>The Skin Map is the first in a projected multi-volume series by author Stephen Lawhead. Like all truly great stories, it starts small, with a young man, Cosimo “Kit” Livingstone trying to traverse London to see his girlfriend. Things take a turn for the strange when Kit meets his great-grandfather in a darkened alley. Kit’s life will never be the same.
As the first book in a series, certain groundwork must be laid, and Lawhead does so very deftly. His being a resident of Great Britain I’m sure adds much to his descriptions of London. These are places he’s walked, places he knows. I felt Kit’s frustration with the tube system, his chagrin at being caught out in the rain. His bewilderment upon meeting his great-grandfather upon Stane Way. Like Luke Skywalker—among whose family the force is strong—Kit was apparently born with an ability to traverse portals that lay upon ley lines. It is through one of these that his great-grandfather, also named Cosimo, takes him to an alternate England, in an earlier era. Lest I give away too much, let me just say that the story builds momentum from there. Lawhead makes it all look so easy, but his is a tale deftly told from multiple points of view. There are heart-pounding chases, breathless escapes, and near-rescues aplenty. He has has done his work so well that when the deus ex machina moment arrives, the reader doesn’t care: he believes. This is a story that has it all: mystery, history, damsels in distress, and a mind-bending meditation on the nature of reality. It is equal parts Raiders of the Lost Ark, National Treasure, and Jumper. Highly recommended! Can’t wait to see what The Bone House holds. Well done, Mr. Lawhead!
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com