September 20, 2011

Stephen Lawhead's "The Skin Map" - 4 out of 5

The Skin Map (Bright Empires) by Stephen R. Lawhead

When I first started this book, it failed to capture my interest within the first fifty pages. This is usually the cutoff point for me, but I persevered and was rewarded with a tale that was a mix of interesting and a bit dull, all at the same time.

The main character, Kit, is running a bit late meeting with his miserable girlfriend Wilhelmina and takes a shortcut down an alley in London and ends up stumbling into another time and place and his great grandfather Cosmo. Kit has stumbled upon a ley line, where adventurers can travel through time and place. His great grandfather urges him to stay and help him with his quest, but Kit, who can't quite believe what has happened, goes back to present day London and races to his girlfriend's home to find her steaming mad that he is so late. When he tells her the tale of his time travel, she doesn't believe him. Desperate to prove it to her, he leads her to the street where he travelled. They get separated and both end up in different times and places. That's where the tale takes off as we follow the two travellers and follow their separate story lines.

This was a time traveller's tale that should have been loaded with suspense as both Kit and his girlfriend Wilhelmina struggle to survive in their separate times and places, fraught with danger from both unpredictable rulers and from a dark influence that seeks the same goal that Cosmo finally reveals. Unfortunately, even with battles and dangerous situations afoot, it still lacked any feeling of suspense at all. It took me longer to read this book because, although I ultimately finished it out of sheer curiosity, it didn't draw me to it like so many other books (both literary and commercial) have done in the past.


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