First off, I recommend against buying the Evinity Kindle edition. While it does have the original illustrations, it also has a number of errors, and breaks up the text with tags for the original pages—breaking up paragraphs and sentences willy-nilly. This is, I believe, straight from old Project Gutenberg files, though those do not have the pagination notes any more.

As for the book itself, it’s a 1922 proto-fantasy, using some tropes of the sword and planet genre. Though that last is really just an intro or broken frame to introduce the action. Supposedly, this all happens on Mercury (which here just means “not on Earth at any time”), and the initial viewpoint character is transported there as a vision and introduced to some of the major characters (for the benefit of the reader). After the second chapter, this device is dropped, and never mentioned again, so it’s not even a framing device. These days, there’s no problems with the idea of a landscape with people and places that have no reference to Earth, but I imagine an introduction was considered necessary when written.

Complicating matters is that it is written in Elizabethan English, making it a bit rougher for most readers to get through. It’s been praised for how consistently he keeps up what is effectively a foreign dialect, and doesn’t miss the mark, spoiling the illusion. That is beyond my ability to judge. The really rough parts are when a letter or other writing appears in the novel, as none of the characters are great scribes, and the text is an appropriately phonetic approximation of words that quickly becomes very tedious to parse through.

On top of the rest of this, the story is basically a chivalric romance, set in prose. (In fact, I could see Pendragon, with its passion system, being an excellent RPG for this world.) So, we follow the struggle between the island power of Demonland and the continental Witchland (tell me there’s not a parallel going on here…), as the hubris of Gorlice of Witchland has him demand fealty from the Demons, and war results. (And I will note that various fantasy staple terms are used here, demons, imps, pixies, etc., but they are more ethnicities than meaning to evoke actual fantastical powers.)

In the end, it’s certainly an important book, and generally entertaining in the high heroic mode of great men doing great deeds and leading great armies. Personally, the pacing was all over the place, with all the elements you’d expect: sieges, battles, heroes in single combat, beautiful ladies, politics, beautiful ladies politicing…. And a too-long sequence of climbing a glacier. If you are willing to buckle down with the language, it will reward you, but you have to be mindful of that going in.