Absolutely magnificent book. The characters are on a quest to save the world - but it doesn't feel (as too many quest books do) that they are on predestined paths. They make choices - wrong ones, and right ones - and live with the consequences of same. I was crying for the entire last three chapters - though it does have a (sort of) happy ending. And no deus ex machina - lots of dei, but even divine intervention flows from the rest of the story.