David Eddings has written what is essentially the same novel four times now, and while it is an undemanding read for those who have enjoyed his previous work, there is a real sense that inspiration was starting to wear very thin.
The writing is lazy. There is too much cutesy author commentary and too many lines and situations being recycled for the umpteenth time, (character X says something outrageous, character Y stares at him helplessly, then gives up and laughs; character X is profoundly shaken by the theological implications of pretty much everything Aphrael gets up to). There is a scattering of teeth-grinding anachronisms ('cookie' 'mom'). The darker themes in this novel - life in an oppressive church run state, religious persecution - do not reconcile well with the cast of familiar, cheerfully bickering archetypes. There's no real tension and no serious threat, since Aphrael is on hand to sort everything out at the drop of a hat. The enemy is unconvincing and there are few significant new storylines - this was the first Eddings book where I found reading a chore. I've read all the other series several times over the past few years, but I only made it through the Tamuli once, and now I'm finding re-reading it drags just as much.