I enjoyed the first book in Stephen Lawhead’s Bright Empires series (The Skin Map) so much that I eagerly looked forward to book 2, The Bone House. I really wanted to like this book.
But…I found the book a little hard to keep up with. Generally, I’m a pretty fast reader but it seemed like it took me longer than usual to work my way through this one. Maybe it was the sheer volume of characters and storylines, but I suspect the trouble I had following along was due to the rapid shift from one storyline to another. Just when I got interested in one character’s story, it was abandoned and we switched to another. Unfortunately, that happened several times, which made it difficult for me to stay engaged.
All of that aside, however, I’m still a bit intrigued by the premise of the book. In it, the characters travel through time and alternate realities, manipulating events in one world in order to change events in another. While that is not a unique premise, there is something different in The Bone House. That would be ley lines, straight paths of energy that form the “roads” between worlds. By his own admission, Lawhead drew his inspiration from the work of Alfred Watkins, who dubbed the term after noticing that familiar landmarks in England seemed to be linked in straight lines.
In The Bone House, the heart of the story still concerns the search for the skin map introduced in book 1. This parchment of human skin contains symbols one traveler tattooed on himself to keep track of the pathways leading from one world to another. Throughout The Bone House, the characters continue their search for the skin map in order to adroitly navigate the paths from one reality to another. In addition, the ultimate goal is to use the skin map is to find a hidden treasure, the contents of which remain unknown.
My comments aside, if you were intrigued by book 1 in this series, you should give The Bone House a try. If you are interested in the story as a whole, I recommend you start with book 1 (The Skin Map), otherwise you might find it a bit difficult to keep up in book 2.
The Bone House
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Hardcover: 416 pages
Publish Date: September 6, 2011