Ilium by Dan Simmons

OK it is not Hyperion but Ilium is a darn good book. I finished it in about 3 days, engrossing. I know absolutely no Proust, and not enough classic Greek literature or Shakespeare, but I still found this book engrossing and am dying for the follow-on volume. But if you have never read Simmons before, go read Hyperion first; the Shrike has stuck with me the way few characters (or whatever) have.