A few things about Tad Williams that I shoulda already known, just reinforced by this latest book:
1.) He is incapable of putting out a trilogy, even if he says he will. All three of his "trilogies" are really four books long. The only drawback to that is if you get to the third book (like this one) out of four and the narrative is driving faster and faster and then, without a real substantial stopping point for any storyline but one, it ends. And you have to wait till November to find out the ending.
2.) His mastery of narrative and pacing is getting increasingly good. This makes point 1 even more painful.
3.) He's still working out his Tolkien issues with deliberately mirroring some plot points and contradicting others. (All the best cowboys have daddy issues, as the LOST episode title goes ...)
4.) This one does seem a bit more conventional than the previous ones because Williams' real creativity will come in one or two really great plot twists, and since little comes to a conclusion here, you don't really get the benefit of those twists. However, a lot of a mystery of the last three books is cleared up well enough. This one almost has elements of a Western but no spoilers here.
In any case, if he can't bother to publish the whole book I can't be bothered to publish the whole review. I'll report back in November.
(Half my life is spent waiting for the resolution of cliffhangers.)