Atkins makes the periodic table into a kingdom and takes us riding through its hills and valleys to understand what makes it tick.
And, I'm kind of impressed. Mostly I remember the periodic table as a dull thing, mostly having to do with rote memorization rather than anything actually interesting. Atkins actually makes things interesting, dealing both with the history of the table and the discovery of the elements, through the final understanding of why things work the way they do and the dawn of modern chemistry.
It was quick, and interesting, in its way. 3.5 of 5 stars.