So opens The Bright Empires series by Stephen R. Lawhead.
In this first book, The Skin Map, we meet Kit, a Londoner with a less than inspiring daily life. He sets off on another normal day, but normality and reality as he knows it becomes forever changed when he is transported to another time and place to meet his great-grandfather Cosimo. He shares with Kit the paradigm shattering revelation that ley lines are not just legend, but real, and serve as pathways between different worlds.
It isn’t all fun and games, however, as Kit also discovers he has been pulled into a treasure hunt of sorts. The treasure is a map of tattooed skin that contains the schematic of this multi-layer universe filled with portals and ley lines. But as the book cover touts, “the Skin Map itself is not the ultimate goal. It is merely the beginning of a vast and marvelous quest for a prize beyond imagining.”
Initially intrigued by the title and description, I found myself completely drawn into the storyline with paragraph one. A bit of intrigue. A bit of humor. Then it all leads to a lot of mystery and adventure. There are a number of characters and story lines to follow, which can get confusing, but then I would assume jumping between portals and realms would also be a bit disorienting so in my opinion it adds to the feel of the story.
The Skin Map is wonderfully written and seems well researched. I must say that I am glad I read it on my Kindle as there were several times I needed the dictionary to define words, so I can say I even feel a wee bit smarter walking away from this read. An unexpected bonus.
I can’t wait to read the next installment in the series, The Bone House!
Rating: 5 out of 5
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneezeÂ®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255vf: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”