Back at Christmas, I received book two (The Bone House) of the Bright Empires series by Stephen R. Lawhead. This created a problem for me, since I didn’t own book one. I have read many of his books in the past, so was willing to pick up the first book. There were issues with getting it to arrive at my house, but I eventually got it, and read through it.
This is not the type of book that I usually read, since I tend to read more fantasy novels and less science fiction. The book uses the premise that ley lines that have been identified around the world provide some people the ability to “jump” from location to location. The jumps can take the person to another location on the globe or even another time period (or both).
Kit Livingstone is from modern day England. He has a girlfriend name Wilhemina. On his way to visit her, he encounters his great grandfather, Cosimo, (long thought to be dead) and experiences his first jump with him. Cosimo wants Kit to aid him in a mission that he is performing, but everything is a bit too wild for Kit, so he decides to return home.
He ends up being late for his date with Wilhemina, and she doesn’t really buy his explanation. He takes her to show her and since he doesn’t really know what he is doing, they end up jumping, but they also end up being split up. Wanting to fix his mistake, he returns to Cosimo to gain assistance in locating her. Thus begins Kit’s journey to try to locate his girlfriend through time and space. Of course, that spirals into something much bigger than just that.
Most of the book is focused on the item known as the skin map. The first person known of to discover the ability to jump using ley lines had a map of his findings tattooed upon his body (i.e. the skin map). It is in high demand, since jumping to an unknown location can be dangerous. Cosimo and his friends seem to be interested in finding the map for academic purposes. But, of course, there must be somebody with less than noble intentions, and that is where Lord Burleigh comes in. Lord Burleigh is the main villain in the book, and he is desperately seeking the map also, and would seem to use any means necessary to obtain it.
Overall, I enjoyed the book. I’m sure that a more critical reader could find flaws with the theories used to “make it all work”, but I am roll with things for the sake of the story. There is death, betrayal, suspense, and lots of foundation laid for how the jumping works. There are some slow parts, but they don’t last too long. I will mention that the book has a bit of a “to be continued” ending on it. That’s wasn’t a big problem for me, since I already had the next book and am just over half way through it now.