Two and a half stars for me by the GR system; 'okay' verging on 'I liked it.' My appreciation could probably benefit from a second read. Ultimately, I can see where others liked it, but it's not executed in way I enjoyed.In some ways, it reminds me of Connie Willis' To Say Nothing of the Dog in that while there is some time traveling, there is very little of technological surprise, and most of it takes place within Victorian England. In similar fashion to TSNotD, a historian accidentally gets left behind; in this case, he is kidnapped shortly after his time-traveling group goes to England to hear Coleridge speak.The magic system isn't well explained, but involves some Egyptian spirit theory and some earth magic, and perhaps the most interesting developments of the book are when these devices are employed or executed. The fact that it isn't well explained, however, contributes to the choppiness of the overall story. The plot was interesting, and Powers develops a number of characters that grew on me, but the execution was rough and choppy. A body-switching spirit comes into play, and by the second half of the book, at points we only know there has been a switch by a death scene and new names coming into play. It becomes distracting and confusing to know who is important to plot and character development, as body switches and secondary characters enter and are quickly dropped. When the main character, Doyle, first escapes from his kidnappers, we quickly go through a score of characters, and neither he, nor us, apparently, are supposed to look back. Frequent references to poets like Byron and Coleridge, and the general Victorian setting--a period which I normally avoid-- and it only adds to the confusion. The initial scene probably started me out with a number of wrong assumptions, as it created some sympathy for the both the main antagonist and his boss, but it was sympathy that would never be recaptured through the course of the story.