Monday, October 24, 2011

The Bone House by Stephen Lawhead

This is the second novel in Lawhead's Bright Empire series, following The Skin Map. In this installment, Kit is still on the quest given to him by his grandfather, to restore the skin map, a map that charts the hidden dimensions of the universe. Wilhelmina is in seventeenth-century Prague and is wildly successful in introducing coffee to the community. She is becoming more of an expert in ley travel, even using a mechanical device to identify their placement.
As Kit pursues his quest, he travels to Egypt and meets Thomas Young, a scholar and archaeologist of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Kit leads Thomas to Anen's tomb and participates in its “discovery.” Under Anen's head is a square of something wrapped in linen. Within is an irregular square of parchment “covered with a wild scattering of the most superbly etched symbols in dark blue.” (228)
In another section of the novel, Douglas Flinders- Petrie travels to the thirteenth century to meet Roger Bacon. Douglas shows him a copy of the skin map. Bacon asks about a key to decipher the document, to uncover what the coordinates represent.
Mina and Kit cross paths at her coffee shop but Burleigh is right behind them. Kit manages to escape into a Stone Age era and is befriended by a group of beings, much like Abominable Snowmen. He begins to understand their culture and language and participates in the building of a bone house for an elder.
At the end of this novel, Kit enters the bone house and immediately plunges through its floor. Kit knew he was covering great distances. He lands near a lake and sees a fellow whose torso is covered with tiny blue symbols...

The transforming action in this series is ley travel. It consists of using the lines of electromagnetic force that are found embedded in the earth. Using these lines, one can make great leaps in dimensional reality, including distance and time. It is not the same as traveling forwards and backwards along a single time line. Each separate reality has its own history and progression in its own time.
Lawhead has a note at the end of this novel that explains essential parts of his plot. The idea of a many-dimensioned universe has been around for some time. Einstein laid the theoretical groundwork for the idea and now the concept is useful for theorizing about many aspects of the universe. Lawhead's characters bounce around a multidimensional universe. They land in any possible alternate world, depending on the exact use of ley travel.
In this realm where traditional thinking about reality breaks down and experts disagree, non-experts can enter into the discussion. Lawhead writes, “That being the case, why shouldn't a novelist participate in the conversation?” (385)

I look forward to the next volume in this series, arriving in about a year. At this point there are too many loose ends to understand the “moral of the story,” so to speak. I trust any (Christian) spiritual aspect of the series will become clear then.
At times I get a little lost in the story line, traveling not only in time but in distance and dimension as well. Having a year's time in between installments doesn't help. When the series is completed, I will perhaps read them, one right after the other.

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There are many participating in this blog tour of The Bone House.  See other reviews:

Noah Arsenault
Red Bissell
Thomas Clayton Booher
Beckie Burnham
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
Chawna Schroeder
Kathleen Smith
Donna Swanson
Rachel Starr Thomson
Robert Treskillard
Steve Trower
Fred Warren
Phyllis Wheeler
Nicole White
Rachel Wyant

In conjunction with the CSFF Blog Tour, I received a copy of this book from the publisher.


Fantasythyme said...

Thanks for a description explantion of The Bone House. You covered a lot of the story without giving too much away.


Bruce Hennigan said...

I am also hoping the spiritual aspect becomes clearer. How an he talk about all of these historical moments and never mention Christianity? I hope he brings it in somehow. Otherwise, I loved the multiverse aspect.