It took me a while to review this book, simply because this is not the kind of thing you can skim through. It is too complex, too deep, to hurry through. But it is truly worth taking time to read it and think about it, because this is more than just an epic historical adventure laced with magic (which it is). Under Heaven is also intricately plotted, without ever seeming to be unnecessarily so. It takes you on a glorious journey through ancient Kitai, marvellously detailed and evocative to the point where you can almost smell the perfume of the court ladies. Along the way it delves into philosophy, politics and human relationships with the understanding and skill of a genuinely great writer. It is a stand-alone tale, which ends with no clumsy trailers for future parts of a saga, yet leaves you wanting to have more of both characters and setting. Not a lightweight read, but in a world of throwaway stories, this is a keeper.