I finished the book, and am fortunate that I have the opportunity to read for long stretches, which I know does affect the impact. It is much easier to lose the thread when one is forced to read in bits and spurts.
I found it an easier read than I had expected it would be, for some reason. (The lack of conversational punctuation did unsettle me at first, but I grew accustomed to it as I read.) Although it is my favorite genre, some historical fiction can be quite laborious to wade through, but this was engaging. I felt that the author's character development allowed me to get to know the characters, albeit some more than others, given the limitation necessitated by the number of characters presented.
It struck me as I neared completion that the author had managed to create a real microcosm of human nature, so to speak. We see just about every range of human character along a continuum from self-serving evil to blind ignorance and complacency to compassion and goodness. There are so many fascinating themes that are fodder for discussion that it is a bit overwhelming. One might be the personality/character/behavior of military leaders in time of war.
Something I WAS grateful for was the minimal amount of very graphic description of the brutalities represented. There was some, of course, but I was wary of there being much more...my imagination can supply all that is required to "get the picture", and an overabundance of blood and rape graphics would have possibly deterred me personally from moving forward in the book. (There is enough of that on the daily news!)
Anyway, this is my very first contribution to a discussion, and I am enjoying reading the comments so far. I will likely pipe up further in response to the comments of the more experienced contributors.