As the reviewer from the Atlantic Monthly points out, this book is half history, half historical fiction. This gave me a fundamental problem in getting into the book. The first half is decently written and attempts to get in the heads of various Irish monks in the Middle Ages, the second half provides the facts to back up the conjecture of the first. I preferred the second half, though that may be because I tend to enjoy my history a bit harder than most. I just didn't like the structure of the book. To me, what this book really is is a novella about an Irish Monastery on a rocky island with a novella-sized end note section. To me, the end notes were more relevant. I don't question the scholarliness of the work, just the presentation. Overall, not bad, but if you can get past the strange way it's put together, unlike me, you'll probably enjoy it.
Fun for anyone with even slight interest in history, Christian religion, etc. Part story, part historical text, very clever and interesting. I got bored about halfway through, which is why I didn't give this book a better rating, but I did finish it later and I thoroughly enjoyed it.