With a somewhat slow beginning, I gradually found myself more engaged with the story and immersed in the dystopian, theocratic vision Vance created here.
The intransigence of the bureaucratic regime, the resistance to change and the desperation with which people will cling to the status quo when they have even the smallest vestige of power is demonstrated wonderfully here. However unlike other writers in the dystopian vein, Vance seems unable to resist temptation and allow a hero to arise and all too easily dismantle the apparatus of power to bring about a revolution and liberation.
The great mystery that the story built towards and which the protagonist unveils at the end of the book I found quite a let down. I just didn't buy it and thought the regime collapsed all too easily. But until the end, I really enjoyed the book.