Alban McGill has a strained relationship with his extended family, the Wopulds, maker of Empire, one of the world’s bestselling games for more than a century. They are being drawn together at their remote Scottish estate, Garbadale, to decide whether to sell the company to a large American company. His cousin Sophie will be there, the one he’s loved from afar for twenty years, since their affair was forcibly broken up.
Banks weaves together multiple strands of Alban’s life, the torrid adolescent love affair, his mother’s early death, the renunciation of his career as a globetrotting family executive, the odd relationship with his current girlfriend, and the strain of the big reunion. Alban is a likeable if confused protagonist.