I read this book when it first appeared, many years back, and it inspired me with a desire to visit Sri Lanka one day, to see the places mentioned in the book. In this novel, Clarke combined his love of science with the love of the country he had come to call home. The idea of the space elevator is firmly based on hard physics (no transporter beams or other flights of fancy!). I love the way that Clarke has interweaved the modern with the past. In the opening chapter, with the king in his palace and the monks on their mountain he conveys the timelessness and depth of history that Sri Lanka (thinly disguised as Taprobane for the novel) has to offer. Even after many readings I can never read the passage where Morgan encounters the butterflies on the mountain without getting a shiver up my spine. And last year I achieved my ambition to visit Sigiriya (the real-life Yakkagala) and see the places mentioned in the story for myself. Like the novel, they did not disappoint.