Book Review: The Skin Map

2 Nov

Kit Livingstone’s great-grandfather has re-appeared with an unbelievable story–the ley lines throughout Britain are not merely the stuff of legends but truly are pathways to other worlds. So few people know how to use them, though, that doing so is fraught with danger.

But one explorer knew more than most. Because of his fear of being unable to find his way home, he developed an intricate code and tattooed his map onto his skin. But the map has since been lost and rival factions are in desperate competition to recover it. What none of them yet realize is that the skin map itself is not the prize at the end of this race . . . but merely the first goal of a vast and marvelous quest to regain Paradise.

Enter the ultimate treasure hunt–with a map made of skin, a playing field of alternate realities, and a prize that is the greatest mystery of all.


Stephen Lawhead is an internationally acclaimed author of mythic history and imaginative fiction. He was born in 1950, in Nebraska in the USA. His early life was lived in America where he earned a university degree in Fine Arts and attended theological seminary for two years.

His first professional writing was done at Campus Life magazine in Chicago, where he was an editor and staff writer. During his five years at Campus Life he wrote hundreds of articles and several non-fiction books.

After a brief and unsuccessful foray into the music business—as president of his own record company—he launched his free-lance career in 1981. In the Hall of the Dragon King was his first novel.

In 1986 the Lawhead family moved to Britain so that Stephen could conduct research for the PENDRAGON CYCLE books. They settled there permanently in 1990, with some years spent living in Austria and a sabbatical in the United States.

In addition to his twenty-four novels, he has written nine children’s books, many of them originally offered to his two sons, Drake and Ross. He is married to Alice Slaikeu Lawhead, with whom he has collaborated on books and articles. They make their home in Oxford, England.

Stephen’s non-fiction, fiction and children’s titles have variously been published in twenty-four foreign languages. He has won numerous industry awards, and in 2003 was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters by the University of Nebraska.

His middle name is ‘Ray’.


My Impressions:

When I first heard we would be touring with Stephen Lawhead’s The Skin Map, I was thrilled.  I am a big fan of Lawhead and have been looking forward to reading his new novel.  I scouted around the web looking at reviews, and what I found was discouraging.  There were a number of negative reviews that made me think that just maybe I would not like this book.  What book were they reading?  The Skin Map is great!

From the opening chapter I was sucked into this mind-bending, time and world-traveling adventure.  I liked everything about the book — the premise of ley lines leading to other-world travel, the search for a map that is key to unraveling the secrets of the ley lines, the interesting, endearing and sometimes quirky characters and the struggle between good and evil  I especially thought the women characters, especially Wilhelmina, were the strongest presented by Lawhead.

The Skin Map is book one in the Bright Empires series, so be prepared for some loose ends.  But that aside, I found Lawhead’s newest offering an exciting and thought-provoking read.  Don’t pick this up, unless you have time to read and read.  You won’t want to put it down.

Highly Recommended.


See what others are saying:

Red Bissell
Thomas Clayton Booher
Keanan Brand
Grace Bridges
Morgan L. Busse
Jeff Chapman
Christian Fiction Book Reviews
Valerie Comer
Karri Compton
Amy Cruson
CSFF Blog Tour
Stacey Dale
D. G. D. Davidson
George Duncan
Tori Greene
Ryan Heart
Bruce Hennigan
Timothy Hicks
Christopher Hopper
Becky Jesse
Cris Jesse
Becca Johnson
Jason Joyner
Carol Keen
Krystine Kercher
Shannon McDermott
Allen McGraw
Matt Mikalatos
Rebecca LuElla Miller
John W. Otte
Gavin Patchett
Sarah Sawyer
Chawna Schroeder
Kathleen Smith
Rachel Starr Thomson
Donna Swanson
Robert Treskillard
Steve Trower
Fred Warren
Dona Watson
Phyllis Wheeler
Nicole White
Elizabeth Williams
Dave Wilson


(I received The Skin Map from the publisher in return for a review.  The opinions expressed are mine alone.)


3 Responses to “Book Review: The Skin Map”

  1. Rebecca LuElla Miller November 2, 2010 at 3:01 pm #

    Very nice review. I had the same reaction as you before the book arrived, Beckie. I was so surprised because I have such high regard for Stephen Lawhead. He’s such a good writer, I just relax into the story, knowing I’m in the hands of a professional. The negative reviews are misleading!



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