Breaking into sci-fi layers of history, with gripping action and a web of characters, Stephen R. Lawhead‘s first book of the Bright Empires series, The Skin Map, promises a fast read. Young Kit Livingstone is astounded when his great-grandfather appears alive before him, and draws him into a tightening race-against-time for the Skin Map – fantastic symbols marking pathways to alternate histories- before the evil Burley Men discover it. Several story-lines, and time-elements intermingle the characters of Kit, his great-grandfather, his girlfriend Wilhelmina (my favorite), and the instigator of the Skin Map himself, Arthur. Action, intrigue, and gripping layers of historical events are each woven into a race to the finish.
Stephen Lawhead’s site has a gripping trailer about the book, here.
Having read former works of Lawhead’s, I was pleased to find the intermingling of history, faith and action I expected.
One drawback was the flatness of the individuals – I simply could not drudge up emotion for them (which would have made this more of a page-turner). The exception for me was Wilhelmina, who is drawn into this astounding alternate history-in-progress, and manages to create her own success. She exhibits determination and cheerful gumption, while Kit seems to simply float between events. In all, I give it 3 stars for readability, plot and creativity, but dock it for dull characterization.
Thanks to Booksneeze, for the opportunity of reading and reviewing this new book. You can too! Click the link to your right.