This one was much more emotional than the previous books in the series, and a great deal of character development. The crime and resolution tend to take a back seat to this focus. It also seems to prepare for stories to come.
I'm a fairly slow reader, and have been reading more lately. Douglas Adams, Roger Zelazny, Fred Saberhagen were my favorites when I was younger (I still remember them fondly). My favorite series lately is Richard Osman's The Thursday Murder Club.
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Estimated start date. Had to take a break after the part where they visited the Midwest that had been fully ceded to extremists. Just felt too real at the time. Just finished part five, which I enjoyed (it's good to see Enoch Root again, though I never finished The Baroque Cycle, so I don't know much more about him than what was in Cryptonomicon), though I've lost some of the thread in the interim. It's harder to find time for a book this big, so I'm taking another break from it.