|Down Tor stone row on|
|Dartmoor in South Devon, UK.|
The story begins with Kit trying to make it across modern-day London to his girlfriend's flat where she is waiting for him to take her shopping for curtains. Everything Kit does goes awry. He eventually wanders down a dark alley known as Stane Way (Anglo-Saxon for Stone Way, referring to standing stones) and meets a man named Cosimo who claims to be his great-grandfather and seems to know everything about Kit's dull existence. (Most people would say Kit does not have a life.) Cosimo convinces Kit to have a drink with him and when the pair emerge from the alley, they are in an early nineteenth-century fishing village. Over a tankard of ale at a local pub, Cosimo explains ley lines and jumping between worlds and asks Kit to aid him in a project. Kit believes that he is suffering from some extended hallucination and refuses any part in Cosimo's plans.
Kit reenters London through the Stane Way ley and eventually arrives at his girlfriend Wilhelmina's house eight hours late. She is not pleased. Neither Kit nor Wilhelmina appear to be all that fond of each other but remain as a couple out of mutual desperation. Wilhelmina is plain and severe looking. She is a baker and lives a life of early mornings and early nights, different from Kit's time schedule. Kit reluctantly tells her the story of his meeting with Cosimo because he can think of no other "plausible" explanation. He decides the only way to convince her is to show her, so she accompanies Kit to Stane Way. They both make the leap to another world. Kit winds up where he left Cosimo. Wilhelmina winds up somewhere else. Ley jumping takes practice and Kit is a novice. Kit and Cosimo set out to find Wilhelmina and their storyline takes them to seventeenth-century England and later a tomb in twentieth-century Egypt. Wilhelmina finds herself in early seventeenth-century Bohemia. Fortunately, Wilhelmina learned German from her grandmother. She hitches a ride from a baker--another fortunate coincidence--on his way to Prague to set up a new shop. Two other characters have their own plot lines--Arthur Flinders-Petrie and Lord Archelaeus Burleigh, Earl of Sutherland--but more about them tomorrow.
As expected from a writer as experienced as Lawhead, the narrative flows and we move from story to story without too much jarring. The various worlds are rendered in detail. (I know more about seventeenth-century London eating habits than I ever wanted to know.) Lawhead has clearly done some research.
Photo Credit: Attributed to Herby. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported, 2.5 Generic, 2.0 Generic and 1.0 Generic license.
In conjunction with the CSFF Blog Tour, I received a free copy of The Skin Map from the publisher.
To learn more about the author, visit his website at http://www.stephenlawhead.com/.
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