I think David Mitchell is a genius. You know how some authors write the same book over and over again? Not Mitchell. Everything I've read by him has been totally different from the last--Black Swan Green is my favorite--but they all quietly display an amazing, unpretentious skill in laying out a story line. Can't give away too much about Thousand Autumns, but it involves the Dutch East India Company's miniscule trading colony off the coast of Nagasaki around 1800. And a mysterious Japanese temple cult. And a love story. And western imperialism.