Although I'm a longtime fan of Robert Charles Wilson's books, it's been awhile since I last read one of his new novels. While I can't say for certain why (it's been that long), I suspect the Spin saga had something to do with this; I've always felt that the others were unnecessary, and I didn't want to sully my memory of the first one with inferior sequels. Having fallen out of the habit of reading his books, I really didn't feel motivated to pick up the ones that followed.
That changed after reading the description of this one. I'm a sucker for time travel and well-done (i.e. no WWII wank) alternate history, and this one had both intertwined in its premise of modern-day Americans touring their Gilded Age past thanks to a time portal. As I read it, I was reminded of everything I loved about Wilson's books, which mix interesting ideas with well-developed characters and bring the plot to an enjoyably satisfying conclusion. In some ways it reminded me of Paul McAuley's Cowboy Angels, which also offered a mix of the two genres, though far less successfully than Wilson achieves here. While it falls short of my favorite Wilson work, I finished it determined to read the other novels that I missed. It's good to be back.