This first novel is a delightful change of scenery from the realm of fantasy novels already extant. The characters are easily identified with as each have their own quirks and foibles which make their interactions dynamic and often hilarious. The mystery that is the novel's plot unravels slowly and intricately, foiling any attempt to predict the eventual outcome. The main character, Douglas, is quirky and modest but the author hints at a darker history that leads the reader to suspect that the old Douglas was not quite as harmless as we are led to believe, and that this other Douglas may just make an appearance somewhere in the next two novels (or so I hope!). Since finishing the book I quite often find myself wondering where the story is going to take these vivid characters that I have become quite attached to. Not to mention the fantastically satisfying insults the author has invented that are so easily integrated into everyday life. I eagerly await the sequel to this intriguing story and very much look forward to being introduced to more of the geography and peoples that Robinson has created. A great first novel that suggests more brilliance to come!