I was introduced to Mr. Lawhead and the Bright Empires through the third book, The Spirit Well. I do not recommend jumping into the series literally in the middle any more than I would recommend diving in at the end. That being said, I highly recommend picking up the first book, The Skin Map, and starting from the beginning. You won't be disappointed.
The Bight Empires is filled with adventure, daring do, but also acts of compassion, lives changed, people changed. As our cast of characters travel through time interacting with the inhabitants, they are continuously growing, becoming different people by the end. I guess it's not surprising though considering the significant events that Kit, Mina, Cass, and the rest go through.
It's the Characters
No matter how much action and adventure there is you need to care about the people going through the events. Lawhead gives us flawed characters which is what draws the reader. Even the villain is not one dimensional. We find his true desire for searching for the Skin Map and can't help to sympathize. To see Mina blossom and Kit get a clue is wonderful.
While all of the characters are complex, there is one who captures our heart and shines, especially in The Fatal Tree. Englebert Stifflebeam ,aka Etzel, is introduced to us in The Skin Map as the first one Mina meets and befriends when she first ley leaps (which is to travel to an alternate time/place/universe/world). He is a minor character throughout but a constant anchor. He also displays the grace and mercy of Christ. If more people were like Etzel what a wonderful world it would be.
It's the Adventure
The characters are important but they are thrust into a great adventure. This adventure is filled with time travel, not just time but dimensions. there is great peril and not all of our friends come out of it unscathed. The quest takes our travelers from the Stoneage to ancient Egypt to modern day London and many points in between. Lawhead describes each place and time in such detail that we feel like we are standing next to Kit and the gang.
Lawhead expertly wraps up the Bright Empires in The Fatal Tree. This is an epic journey, one that I am sad is over. It was a fun ride.
*In conjunction with the CSFF Blog Tour, I received a free copy of this book from the publisher
Find out more about Stephen Lawhead at his website and Facebook page.
See what others on the tour have to say:
Meagan @ Blooming with Books
Rebecca LuElla Miller