In Day One of my review of “The Bone House”, I spoke about the possible confusion one might find at beginning this novel. But, if you press on, you will be rewarded with a tightening of the focus in the middle of the book. So, today, I will discuss the middle.
I was somewhat confused in the beginning of this book when Arthur Flinders-Petrie and his wife Xian Li show up before Turms, the Immortal. (Spoilers ahead) Why? Because I was certain Xian Li had died in the first book. And yet, here she was healthy and pregnant in the second book. Well, if you press on, you will learn why and I dare not even begin to hint at the reasons for fear of spoiling a wonderful story.
Let’s just say that in the middle of this book, there is a wonderful development in the characters of Kit and Mina. We finally learn how Mina came to be in the perfect spot to rescue Kit from certain death. And, what I love about this story is how this dowdy, frumpy, let’s face it, BORING woman in the beginning of book one has become smart and sassy and very, very resourceful. I really like where Stephen R. Lawhead has taken her in this book. And, this for me is the mark of fine writing; the ability to disappoint me with a certain character only to show how, inevitably, that character can grow and mature and begin to gain my respect. J. Michael Strazcynski did this with G’Kar in Babylon 5 and surprised me with the results. We see the same growth here with the character of Mina. I really like the girl!
Same goes for Kit. Still a bit wobbly and uncertain, Kit rises above his sorrow over the death of Cosmino and follows through with a plan given to him by Mina. And here is the wonder of the second book. I don’t want to give too much away, but Kit must meet with and convince Dr. Thomas Young of the reality of the ley lines. And, in so doing, Kit must then lead Dr. Young to the hidden treasure at the heart of these books. Who would have thought that Stephen R. Lawhead would somehow evoke a wondrous exploration of the reason why man has always built tombs? Sound silly and not at all consequential to the story, but this section thrilled my apologetic heart (apologetics being the field of defending the Christian faith). Here is an excerpt without giving too much away:
“Contrary to what many may think, immortality is not a fairy tale invented to compensate for an unhappy life. Rather, it is the perception shared by nearly all sentient beings that our conscious lives are not bounded by this time and space. We are not merely lumps of animate matter. We are living spirits — we all feel this innately. And in our deepest hearts, we know that we can only find ultimate fulfillment in union with the supreme spiritual reality — a reality that appears, even during this earthly life, to take us beyond the narrow limits of time.”
And so, Kit and Thomas eventually solve one of the great mysteries of this story. But, Kit ‘s story does not end with the discovery. In fact, it only just begins and in the final review, we will learn of Kit’s fate.
Another important development in the middle is the revelation of the origins of one of the book’s main characters. I do not want to divulge which character, but here, in the middle of this book, Stephen R. Lawhead begins to give some humanity to one of his coarser creations. We begin to see the reasons behind the motives; the motivations behind the actions; and the history behind the man.
All in all, good stuff! Well worth moving through the sometimes confusing beginning narrative to get to the meat of the story and the reader will be rewarded for perseverance. In fact, as I said in my review of “The Skin Map” it is almost as if we, the readers, are ourselves being drawn from ley line to ley line, passing through countries now mysterious and now familiar. For eventually, the author brings those lines back together and weaves a grand tale that I can’t wait to finish!
Tomorrow, the Ending!
By the way, if you are in the Shreveport/Bossier City area I will be reading portions of my book “The 13th Demon: Altar of the Spiral Eye” and then signing books at the Barnes & Noble on Youree Drive this Saturday, October 29th from 11 A.M. to 1 P.M. I’m giving away a free tee shirt with each book purchase! See you there!