They wisely advanced then divorced the RPG from the card game timeline, presenting each clan in its most iconic form and giving some reference stiff for running in the various popular periods. We have a few guys in our group that found the setting too rigid for their style, otherwise I've always loved it. Couldn't tell you what's going on in the living world. On a side note, damn that first Clan War novel was amazing.
5th is my favorite edition so far. I can't put a quantitative reason behind why it feels like old AD&D without all the rules clunk, but it just does. Its like someone took a time machine and made 3e all over again with the lessons of modern RPG design we have now. That said, we've been playing L5R, Shadowrun, Savage Worlds, and Apocalypse World in addition to the standard d20 stuff for the past few years, and it's all really good stuff.