Where to begin... Ian Irvine is a truly 'great' writer of Science Fiction. In my opinion there can be no doubt. He writes in a manner that adds realism to the unreal and all of his books are epic in the extreme. His first series was an inspiration to me, forcing me to rethink the genre itself from 'trashy Sci-Fi' (please note, I use this phrase with affection, I love all Sci-Fi) to GOOD fiction and more importantly: GOOD literature. With this new novel "Geomancer", he returns to the world of his original series. He takes an already ambitious plot and backdrop and increases those features tenfold. There is a price to this however. In his entirely admirable pursuit of realistic characters and general population he has strayed a little into adding what I would describe as 'mumbo jumbo' or technical jargon. For those comming to Geomancer after having read the first series you will have no problem at all adapting and accepting this characteristic of the book and I am certain you will LOVE the novel in all its glory (in which case, read my rating as 5 stars, I insist). However, newcomers I feel will be more than a little overwhelmed, this is very sad indeed because it may very well cause them to put down what is a VERY good book and the beginning of yet another series of genius. For this reason alone I used 4 rather than 5 stars. I hope my words do not cause a single person to have second thoughts. I consider myself an intelligent reader (I guess I would though wouldnt I?) and I drew alot of pleasure from the first series, likewise I believe most other readers will feel the same way. This novel is in my opinion not as openly clever as the first novel of the first series, however its sheer scope and imaginative grounding is breathtaking. If the author can continue the series without stumbling, it should make a more than worthy -though slightly different- successor to "The View from the Mirror".