Book 2 of Elizabeth Knox's Dreamhunter duology.
This book starts off slowly with a recap of the previous book, but quickly picks up speed beginning with the second chapter. Knox's writing reminds me of John C. Wright's—mysteries from the first book are well-planted seeds that grow into explanations here, and the ending is quite complete except for one plot thread which the author obviously intended to leave open.
Once again, I noticed how most of the characters are so distinct in personality and actions, but I also noticed a few nameless throwaway ones. Also once again, the historical details (especially the inclusion of a certain major scene) are very convincing. The atheist vs. Christian debate continues and plays a role in the ending.
There is also premarital sex, although in the oblique fashion that, when I was younger, made me take a (children's) book to my parents and say, "I think it's talking about sex!" and then have to present my five different pieces of evidence from various pages to convince them. Well, actually, I don't think it was that oblique in this book. I don't know what the typical historical attitude towards it would have been, but the Hames and the Tiebolds are certainly not typical families.
Definitely a fun, exciting second half with a good ending (although if you like every thread to be tied off and snipped, you'll be disappointed). The attempt to let someone pick it up without having first read the first book, while perhaps well-intentioned, does slow it down somewhat at the beginning, however. Read Dreamhunter first.