Macleod writes wonderfully to create a credible alternative history, convincingly persuasive of the power of "aether" as the fuel that energises an imagined age. His characters, the three main ones, are powerful figures individually and in their relationship to eachother. I loved the landscape settings of the West of England,giving it a localised and distinctive particularity.The sense of reality fading to magic and then seamlessly returnig to the natural world is mesmerizing. An underlying theme of the laws of Natural Selection forming our outlook makes for an intriguing philosophical theme. A great story , beautifully told by a great storyteller.