SciFi Book Review: The Spirit Well

The Spirit Well by Stephen R. Lawhead

The Search for the Map—and the secret behind its cryptic code—intensifies in a quest across time, space, and multiple realities.

But what if the true treasure isn’t the map at all . . . what if the map marks something far greater? Something one world cannot contain? Those who desire to unlock that mystery are in a race to possess the secret—for good or evil.

Kit Livingstone is mastering the ability to travel across realities using ley lines and has forged a link from the Bone House, a sacred lodge made of animal bones, to the fabled Spirit Well, a place of profound power.

His friend Mina is undercover in a Spanish monastery high in the Pyrenees, learning all she can from a monk named Brother Lazarus. Still determined to find Kit, she is beginning to experience a greater destiny than she can fathom.

Cassandra Clarke is overseeing an archaeological dig in Arizona when a chance encounter transports her to 1950s Damascus. There, she finds herself unwillingly drawn to the Seekers—the last living remnants of the Zetetic Society who need her help to track down the missing Cosimo Livingstone and his grandson Kit.

But there are darker forces at work in the universe whose agents always seem to be one step ahead of the rest—and they’re all desperate to gain the ultimate prize in this treasure hunt where the stakes increase at every turn. At the heart of the mystery lies the Spirit Well.

This is the third novel in the Bright Empires series. I have read the first, but missed the second. Though, I had no problem jumping back into the story. In fact, it didn’t seem like I had missed too much. And there was a nice recap at the beginning that caught me up on what all had happened, some of which I had forgotten.

The characters are fairly memorable, especially that of Mina who is an incredibly capable and self-sufficient young woman. As the novel follows the various characters and their journeys, the Spirit Well becomes the focus as the Skin Map takes a back seat.

Lawhead’s scifi/fantasy world is one of time travel and alternate realities where ley lines can send travelers to countless eras and destinations. The story is complex with many characters and subplots, but is still easy to follow. It’s an ambitious adventure, blending science fiction and fantasy. I enjoyed the pacing, but this installment wasn’t as suspenseful as the first. And it ended somewhat abruptly, but I’m not sure if the story is engaging enough keep me reading the rest of the series.

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