I first read this book a few years ago and recently read it again. It impressed me as much now as then. This book has both atmosphere and a strong story, creating as it does a slightly different perspective on an otherwise traditional high gothic theme. To the very end of the book one is never actually provided with any concrete evidence that would tell the reader exactly what the Scarabae family is...it could just be the protagonist's imagination, indeed it could just be reader's. This book stands alone without any difficulty and despite being a part of a sequence of books based on the same characters, it is not an epic in the Eddings mould. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys intelligent character driven plot and especially to anyone who has a penchent for wearing more black than is strictly usual aside from in funeral parlours.
I bought this book about a week ago and couldn't put it down. Its a really captivating book. I loved every moment reading it. I have recommended this book to everyone I know...and it's definitly a book i'll reread.