Christopher’s previous life is not explored at all. Any of the memories of his wife or anything else are ever so brief. Even when he finds the night sky completely different from earth, he just concludes that he must be on a planet somewhere else in the galaxy – and moves on. And in order to find a way home, he needs to save the people against an undescribed enemy in an unmotivated constant war.
The beginning centers on Christopher’s reaction to being transported to a fantastical land by powers beyond his comprehension. His initial reaction is, quite predictably, shock and it progress as he grieves for the world he lost and his wife who was left behind (he literally bargains with a god). It is believable and not excessively angsty and he emerges from it dedicated to bringing some much needed justice to the world around him. The rest of the book alternates between impressive world building, whoever thought banking could be so fun, and action sequences. By the end it is clear that Christopher is not done growing as a character and that the conflicts he has faced so far are quite provincial. I was left with the feeling that as impressed as I am with SOTBL, the rest of the series will be even better.