"The Steep Approach to Garbadale" is the latest literary novel by Iain Banks. Alban, exiled son of the wealthy Wopuld family, has been invited back into the fold for a crucial meeting at the family's Highland retreat (the Garbadale of the title). For several generations the Wopulds have made their fortune in producing the boardgame "Empire!", but now an American corporation wants to buy them out. Alban plans to attend this meeting, not only to voice his opposition to the sale, but also because at this congregation - perhaps the last which will involve the whole family - he may be able to find from them answers to questions he has held long in his mind. What is the truth behind his mother's suicide over thirty years ago? And what are his true feelings for Sophie, his cousin and first love?