This is an amazing fantasy atlas, period. Forget Tékumel. As the description of an imagined land, it's one the best fantasy guides I've read in years. Although crammed with information, it didn't overwhelm me into some paralysing stupor. Instead, it made me want to play ... in this case, on Tékumel!
The Kurt Hills, as a geographical zone, offer a great balance of well settled, cultivated regions and wild areas filled with sometimes unfriendly locals and weird flora and fauna; the Hills pretty much look like the world-famous karst hills of tropical South China. A referee could plop his or her group of adventurers anywhere in the Kurt Hills and have them immediately caught in a web of local stories, traffics, and long established politcal deals and relationships that would take many campaigns to unravel and weave through.
The Kurt Hills are divided into large hexagons, which are themselves subdivided into smaller hexes. Each chapter of the book starts with an overview of a particular Large Hex before going into more or less short entries on the unique features that dot the land, one Small Hex after another.
So what do we get? Everything! New plant and animal species, weird ruins, and beautiflly detailed bits on unique local customs (related to weddings, cultivation, hunting, charcoal making techniques, etc.). We get important NPCs (clan leaders, politicians, priests, "a valuable slave", etc.), bizarre cults, local folk tales, stange hills, creepy swamps, hints of large underground ruins, new sorts of Underpeople (who are numerous in the area, thanks to its remoteness), exotic local delicacies, plenty of local, colorful politics and rumours, unique biomes, etc.
It's rich ... and it feels alive.
The Index is fantastic It's very detailed and thorough, which makes up for the lack of hyperlinks. Thank the gods for great Tékumel-related indexes. If there's one fantasy world that requires it, it's M.A.R. Barker's fantastic creation. And this book has it.
My one complaint would be that the PDF lacks hyperlinks set up within it to help readers go from one reference to another with ease. Also, there are typos. These could easily be fixed in version 2.0 of the book though (if it ever happens); more importantly, none of them make reading the text difficult or confusing.
The Kurt Hills Atlas is a book you're going to want to use and not simply add to your collection of fantasy atlases as it's basically a giant, richly detailed sandbox that could easily keep your PCs adventuring for years.
It is a slow read. So, don't think you'll get through it in a week. You could, but then you'd miss all the unique flavours and, yes, the jokes, the pop-culture references, and the puns (I want to try that Mársara wine badly!). Take your time. Enjoy the friendly and not so friendly encounters, the sights and the smells, pleasant and otherwise. It's worth it.
A remarkable achievement.