A well written, engrossing book, and the amount of research that must've gone into this is admirable. Also, the spirit of the various times this book was set in was portrayed very well--Kon was only too right to be afraid. However, the characters were a bit hard to take to, particularly Preston. Geez, what a selfish prick.I liked Kon better, though the sacrifices he made for Pres (and not with too much fuss)were baffling. Poor Ned was almost too good to be true--certainly too good for Pres. How he ever put up with being his friend for 30+years, I couldn't figure out. And I'll be grateful if I never have a doctor as unprofessional as Rayne treating me for whatever illness, however preeminent in his field he might be otherwise.