How I love this book. I re-read it this summer for the zillionth time. This is the first of a trilogy which should be read back-to-back, as one book.
Actually, it is part of a quartet - the fourth book was written many years after the first three. Don't read it, it's not terribly good, and it ruins the whole feeling and flavor of the first three.
I adore the characters in these books.