CSFF Tour – The Bone House, Day 1

In Which The Blogger Goes Back In Time Approximately One Year
It is time again for the CSFF Tour, highlighting some of the finest in Christian speculative fiction.
We’re dialing up Stephen Lawhead once again, featuring the second book in the Bright Empires series The Bone House.
He seems to have something for body parts and book titles this series. We featured the first book, The Skin Map last year. You can find my posts on it here.
To set up the tour, last time young Kit Livingstone ran into a distant relative. His great-grandfather Cosimo, who should be dead, but appeared quite spry for a corpse. Cosimo explained that Kit needed to help him with a quest that stretched literal dimensions, as he was using a phenomenom termed “ley travel” to hop to different places and times.
 
Kit was uncertain about this new information, being a rather unimaginative fellow. However, after losing his girlfriend Mina in 17th century Prague and being pursued in ancient Egypt by Burley men, he needed less convincing.
All he needs to do now is find Mina, avoid the villanous Lord Burleigh, acquire the missing Skin Map, and discover someone who knows what in the world it means.
There’s more to this tale, but check back tomorrow for more on this intriguing tale. If you just can’t wait, check out my fellow tourmates below for more insight!

CSFF Tour – The Bone House, Day 1

In Which The Blogger Goes Back In Time Approximately One Year
It is time again for the CSFF Tour, highlighting some of the finest in Christian speculative fiction.
We’re dialing up Stephen Lawhead once again, featuring the second book in the Bright Empires series The Bone House.
He seems to have something for body parts and book titles this series. We featured the first book, The Skin Map last year. You can find my posts on it here.
To set up the tour, last time young Kit Livingstone ran into a distant relative. His great-grandfather Cosimo, who should be dead, but appeared quite spry for a corpse. Cosimo explained that Kit needed to help him with a quest that stretched literal dimensions, as he was using a phenomenom termed “ley travel” to hop to different places and times.
 
Kit was uncertain about this new information, being a rather unimaginative fellow. However, after losing his girlfriend Mina in 17th century Prague and being pursued in ancient Egypt by Burley men, he needed less convincing.
All he needs to do now is find Mina, avoid the villanous Lord Burleigh, acquire the missing Skin Map, and discover someone who knows what in the world it means.
There’s more to this tale, but check back tomorrow for more on this intriguing tale. If you just can’t wait, check out my fellow tourmates below for more insight!

CSFF Tour – The Skin Map Day 3

In Which The Blogger Finally Gets Around To Telling The Reader If The Book Is Any Good.

The CSFF Tour is featuring the latest from acclaimed author Stephen Lawhead, The Skin Map, first book of the Bright Empires series. Yesterday I gave a synopsis of the book, if you missed it. How does it stand up?

I’ve said here in the past that Stephen Lawhead is one of my favorite authors. For some reason, a couple of his books (usually the second or third in a series) have fallen flat for me. It’s almost if he’s a little streaky. Does The Skin Map strike hard or does it miss?

Thankfully, I can testify that Lawhead is on target with this first book. There’s wit, suspense, intrigue, and the Lawhead tradmark of making a setting come alive. You see some of this with the very first lines of the book:

Had he but known that before the day was over he would discover the hidden dimensions of the universe, Kit might have been better prepared. At least, he would have brought an umbrella.

(Best opening line I’ve read since, “The nun hit me in the mouth and said, ‘Get out of my house.'”)

Lawhead has stated on his website that he’s been writing this series in his head for the last 15 years or so, just now he has the skill to handle all of the complexity. I would believe it. He has numerous characters jumping from the Home World to different times and locales, and he brings the unique flavor of each place out. There’s enough characters and locations (and times!) that it almost gets confusing, but he keeps things moving forward. Many threads are started, and it may seem a little disconnected in the middle of the book. The beauty is that in the apparent chaos ensuing, it snaps together in the end, leaving the reader going “Whoa.” If a reader isn’t patient or attentive, they could get lost.

The book follows 20-something Kit Livingstone as he discovers his gift for traveling the mysterious ley lines, his girlfriend Mina as she gets lost in 17th century Prague, the Man Who Is Map forging paths through the dimensions, and the ruthless Lord Burleigh. Each character brings their own weight to their sections. I don’t feel like I’m reading one voice for each person – they are individuals. Their interaction with the various settings is thought-provoking, such as the timeline in which Kit’s relative Cosimo stops the famous Fire of London in1666 just by waking the baker whose oven started the disaster.

Despite a rather large cast and the varied times, the book is suspenseful and a great page-turner. My only complaint is the book is a major set-up for the whole series. It makes sense that it can’t be too self-limiting, and the reader is left with a major cliffhanger at the end. I am ready for book two, like RIGHT NOW.

A couple further thoughts:
As I discussed yesterday, the story’s premise hinges on these ley lines acting as corridors to these alternate universes. These are well-known to the pagan and new age movements, considered powerful centers of energy. Lawhead has used many other mythic components in his fiction, such as Atlantis and Merlin in the Pendragon Cycle, and Celtic myths in the Song of Albion trilogy. However, he has taking these seemingly pagan points and turned them into a natual way of speaking of faith and Christ. He makes it an organic part of the story. Christianity isn’t proclaimed loudly in The Skin Map, but there are characters who speak and ponder about God and how He may be working through the Omniverse (multiple universes). Speculative, but still informed by faith. Potential authors can learn here from Mr. Lawhead.

Finally, check out his website for a good interview from Lawhead regarding the research he does for his work. It is informative to those curious about how to write a realistic setting, one of his strengths.

 As always, the other fun folk at the CSFF Tour have more to say, and you can find the full list on Becky Miller’s blog.

BTW, the FTC requires a blogger to disclose whether they got a free review copy. I am disclosing that I used my birthday gift card to Barnes and Noble on this book. I am a very satisfied consumer!

CSFF Tour – The Skin Map Day 3

In Which The Blogger Finally Gets Around To Telling The Reader If The Book Is Any Good.

The CSFF Tour is featuring the latest from acclaimed author Stephen Lawhead, The Skin Map, first book of the Bright Empires series. Yesterday I gave a synopsis of the book, if you missed it. How does it stand up?

I’ve said here in the past that Stephen Lawhead is one of my favorite authors. For some reason, a couple of his books (usually the second or third in a series) have fallen flat for me. It’s almost if he’s a little streaky. Does The Skin Map strike hard or does it miss?

Thankfully, I can testify that Lawhead is on target with this first book. There’s wit, suspense, intrigue, and the Lawhead tradmark of making a setting come alive. You see some of this with the very first lines of the book:

Had he but known that before the day was over he would discover the hidden dimensions of the universe, Kit might have been better prepared. At least, he would have brought an umbrella.

(Best opening line I’ve read since, “The nun hit me in the mouth and said, ‘Get out of my house.'”)

Lawhead has stated on his website that he’s been writing this series in his head for the last 15 years or so, just now he has the skill to handle all of the complexity. I would believe it. He has numerous characters jumping from the Home World to different times and locales, and he brings the unique flavor of each place out. There’s enough characters and locations (and times!) that it almost gets confusing, but he keeps things moving forward. Many threads are started, and it may seem a little disconnected in the middle of the book. The beauty is that in the apparent chaos ensuing, it snaps together in the end, leaving the reader going “Whoa.” If a reader isn’t patient or attentive, they could get lost.

The book follows 20-something Kit Livingstone as he discovers his gift for traveling the mysterious ley lines, his girlfriend Mina as she gets lost in 17th century Prague, the Man Who Is Map forging paths through the dimensions, and the ruthless Lord Burleigh. Each character brings their own weight to their sections. I don’t feel like I’m reading one voice for each person – they are individuals. Their interaction with the various settings is thought-provoking, such as the timeline in which Kit’s relative Cosimo stops the famous Fire of London in1666 just by waking the baker whose oven started the disaster.

Despite a rather large cast and the varied times, the book is suspenseful and a great page-turner. My only complaint is the book is a major set-up for the whole series. It makes sense that it can’t be too self-limiting, and the reader is left with a major cliffhanger at the end. I am ready for book two, like RIGHT NOW.

A couple further thoughts:
As I discussed yesterday, the story’s premise hinges on these ley lines acting as corridors to these alternate universes. These are well-known to the pagan and new age movements, considered powerful centers of energy. Lawhead has used many other mythic components in his fiction, such as Atlantis and Merlin in the Pendragon Cycle, and Celtic myths in the Song of Albion trilogy. However, he has taking these seemingly pagan points and turned them into a natual way of speaking of faith and Christ. He makes it an organic part of the story. Christianity isn’t proclaimed loudly in The Skin Map, but there are characters who speak and ponder about God and how He may be working through the Omniverse (multiple universes). Speculative, but still informed by faith. Potential authors can learn here from Mr. Lawhead.

Finally, check out his website for a good interview from Lawhead regarding the research he does for his work. It is informative to those curious about how to write a realistic setting, one of his strengths.

 As always, the other fun folk at the CSFF Tour have more to say, and you can find the full list on Becky Miller’s blog.

BTW, the FTC requires a blogger to disclose whether they got a free review copy. I am disclosing that I used my birthday gift card to Barnes and Noble on this book. I am a very satisfied consumer!

CSFF Tour – The Skin Map Day 2

In Which The Blogger Attempts To Understand Why Someone Would Put A Map On Their Skin…

Yesterday I introduced the latest book in the pantheon of great CSFF blog tours: The Skin Map by Stephen Lawhead. Just the idea of a map tattooed on someone is intriguing. But wait, there’s more!

The book follows Kit Livingstone, a rather boring and average Brit, on his way to his average and boring girlfriend’s flat. That is, until he ends up in a little alleyway in London, soaking wet from a fierce storm, confronted by his great-grandfather, seeming to be pretty spry for a dead guy.

His great-grandfather Cosimo explains that people have discovered a way to travel to alternate dimensions or universes via “ley lines.” Cosimo and Kit have this unusual ability, and it is up to them to find the Skin Map. The most prolific traveler had the routes tattooed on his abdomen so it would be secure. Or so it would seem.

Kit doesn’t know what to think of this crazy old man, but he does know his no-nonesense girlfriend Wilhelmina isn’t pleased by his late arrival due to a dimensional detour. When he tries to show her how it works, he loses Mina into an alternate timeline, and the race is on to find Mina and the Skin Map before too much chaos is caused. Unfortunately, the Lord Burleigh and his “Burley Men” are also on the hunt for this map, and they are not reserved in how they pursue it.

So what are these ley lines? It seems that many geographical features built by ancients in Britain follow straight lines and patterns. An enterprising fellow in the 1920’s noticed this, and it has become a favorite of New Agers and other kooky types, although there is apparently a strange energy associated with them. The ley lines are certainly good fodder for such a speculative fiction book. Blogging buddy Matt Mikalatos has a more information on them, so why duplicate his good work?

For more information, you can check out the book’s website. I’ll have my review of the book tomorrow, but if you just can’t wait, check out the rest of the inmates for more on The Skin Map.

Red Bissell
Thomas Clayton Booher
Keanan Brand
Grace Bridges
Beckie Burnham
Morgan L. Busse
Jeff Chapman
Christian Fiction Book Reviews
Valerie Comer
Karri Compton
Amy Cruson
CSFF Blog Tour
Stacey Dale
D. G. D. Davidson
George Duncan
April Erwin
Tori Greene
Ryan Heart
Bruce Hennigan
Timothy Hicks
Christopher Hopper
Becky Jesse
Cris Jesse
Becca Johnson
Julie
Carol Keen
Krystine Kercher
Shannon McDermott
Allen McGraw
Matt Mikalatos
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Nissa
John W. Otte
Gavin Patchett
Sarah Sawyer
Chawna Schroeder
Kathleen Smith
Rachel Starr Thomson
Donna Swanson
Robert Treskillard
Steve Trower
Fred Warren
Dona Watson
Phyllis Wheeler
Nicole White
Elizabeth Williams
Dave Wilson

CSFF Tour – The Skin Map Day 2

In Which The Blogger Attempts To Understand Why Someone Would Put A Map On Their Skin…

Yesterday I introduced the latest book in the pantheon of great CSFF blog tours: The Skin Map by Stephen Lawhead. Just the idea of a map tattooed on someone is intriguing. But wait, there’s more!

The book follows Kit Livingstone, a rather boring and average Brit, on his way to his average and boring girlfriend’s flat. That is, until he ends up in a little alleyway in London, soaking wet from a fierce storm, confronted by his great-grandfather, seeming to be pretty spry for a dead guy.

His great-grandfather Cosimo explains that people have discovered a way to travel to alternate dimensions or universes via “ley lines.” Cosimo and Kit have this unusual ability, and it is up to them to find the Skin Map. The most prolific traveler had the routes tattooed on his abdomen so it would be secure. Or so it would seem.

Kit doesn’t know what to think of this crazy old man, but he does know his no-nonesense girlfriend Wilhelmina isn’t pleased by his late arrival due to a dimensional detour. When he tries to show her how it works, he loses Mina into an alternate timeline, and the race is on to find Mina and the Skin Map before too much chaos is caused. Unfortunately, the Lord Burleigh and his “Burley Men” are also on the hunt for this map, and they are not reserved in how they pursue it.

So what are these ley lines? It seems that many geographical features built by ancients in Britain follow straight lines and patterns. An enterprising fellow in the 1920’s noticed this, and it has become a favorite of New Agers and other kooky types, although there is apparently a strange energy associated with them. The ley lines are certainly good fodder for such a speculative fiction book. Blogging buddy Matt Mikalatos has a more information on them, so why duplicate his good work?

For more information, you can check out the book’s website. I’ll have my review of the book tomorrow, but if you just can’t wait, check out the rest of the inmates for more on The Skin Map.

Red Bissell
Thomas Clayton Booher
Keanan Brand
Grace Bridges
Beckie Burnham
Morgan L. Busse
Jeff Chapman
Christian Fiction Book Reviews
Valerie Comer
Karri Compton
Amy Cruson
CSFF Blog Tour
Stacey Dale
D. G. D. Davidson
George Duncan
April Erwin
Tori Greene
Ryan Heart
Bruce Hennigan
Timothy Hicks
Christopher Hopper
Becky Jesse
Cris Jesse
Becca Johnson
Julie
Carol Keen
Krystine Kercher
Shannon McDermott
Allen McGraw
Matt Mikalatos
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Nissa
John W. Otte
Gavin Patchett
Sarah Sawyer
Chawna Schroeder
Kathleen Smith
Rachel Starr Thomson
Donna Swanson
Robert Treskillard
Steve Trower
Fred Warren
Dona Watson
Phyllis Wheeler
Nicole White
Elizabeth Williams
Dave Wilson

CSFF Tour – The Skin Map Day 1

How do make sure you will never, EVER lose your way?

A map would be nice. Then again, a map can be lost.

What if you put the map on something you could never lose? What would that be? It would be…a skin map.

The Christian Sci-fi and Fantasy Tour is featuring an intriguing book, the latest from well-known author Stephen Lawhead, The Skin Map.

Lawhead is an author I’ve been talking about since my first involvement with the CSFF tour. He has carved out a strong niche writing fantasy and historical novels alike. He loves the mythic aspect of stories, and he has played with some of the big ones in his King Arthur epic The Pendragon Cycle and his unique take on Robin Hood in The Raven King Trilogy.

But to hear Lawhead in his own words, nothing may compare to what he has in store with the planned five volume Bright Empires series:

‘I have not read or written anything quite like it,’ says Lawhead. ‘It’s been forming in my mind for at least fifteen years. Now I am finally writing it, because I think I can finally do justice to such an intricately woven storyline.


BRIGHT EMPIRES is the most challenging work I’ve ever undertaken, and I’m alternately exhilarated and terrified by it.’

I would be challenged too, by a work of time travel and crossing into alternate dimensions involving skin maps, Burley Men, and good coffee.  

But more on that later.

Until tomorrow, see what clues you can follow in my fellow travelers below:
Red Bissell
Thomas Clayton Booher
Keanan Brand
Grace Bridges
Beckie Burnham
Morgan L. Busse
Jeff Chapman
Christian Fiction Book Reviews
Valerie Comer
Karri Compton
Amy Cruson
CSFF Blog Tour
Stacey Dale
D. G. D. Davidson
George Duncan
April Erwin
Tori Greene
Ryan Heart
Bruce Hennigan
Timothy Hicks
Christopher Hopper
Becky Jesse
Cris Jesse
Becca Johnson
Julie
Carol Keen
Krystine Kercher
Shannon McDermott
Allen McGraw
Matt Mikalatos
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Nissa
John W. Otte
Gavin Patchett
Sarah Sawyer
Chawna Schroeder
Kathleen Smith
Rachel Starr Thomson
Donna Swanson
Robert Treskillard
Steve Trower
Fred Warren
Dona Watson
Phyllis Wheeler
Nicole White
Elizabeth Williams
Dave Wilson

CSFF Tour – The Skin Map Day 1

How do make sure you will never, EVER lose your way?

A map would be nice. Then again, a map can be lost.

What if you put the map on something you could never lose? What would that be? It would be…a skin map.

The Christian Sci-fi and Fantasy Tour is featuring an intriguing book, the latest from well-known author Stephen Lawhead, The Skin Map.

Lawhead is an author I’ve been talking about since my first involvement with the CSFF tour. He has carved out a strong niche writing fantasy and historical novels alike. He loves the mythic aspect of stories, and he has played with some of the big ones in his King Arthur epic The Pendragon Cycle and his unique take on Robin Hood in The Raven King Trilogy.

But to hear Lawhead in his own words, nothing may compare to what he has in store with the planned five volume Bright Empires series:

‘I have not read or written anything quite like it,’ says Lawhead. ‘It’s been forming in my mind for at least fifteen years. Now I am finally writing it, because I think I can finally do justice to such an intricately woven storyline.


BRIGHT EMPIRES is the most challenging work I’ve ever undertaken, and I’m alternately exhilarated and terrified by it.’

I would be challenged too, by a work of time travel and crossing into alternate dimensions involving skin maps, Burley Men, and good coffee.  

But more on that later.

Until tomorrow, see what clues you can follow in my fellow travelers below:
Red Bissell
Thomas Clayton Booher
Keanan Brand
Grace Bridges
Beckie Burnham
Morgan L. Busse
Jeff Chapman
Christian Fiction Book Reviews
Valerie Comer
Karri Compton
Amy Cruson
CSFF Blog Tour
Stacey Dale
D. G. D. Davidson
George Duncan
April Erwin
Tori Greene
Ryan Heart
Bruce Hennigan
Timothy Hicks
Christopher Hopper
Becky Jesse
Cris Jesse
Becca Johnson
Julie
Carol Keen
Krystine Kercher
Shannon McDermott
Allen McGraw
Matt Mikalatos
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Nissa
John W. Otte
Gavin Patchett
Sarah Sawyer
Chawna Schroeder
Kathleen Smith
Rachel Starr Thomson
Donna Swanson
Robert Treskillard
Steve Trower
Fred Warren
Dona Watson
Phyllis Wheeler
Nicole White
Elizabeth Williams
Dave Wilson