Our friends Mina and Kit are back in the third installment of the Bright Empires series. Via the first two installments, we met both, began the journey to find the Skin Map, and learned about ley line travel. When we concluded the Bone House, Kit was lost in a prehistoric world while Mina was at home in Prague.
Kit had also discovered the legendary Well of Souls or the Spirit Well which apparently offered healing properties to those who were placed in it. He’d witnessed the Skin Map’s founder placing his deceased wife into it & saw her return to life. Now, Kit continues his journey with a clan of cavemen.
Mina has continued introducing Prague to coffee while investigating ley travel. She tries to look for Kit when she can but has no idea that he is thousands of years behind her. Most of the main characters primary or not continue the ley journey with them. However, we get a much more in-depth look at the life of the man who was the map, Arthur Flinders-Petrie. Traveling in a literary sense back to Biblical days, we learn how the tattoos on his torso became an actual map to guide those who wish to travel between alternate realities.
Cassandra is a new addition. From the way it was portrayed, she’ll continue to play a major role in the next 2 installments as well. Cass meets up with a host of other ley travelers who explain the mission, the consequences, and the necessity of such travel. Of course, our villain, Burleigh, is also back. More sadistic than ever, he strikes an unholy alliance with one of Flinders-Petrie’s heirs to acquire priceless artifacts to sell. No ley traveler is safe as long as Burleigh is active in the field.
Questions still remain. Can time be altered for better circumstances? Can anyone hold the entire Skin Map or will absolute power truly corrupt absolutely?
I enjoyed this edition as much as the other 2. The next one is due in September of this year. I will anxiously await it. Each character is likeable & the places they go, though in a science fiction setting, are still kept very much realistic. Historical accuracy is evident & Mr. Lawhead must have truly done an incredible amount of research for this undertaking. As always, this novel is every but a 5 star novel as his previous work.
If you’ve not read the first two, I’d recommend doing so. Not simply to follow this novel, one could do that without backtracking, but because they are so full of information & fun.