The Lyre of Orpheus continues the story of the characters introduced in The Rebel Angels -- Maria and Arthur Cornish, Simon Darcourt, Clement Hollier, etc. I read the Cornish Trilogy straight through, and while I very much enjoyed it, I thought Davies ran out of gas somewhere in the Lyre of Orpheus. What I liked so much about the first two books was Davies' delving into the personalities of the characters; What's Bred in the Bone deals more with Francis Cornish, but goes very deeply into the forces that shaped his life. Davies has great insight into human nature. In The Lyre of Orpheus, the characters' motivations are not well explored. For example, we learn that a character's wife has an affair that results in pregnancy, and that the man, with apparently little ado, not only forgives his wife and treats her with undiminished devotion, but also continues to regard her lover as the dear friend he had been. Well, that's great, but uncommon, and Davies makes no attempt to explain this astounding level of generosity other than to analogize it to the Arthurian legend (but that was a legend). Similarly, we learn that Simon Darcourt has taken something of a new path in his life, but for motivation we are told little more than that, after taking a walk in woods, he has decided to view his life differently. Instead of helping us to relate to these characters, Davies spends a great deal of time educating us about how to produce an opera, evidently a great love of his. Opera fans will find this great fun, but it doesn't make for a great story. Finally, the analogizing to Arthurian legend of the characters' lives that permeates the entire work as a leitmotif becomes increasingly heavyhanded as time wears on, almost to the point of self-parody. In short, it's an entertaining read, but not up to the level of the first two parts of the trilogy.