I had to read this for a semester of Genre Fiction Workshop, and it was the first piece of pure fiction I'd read since whenever I finished A Canticle for Leibowitz. While it came across as a little complex with the number of characters and plots, it pulled together at the end and was written in a way that kept me reading a couple of chapters a day until it was done.
At the time of the publishing deal, this book received the highest-ever advance for a work of fiction. That came after a long period of shopping it around and being unanimously rejected. Connolly took some five years to complete this book, after waffling around with the prologue and spending his life savings on research, but since then he's proceeded to produce a new novel every year. I think that, regardless of the quality of this book, there's a lot of inspiration to be taken from looking at the author's journey.
Anyway, a decent book and I'll probably revisit it someday to make a little stronger sense of who all the characters were and how the plots all tied together.