Because Keene has come a long way since he wrote that first book. Many other great books followed, and, even more, the Keeneverse is much more fleshed out now. As someone who has read almost everything the guy has written, minus the really hard to get limited editions, I loved how he ties this fantastic story in with his other works.
I am a bit in awe of how massive (and consistent) his mythology has become. I read somewhere that someone has mapped it all out and keeps track of all the references and cross connections and I believe it. There are tie-ins to a dozen other works.
Ok, back to EG2.
Picks up right where EG (or CW if you read it a while ago) left off. We blend some old characters with a bunch of new ones and we are finally sat down and told exactly how bad the situation, which we already knew was really really bad, is. Bleak doesn’t begin to describe it. Magical forces are at work and it most likely is waaay too late to do much about it.
The creatures get nastier, the creepiness gets amped up. We rush head long through a melting world hoping against hope to reach some place or portal of safety that may not even exist.
How long can you tread water while trying not to think of what hungry thing is rushing up below you?