I almost didn't pick this ARC up at ALA in January. At nearly 600 pages, it's definitely a TOME. But I did glance at the back and decided it sounded interesting enough to carry home with me.
I'm certainly glad I took it! This was an utterly fascinating, multi-faceted stories. It has vampires and witches and romance, but it's like no other paranormal I've read (and I have read quite a few). It has history and mystery and magic. It has alchemy and medieval science and genetics and modern DNA research. The characters are real and complex and the writing sings and moves. Parts of the plot, notably the scientific and historic digressions, can slow down a little, but there's plenty of action and suspense to move things along.
The only comparison I can make to this book is, oddly enough, Dorothy Sayers. It gives me the same feeling of sitting off to the side listening to incredibly intelligent, well-read people converse with the same bright moments when I realize I understand what they're saying.