Do your students complain about this "boring" text? My students always do; they just don't really get into it. After years of complaining, I decided to find a variety of activities to encourage participation and increase enjoyment.
After reviewing the history of the time period, I read the first part of the prologue with my students. Next I separate them into groups and assign them characters. I give them two or three class periods to identify and analyze their assigned characters as well as create a Wiki or Google presentation, (or any other presentation using technology). Then students begin presenting. As each group presents, the rest of the class record the information on their character chart. My students really enjoy this, because they don't have to go through the text for all of the characters.
This document contains handouts for students explaining the activity, a rubric for the content of the project and a rubric for the presentation of the project, a large chart for students to record information for all characters, and a detailed key for the instructor. The key contains a completed chart with information on all of the characters.
This activity is also a great alternative assessment; however, I do have a traditional assessment for sale as well. I also have other items for sale dealing with this text including a pilgrimage activity (performed around your campus!)