The Player of Games is a book that takes place in the distant future when mankind has spread out to fill the galaxy with what's known as The Culture. If you like science fiction you should love Banks vision of it.
Jernau Gurgeh is the arguably The Culture's greatest game player. The alien empire of Azad is ruled by the winner of a game called Azad. Will Gurgeh give up his decadent life in The Culture to play the game of Azad? With a little nudge he might, and the result could be an adventure he'd never imagine. Very highly recommended.