I read this book about 7-Nov-2002. I've read this book before. The book is copyright 2001. This note was last modified Saturday, 19-Aug-2006 10:40:34 PDT.
This note does not contain major spoilers for the book.
This is my first read of the published version, but I read a manuscript version back before I started this book log. I note that I'm rereading this book, when I haven't read for the first time the book that beat it for the World Fantasy Award, and have no urge yet to reread the book which beat it for the Hugo.
I'm reminded again of what a fine job Lois does of showing just how weakened, worn down, exhausted, and fragile Cazaril is at the beginning of the story. It's very believable, and really quite terrifying. You rarely get to see the protagonist brought that low; to introduce him that way is remarkable. And even when worn down to a nub, there's quite a lot of character left. He feels old. Actually he turns out to be 36.
The plot is a nice "drawn along" sequence. Cazaril walks into things that he has to deal with. It helps that the gods are heavily involved. Since the gods in this world are clearly real, and their official religions actually do roughly what they're supposed to, they don't trigger my religion allergy. Oh, and the gods aren't malign thugs, that helps too.