This is one of the best books I've read in a long time. The story is compelling, the characters engaging, the plot continually twisting and turning, both physically and emotionally. I had a hard time putting this one down. The tale seems to flow almost effortlessly, each plot point encouraging the reader to discover the next. And I say 'almost' because there are some minor bumps in the road: grammatical errors, word repetition… Thankfully, these are few. There is one character, Katahn, who doesn't seem to stay true to his established pattern of behavior, and it is not clear to me why he made the surprising choices he did later in the story. The hero, however, is so very believable and so very appealing as he makes his way from purpose to despair to hope. The settings are colorful and spectacularly developed, as are the political, religious, and cultural aspects. I thoroughly enjoyed the weaving of fantasy and religion, and what a delight to read a story that tells about wicked, depraved characters without using vile language and gratuitous sex and gore! I look forward to reading more from this author!