07 December 2011

The Bone House

The Bone House by Stephen R. Lawhead
Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2011.

This is the sequel to The Skin Map, which I reviewed rather negatively some time ago. In spite of my disappointment with The Skin Map, I decided to give Stephen Lawhead a second chance because of the pleasure his earlier books have given.

Sadly there was no sign of improvement. The dialogue and characterization remain as wooden as before. As for the storyline, if anything, that has degenerated even further into a series of short scenes located at different times in very different geographical locations strung together in a (deliberately?) confusing manner. Even worse, he has begun to indulge in a bad habit of the second-rate novelist: using arbitrary scene breaks to create a false sense of tension. On top of that, he indulges in some rather unsubtle infodumping more than once.

I also have my doubts about the extent and reliability of the historical research he has done. To take just one example, he has Douglas Flinders-Petrie seek out Roger Bacon in Oxford in 1260 when according to modern scholars he was in Paris. Granted this is a parallel universe rather than our own past, but little things like that make it harder for me to suspend my disbelief.

Also irritating was the evidence of poor editing. Glaring typos like ‘Canus Major’ for ‘Canis Major’, ‘died’ for ‘dyed’, and ‘bier’ for ‘byre’ are really not excusable!

Much as I wanted to enjoy this novel, I must again register my disappointment. I won’t be reading any more of the series.
PS I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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