CSFF Blog Tour – The Spirit Well by Stephen Lawhead

A day late and a dollar short . . . well, who isn’t a dollar short these days, really?

I know I said I’d have this post up yesterday, but that’s life for you.

I’m going to start by saying two things:

  • The Spirit Well is the third book in a series (and it is by no means the conclusion).
  • Also, in exchange for this review, I received a free copy of this book from the publisher through participation in the Christian Science Fiction & Fantasy Blog Tour.

Now, let’s get on to the good stuff (after I go fetch my cup of tea)!

The Blurb:

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.

I first discovered this series at my local library (aren’t libraries wonderful?) shortly after the first book, The Skin Map, was released.  When I saw that there was a second book in the series, The Bone House, (once again at the local library) I promptly snapped it up and read it.  Then I saw that for the CSFF Tour this month we were doing the third in the series, and said “Hey, I can do that, because I won’t be completely lost on the plot!”

I’ll admit straight up, though, that it’s been well over two years since I read The Skin Map, and a LOT has happened in the year since I read The Bone House, so I can really only recall the bare details.

But so far, I think that The Spirit Well is my favorite.  I’ve enjoyed reading the other two, and the concept of ley lines (roads between dimensions/times) is a fascinating one, but reading through Spirit Well I felt like I was finally getting a glimpse of what’s truly at stake for the characters.

Before, it was just about Kit trying to figure out what on earth was going on and how to get home.  There were personal encounters with good vs. evil, etc, but now the stakes have been upped.

I also feel more of a kin-ship with the newest character, Cassandra, than I ever did with Kit or Mina or the “old fogey’s” (at least, that’s what I call them in my head).

Perhaps it’s because, like Cassandra, I’ve had to face the decision of being just one person in the face of God’s planned destiny, and wondering what exactly my life can do to change anything, and then I remember that Jesus Christ was a single person.  He may have been Immanuel, God with us, but He was just as human as He was God.

“. . . God has always worked through the small, the insignificant, the powerless – it seems to be sewn into the very fabric of the universe . . . . one poor, wandering country preacher . . . gave himself so fully to God that the combined might of the two most powerful forces in his world – the Roman empire and the religious authorities – could not stop him.”

“They crushed him and killed him,” murmured Cass, gazing at the empty cross on the altar. “And look what happened.”

“Yes,” agreed Mrs. Peelstick softly, “they killed him . . . and look what happened.”

That one Man has changed history – there’s no denying it, whether you are a Christian or not.  Whether He changed history for the better or worse may be up to your own interpretation of the facts, but who’s to say that history would have been better without Jesus Christ?

And yet, it’s still the greatest miracle that He changes hearts.  Not that He changed history, but that He changes individuals.

And if you read a book and come away with that realization, whether it’s new or old, then it’s a book that was worth reading.

Don’t forget, this is a blog tour, so please visit the other participants as well!

Jim Armstrong
Julie Bihn
Red Bissell
Jennifer Bogart
Thomas Clayton Booher
Thomas Fletcher Booher
Beckie Burnham
Brenda Castro
Jeff Chapman
Karri Compton
Theresa Dunlap
Emmalyn Edwards
April Erwin
Victor Gentile
Jeremy Harder
Bruce Hennigan
Timothy Hicks
Janeen Ippolito
Becca Johnson
Jason Joyner
Carol Keen
Emileigh Latham
Rebekah Loper
Shannon McDermott
Meagan @ Blooming with Books
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Anna Mittower
Joan Nienhuis
Lyn Perry
Nathan Reimer
Chawna Schroeder
Rachel Starr Thomson
Robert Treskillard
Steve Trower
Dona Watson
Shane Werlinger
Phyllis Wheeler