It's a really long read, and there are many, many characters, each of whom may have several different names, and none of the names are easy for Westerners to remember; nevertheless, some very important mythological and historical characters permeate the majority of the book, for example Kwan Kung. You see a statue of Kwan Kung in a lot of Chinese businesses. He is a red-faced king who carries a long staff with a blade attached that is useful for chopping enemy heads off. His character is prominent, and his legend is understood by the majority of Han Chinese.
The story centers around the fall of the Han Dynasty, which is considered a "Golden Age" of Chinese History. I recommend reading this, just to gain an understanding of the attitudes and point of view of most Chinese. On the whole, most Chinese are very proud of their history, and most claim that the history is 5,000 years. Just keep reading, even if you're confused by the names and the discontinuities; by the time you're at the end, it should begin to sink in.