A hump book. I was hoping this would take Laurence from the despair of the previous book through healing and toward a new path in life; instead, it basically takes him from despair to resignation and drops him there. I have faith the next book will finish the healing process, but with just the first half of the arc, this one was fairly unengaging. Pacing was also off--a gazillion pages (it felt) spent blundering through Australia's heartland versus a handful on the genuinely interesting political revelations of the book's concluding chapters. This isn't the first book in the series to have weird pacing and stopping points, though. I wonder if it wouldn't be better of think of it as one book split into nine arbitrary sections for binding purposes.