I always look forward to an Iain Banks but I'll never pay for a book. So books are either given to me or borrowed from the library or friends. If someone lends me a book, I'm pretty good at giving it back (but not perfect, I've still got Vox by Nicholson Baker that was lent to me by some bloke at Uni. I can't remember his name but I remember discussing with him setting up a businness based on airships.)
The Steep Approach to Garbadale is one of Banks' non-science-fiction ones. His gentlest yet. An aga saga even. Perhaps he's now the male Joanna Trollope? The Banks trademarks are still there. Strong female characters, theme of betrayal, fascination with aristocracy and wealth, a real understanding of the importance of technology and something I pretentiously call 'intellectual realpolitik'. There's also a plot similarity with 'A Song In Stone'.
As Banks matures, there's a sense of him handing down wisdom. This is not unwelcome. He doesn't preach. One of my favourite bits is when the main character compares Sophie to a personal religion. Long live Banks!