I liked it immensely. I'd rate it as one of his best books, even though he has written many after this one. It's a simple, imaginative, and intelligent story that beats the controlled sharpness and successful plot devices of his later works (I wouldn't advise anyone to read Stranger Tides
.) Its twists and turns, escapades and patterns of setting adventures have influenced many: read Gaiman's Neverwhere
and Meiville's Kraken
-you know they both have been influenced a lot by Powers's novel.
It was one of his younger phases: I bet he was smoking marijuana, and plugged to an old Beatles album, while he chose to chase academics out of their closets.
Brendan Doyle as a Coleridge-expert impersonator? Brilliant.
The Ashbless fellow is a bad writer of poems, but a very likeable soul.
The part in the novel where Coleridge dreamwalks after a high-level opium dose, and absentmindedly starts speaking with monstrous creatures he considers part of his opium daze, is one of the highest peaks of speculative fiction.
The end is hastily constructed, yes. But the book definitely deserves a reading.