Firstly -the physical book: It's hardback, with crisp, clean paper and a bookmark sewn into the spine. Good production.
Secondly -the story: Before boring you with how much I treasure this book (and the epic twin visions of the march of history and life in the afterlife it constructs) I want to look at some of the things that other reviewers might miss.
This book will lead you to other classical works. It is heavily referential i.e. it refers to the works of other writers before Dante, many of them writing thousands of years before Dante wrote. Virgil, Homer, Augustine, Cicero -the author refers to the theories and mythologies laid down by these earlier writers, so that a close read will bring you on a mini-tour of classical and pre-classical writing. Some is scientific, some is mythological, some religious, some historical -the breadth of literature that Dante draws upon to construct his own epic is vast. I found that by the time I had finished, I had resolved to read a half dozen or so other books which I thought would interest me. It has cemented my interest in the classics.
Also, though Dante sets out a very precise blueprint for what the afterlife is like, the state of religion etc.: That does not mean that the reader cannot interact with the story to play with these questions today. Dante's story demands that the reader reflect on the great questions -Dante offers some answers, poses some questions, but most importantly is engaged with the key issues. His vision of the development of the world is at times absurd and parochial, and at other times majestic, but at least he did not back away from the big questions.
Finally, I want to simply state that I find the vast struggle with competing ideas of science, religion, history etc to be a rousing read. This is one man's vision of what underpins the world -it is not mine, it is probably not yours, but it is Dante's answer to the questions we all ask.