Burlew's skill at characterization are what makes his Webcomic engaging, and the same is true with this prequel book. Each of the protagonists have traits that everyone can relate to, making it easy to root for the Order (even Belkar, because, yes, we've all had homicidal thoughts before). It was fun seeing the events that brought the Order together, though even Burlew tells us in his foreword that nothing here is essential to understanding and enjoying the ongoing Webcomic. I can attest to that. It's a fun diversion, but what background you need to know about the characters to understand their motivations is already there. The book is just for those who can't get enough of the series.