The first in a massively epic fantasy series based strongly on the Crusades and rooted in philosophical discourse and concept. This book is about the size of Jordan's Wheel of Time or Goodkind's horrid Wizard's First Rule, but it's actually good. A little slow to really start moving, but the world is so originally constructed and richly detailed, and the writing is such a relief (not brilliant but certainly very good) that the starting speed can be forgiven. There are many "main" characters and many initial stories and the perspective jumps between them--which can be a little frustrating if you get attached to one in particular. But the stories interweave and come together toward a common, gargantuan end that is only begun to be understood in this book. Overall an excellent read, almost more like a history than a fantasy.