Book Review: The Bone House

24 Oct

One piece of the skin map has been found. Now the race to unravel the future of the future turns deadly.

An avenue of Egyptian sphinxes, an Etruscan tufa tomb, a Bohemian coffee shop, and a Stone Age landscape where universes collide …

Kit Livingstone met his great grandfather Cosimo in a rainy alley in London where he discovered the reality of alternate realities.

Now he’s on the run – and on a quest, trying to understand the impossible mission he inherited from Cosimo: to restore a map that charts the hidden dimensions of the multiverse while staying one step ahead of the savage Burley Men.

The key is the Skin Map – but where it leads and what it means, Kit has no idea. The pieces have been scattered throughout this universe and beyond.

Mina, from her outpost in seventeenth-century Prague, is quickly gaining both the experience and the means to succeed in the quest. Yet so are those with evil intent, who from the shadows are manipulating great minds of history for their own malign purposes.

Across time and space, through manifest and hidden worlds, those who know how to use ley lines to travel through astral planes have left their own world behind in this, the second quest: to unlock the mystery of The Bone House.

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.

My Impressions:

Please note:  It is imperative that you read The Skin Map before you read The Bone House.  Otherwise you will be as hopelessly lost as some of the characters in the books!   My review of The Skin Map.

I really, really, really liked Stephen Lawhead’s The Skin Map.  I liked The Bone House.  While this newest book in the Bright Empires series answers many of the questions of the first book, I had a hard time getting into the flow of this novel.  I struggled with the first third or so of the book, until I told myself to relax and just enjoy the new storylines and characters that were introduced.   By the end of the book I was caught up in the newest adventures of Kit and then, bam, a new cliff-hanger.  I am hoping the next book, The Spirt Well, will grab my attention much quicker.

The Bright Empires series centers on the practice of ley travel — a type of inter-dimensional time travel, not the back and forth kind you might be familiar with, but travel to other times and places in world history that are interconnected to the home world of the traveller.  Kit Livingstone literally falls into this adventure and is taught ley traveling by his great-grandfather, Cosimo. Cosimo and his allies are on the hunt for a map of the leys that was tattooed on the skin of noted ley traveller Arthur Flinders-Petrie.  In this quest, they encounter some really bad men who are intent on finding the skin map as well.  The stakes are high — manipulation of history — and people have been killed in the search.   The Bone House continues this quest.  It also reveals some of the back stories that were missing in The Skin Map — just who is the Black Earl and how in the world did Mina start ley leaping?  Lawhead provided a list of characters and a recap of the first book at the beginning of The Bone House; a very necessary addition for this reader.

Some new characters and plot lines were introduced as well and it was difficult at times for me to figure out just who and when these people were.  Arthur’s son Benedict, grandson Charles and great-grandson Douglas (or the ABCDs as I called them) make appearances and I’m not sure what side they are one.  Everything is so mysterious.  The continuation of Kit’s bumbling, stumbling ley leaping was the bright light for me.  I loved his acclimation into caveman society, and his dawning knowledge of their humanness.  And all the talk of immortality — from ancient Egyptians and Etruscans to medieval philosophers and 19th century explorers will undoubtedly be expanded in The Spirit Well.

So would I recommend The Bone House?  Yes, but only after you’ve read The Skin Map.


Check out what the other reviewers on the tour are saying:
Noah Arsenault
Red Bissell
Thomas Clayton Booher
Morgan L. Busse
CSFF Blog Tour
Jeff Chapman
Carol Bruce Collett
Karri Compton
D. G. D. Davidson
Theresa Dunlap
April Erwin
Victor Gentile
Tori Greene
Ryan Heart
Bruce Hennigan
Timothy Hicks
Christopher Hopper
Janeen Ippolito
Becca Johnson
Jason Joyner
Carol Keen
Krystine Kercher
Katie McCurdy
Shannon McDermott
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Joan Nienhuis
Chawna Schroeder
Kathleen Smith
Donna Swanson
Rachel Starr Thomson
Robert Treskillard
Steve Trower
Fred Warren
Phyllis Wheeler
Nicole White
Rachel Wyant

(I received a copy of The Bone House from the publisher in conjunction with the CSSF Blog Tour.  The opinions expressed are mine alone.)

5 Responses to “Book Review: The Bone House”

  1. Phyllis Wheeler October 24, 2011 at 10:07 pm #

    Your reactions to this book mirror mine. I am really liking the series, now that I’m understanding more about the world(s) Lawhead is creating. I wonder where he’s going with it?

    • rbclibrary October 25, 2011 at 6:50 am #

      I wonder about his direction too. It seems there are more loose ends and unanswered questions in this book than the last. I thought this was a b 3 book series, but am wondering now if there are more than that.

  2. Rebecca LuElla Miller October 26, 2011 at 1:30 pm #

    I think Mr. Lawhead said in the series trailer that it’s a five book series. It is very intriguing. He’s taken a lot of time developing this story and done a lot of study. I’m not surprised it’s got these intricacies to it.

    Yes, there are loose ends and characters I know must play an important role, but at this point I’m not yet seeing how they all fit in. Arthur’s wife, for instance. She’s got to be pivotal, but until the end of this one, I thought she was a rather insignificant minor character who died off before our main story takes place. Hahah — his jumps in time and space have me going!


  3. Bruce Hennigan October 26, 2011 at 1:53 pm #

    Totally agree. Felt confused the first third and then it grabbed me. We had the same reaction in our reading. Good review.


  1. CSFF Blog Tour – The Bone House by Stephen Lawhead, Day 1 « A Christian Worldview of Fiction - October 24, 2011

    […] bloggers has to say about The Bone House: Noah Arsenault Red Bissell Thomas Clayton Booher √ Beckie Burnham Morgan L. Busse CSFF Blog Tour Jeff Chapman Carol Bruce Collett Karri Compton […]

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