Excerpted from the Amazon description:
Fraa Erasmas is a young avout living in the Concent of Saunt Edhar, a sanctuary for mathematicians, scientists, and philosophers, protected from the corrupting influences of the outside "saecular" world... Now, in celebration of the week-long, once-in-a-decade rite of Apert, the fraas and suurs prepare to venture beyond the concent's gates... Powerful unforeseen forces jeopardize the peaceful stability of mathic life and the established ennui of the Extramuros—a threat that only an unsteady alliance of saecular and avout can oppose—as, one by one, Erasmas and his colleagues, teachers, and friends are summoned forth from the safety of the concent in hopes of warding off global disaster. [bold added]Oy. That's a whole lotta made up words and craziness there. Now, I have enjoyed the Dune series, and The Lord of the Rings, so I'm not averse to made up words and craziness, but the description of Anathem gave me pause. Then I saw the following cartoon from xkcd.com:
If you roll over the image, you should see the note that was included with the comic on the site. It says, "Except for anything by Lewis Carroll or Tolkien, you get five made-up words per story. I'm looking at you, Anathem." The probability curve above demonstrates my concern.
I do remember seeing a comment from Kyle Haight somewhere, and I think he said he liked Anathem. Kyle, if you read this, post a comment and let me know what you thought of the book.
In the meantime, I will continue to read and greatly enjoy The Fountainhead. I can't remember the last time I read it, but it was at least 5 years ago. Damn, what an amazing book.
See also: Book Review: The Baroque Cycle (04/08/08)