Having read the whole of the series up to this point, I felt that this book is one of the stronger ones, marking a significant improvement on 'The remains of an altar'. The book is very readable, the plot is more convincing than is normal for the series, and characters are fuller, their actions and reactions more believable than in some of the previous novels. There is less here of an obviously supernatural nature than in the earlier books and the break is fairly refreshing. In earlier books there are some issues with the adaptation to Kindle edition, this is less of a problem with this book.
I enjoy the working-in of local news and history by the author, it's quite fascinating. That said, the books seem to be developing a more political bent. While it's good to see country-side and heritage issues raised and while I'm sympathetic to the concerns over the handling of archaeological heritage (the Rotherwas Ribbon, in this case), urban-to-rural migration, and so on, I'm finding the increasingly political overtones occasionally uncomfortably heavy-handed.