sort of anthropologist who studies the Dwellers, an extremely long-lived race who live on gas-giant planets scattered across the galaxy. He is recruited by his government to investigate rumors of a secret list of wormholes, which would yield new, high-speed routes across the galaxy. At the same time, news arrives of the invading fleet of the Starveling Cult, led by the Archimandrite Luseferous.
The Dwellers operate from fundamentally different principles than the ‘Quick’ races like humans. Individuals live millions, occasionally billions, of years. They are supreme dilettantes, with boastful but unbelievable claims of superior technology. Taak comes to realize that there’s more to the Dwellers than was previously known.
Exciting and entertaining. This book was nominated for a Hugo in 2005.