I'm trying to identify a book from either the 1980's or 1990's. Cover is a man sitting on a throne of bones. The protagonist is a Galactic secret agent, who gets decapitated and has his head reattached by his handler, a woman. On one of his missions he shoots down a plane with a missile launcher. The man visits a woman in a psych ward. She hates him, and it is revealed that he is insane. The protagonist and the woman grew up together and he may have killed the woman's brother.

  • 4
    We're going to need far more details than that, and clearer details than short bullet-points which don't seem to follow like a story would. Take a look at this guide and see if you can add it any more details.
    – Edlothiad
    May 28 '18 at 13:21
  • There is a fantasy novel called, well, The Throne Of Bones, that has a cover like what you describe, although I doubt it features a galactic secret agent. Cover image: images.gr-assets.com/books/1287675216l/101991.jpg May 29 '18 at 13:43
  • Thrones made of skulls appear in both the Warhammer 40,000 and Dark Tower (Stephen King) universes. The latter has an iconic image of the Crimson King sitting on such a throne, but it doesn't seem like it was ever a book cover: vignette.wikia.nocookie.net/darktower/images/9/95/Dt7_ck.jpg/… May 29 '18 at 14:00

That’s Use of Weapons by Iain M Banks, the third novel published in his Culture series. I’m not familiar with the cover you describe, but all the plot elements are there, and a chair made of bones is also an important element of the plot. Are these names familiar: the protagonist is called Cheradenine Zakalwe and the sister he visits is called Livueta?

Note that there’s a plot twist at the end of the book which is revealed in the Wikipedia link above, and makes it difficult to describe the plot without serious spoilers.

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    I don't think that's it. Sorry.
    – Saulus
    May 28 '18 at 14:11
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    When I read your question.. I immediately thought of the same book as Mike mentions above. It was my first Iain M Banks book. It does have most of the elements you mention : the decapitation you mention and its re-attachment (complete with those doing the reattaching bringing a new hat for the patient), a chair made bones with a seat of skin. The Secret Agent works for the Culture's Special Circumstances...
    – johnm
    May 28 '18 at 14:56
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    @Saulus Can you name a reason why this is not it? Things that were in your book that are not in this one, things in this book you're sure were not in yours etc? Preferably as an edit to the question.
    – Mr Lister
    May 28 '18 at 18:06
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    Many books are released with different covers in different markets. May 29 '18 at 1:29
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    @AntonSherwood The bone chair in UoW is a plot twist, so I would be surprised if there's a cover that gives it away. But the 1996 Orbit cover hints at it: 3.bp.blogspot.com/-h3N-kDFZHjY/UV3MQw3jUNI/AAAAAAAAgko/… Somebody who's read that edition might remember the cover as giving away more than it actually did. May 29 '18 at 6:35

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