The going is getting easier on Anathem, but there is still no murder.
Stephenson's fantasy world is intriguing. There is a Lord-of-the-Rings quality to it. Erasmus (like Frodo) is at the center of the story, but it takes a group effort to solve the puzzles.
The world of Arbre contains monastery-like communities that are closed off to the rest of the world for one year, ten years, a hundred years, and a thousand years. Erasmus is part of a ten-year community. That means once every ten years a gate opens and the inhabitants can wander about in the outside world and the outside world can enter the walled community.
The latest character to be introduced (yes, they are still being introduced half-way through!) is a (potentially) mystical "millennarian." Because of extraordinary circumstances, the likes of which I still have to discover, he leaves his thousand-year community a long time before its gate is set to open.