This was another excellent example of the way Powers takes real events and people in history, and weaves absolutely wild and crazy, well-plotted stories around them in a way that makes it seem like the real, and much more interesting, story was never recorded in the history books. It also contains the elements that are common to so many of his stories--guilt, dead wives, the drinking of lots of alcohol, and characters who are heavily abused, but redeemed in the end.
You know I think Powers is a fantastic writer, if you've been hanging around here for very long, so understand that the one minor poke I'm going to take at his writing style is offered with love and more love. There's this feature of his earlier work that can be a bit distracting, and that's the way he uses pauses, followed by... italics, so as to emphasize certain words and sound a bit mysterious. When done too many times throughout a novel, that style choice can come across as self-conscious, and rather... Shatner-like, at least when I hear it inside my head. That was a feature of this book. I think that he's toned it down in his last few novels. I would still recommend this book to people who like dark fantasy, and you'll get a special kick out of it if you're interested in the Romantic poets and/or vampires.