I'd been looking forward to rereading this, and as soon as I'd unpacked it I stopped unpacking and had a rest.
It's a long time since I revisited Russell's diptych and I was afraid that what I'd seen in the books wouldn't be there any more. But it was there, all right: likeable, witty, human characters, and an author who isn't afraid to wrench and torment and destroy those characters in the service of Story.
The pacing is splendid too, from the opening in media res to the climactic scene in which the plot is nailed home.
Theological aspects of the plot still work (and it's long enough since I read, and reread, and re-reread the book that I'd forgotten some of the finer points). And I still like Emilio Sandoz very much -- as does the author, and she makes no secret of it. I think that's what makes it so harrowing.