Let me begin by making it clear that this is a review of the abridged and annotated version of the Secret Doctrine produced by Michael Gomes and NOT the Secret Doctrine as written by H. P. Blavatsky and published in 2 volumes in 1888. The publisher's advertorial for this abridged and annotated version is filled with inaccuracies and misstatements that simply cannot be allowed to pass unnoticed and unremarked.
The claim that the book has previously only been available "in expensive, two-volume editions of some 1,400 pages" is factually untrue. A verbatim facsimile of the original edition of 1888 has been continuously in print for more than 30 years, as my own, personal, tattered copy from 1978 testifies. This is the edition produced by the Theosophical University Press of Pasadena, California (ISBN 978-1557000026) and currently costs just $27 from Amazon.com. Moreover, the same publisher also provide an online electronic edition (ISBN 1-55700-124-3) and PDF download, both of which are free of charge. So far from placing Blavatsky's master-work "within reach of all who are curious" -- to use the publisher's own phrase -- they are charging the sum of £11.99 when the "curious" can read the original edition for nothing!
The publisher's claim that: "(the book) has long eluded the grasp of modern readers until now" is disingenuous sophistry of the worst possible kind. The only readers whose grasp it has eluded are those who are unwilling or incapable of opening their minds to the possibility that modern science and our modern 'experts' do not have all the answers. The original book is no more "difficult" to read than Charles Darwin's 'On the Origin of Species', written some 30 years EARLIER than the Secret Doctrine, and still widely read today by all those who want the genuine article rather than some edited "highlights" or "cliff notes."
The publisher goes on to say: "Gomes scrupulously scales down the book's key writings on symbolism to their essentials, and offers notes and a glossary to illuminate arcane references." Does he really? One is tempted to ask how Gomes knows these "essentials" when Blavatsky apparently did not? Had she done so she would presumably have "edited them down" herself. The implied inference cannot be avoided that Gomes considers himself both wiser and more capable than the author whose work he has 'edited.' A less charitable view might be that in cutting nearly 80% of Blavatsky's text, Gomes has ably succeeded in turning a silk purse into a sow's ear. Does any intelligent reader imagine for one moment that an author of H. P. Blavatsky's immense erudition and dedication to verisimilitude included her many detailed explanations of occult symbolism simply to pad out the book. Or that she included so many "arcane" references and annotations simply out of pedantic malice toward her future readers?
No doubt Michael Gomes means well and had the best of motives in producing this book to appeal to a wider audience. Whether Blavatsky ever intended her master-work to appeal to the merely "curious" Gomes seems so anxious to reach, is a moot point. On the evidence of her many letters and writings I should say that she did not expect more than a tiny handful of readers to appreciate the profound Truths revealed in the Secret Doctrine, and even fewer to comprehend them. What we all know is that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. And it is precisely such well-intentioned (and sometimes less well-intentioned) 'meddlers' like Michael Gomes who have been responsible for distorting and misrepresenting the sacred writings of all times. And H. P. Blavatsky's many famous and erudite admirers, both past and present, which included Albert Einstein, most definitely regarded her master-work as a sacred writing of the highest order. Whether they would regard Gomes' edition in the same light is open to question...
In conclusion, I would respectfully suggest that anyone who is sincerely interested in studying what H. P. Blavatsky actually wrote, as opposed than what some busybody of an editor thinks she OUGHT to have written, to leave this version on the shelf.