© 2019 Stephen Lawhead

BRIGHT EMPIRES

A unique fusion of Historical and Speculative Fiction. Lawhead brings his mastery of storytelling within different time periods in a long-running epic chase across quantum realms. Visit the Pyramids at Giza at the height of the power of the Pharaohs, Eastern Europe during the advent of the coffee trading empire, London in the age of James I, and more besides. The largest cast of characters and settings ever complied in a Lawhead series, forget everything you have come to expect about Historical Fiction, and remember... it's not time travel!

It is the ultimate quest for the ultimate treasure. Chasing a map tattooed on human skin. Across an omniverse of intersecting realities. To unravel the future of the future.

Kit Livingstone’s great-grandfather appears to him in a deserted alley during a tumultuous storm. He reveals an unbelievable story: that the ley lines throughout Britain are not merely the stuff of legend or the weekend hobby of deluded cranks, but pathways to other worlds. To those who know how to use them, they grant the ability to travel the multi-layered universe of which we ordinarily inhabit only a tiny part.

One explorer knew more than most. Braving every danger, he toured both time and space on voyages of heroic discovery. Ever on his guard and fearful of becoming lost in the cosmos, he developed an intricate code—a roadmap of symbols—that he tattooed onto his own body. This Skin Map has since been lost in time. Now the race is on to recover all the pieces and discover its secrets.

But the Skin Map itself is not the ultimate goal. It is merely the beginning of a vast and marvelous quest for a prize beyond imagining.

“Anything but ordinary . . . Dynamic settings are mixed with unpredictable adventures [and] parallel worlds.” —BookPage 

Kit Livingstone met his great-grandfather Cosimo in a rainy alley in London where he discovered the truth about alternate realities.

Now he’s on the run—and on a quest—trying to understand the impossible mission he inherited from Cosimo: to restore a map that charts the hidden dimensions of the multiverse. Survival depends on staying one step ahead of the savage Burley Men.

The key is the Skin Map—but where it leads and what it means, Kit has no idea. The pieces have been scattered throughout this universe and beyond.

Mina, from her outpost in seventeenth-century Prague, is quickly gaining both the experience and the means to succeed in the quest. Yet so are those with evil intent who, from the shadows, are manipulating great minds of history for their own malign purposes.

Those who know how to use the ley lines have left their own world behind to travel across time and space—down avenues of Egyptian sphinxes, to an Etruscan tufa tomb, into a Bohemian coffee shop, and across a Stone Age landscape where universes collide—in this, the second quest to unlock the mystery of The Bone House.

The Bright Empires series—from acclaimed author Stephen R. Lawhead—is a unique blend of epic treasure hunt, ancient history, alternate realities, cutting-edge physics, philosophy, and mystery. The result is a page-turning, adventure like no other.

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.

“Lawhead’s intricately plotted, compelling tale continues to demonstrate his mastery of world building.” —Library Journal

The quest for answers—and ultimate survival—hinges on finding the cosmic link between the Skin Map, the Shadow Lamp, and the Spirit Well.

The search for the map of blue symbols began in a rainy alley in London but has since expanded through space and time and includes more seekers.

Kit, Mina, Gianni, Cass, Haven, and Giles have gathered in Mina’s 16th-century coffee house and are united in their determination to find a path back to the Spirit Well. Yet, with their shadow lamps destroyed and key pieces of the map still missing, the journey will be far more difficult than they imagine. And when one of their own disappears with Sir Henry’s cryptic Green Book, they no longer know who to trust.

At the same time, the Zetetic Society has uncovered a terrifying secret which, if proven, will rock the very foundations of Creation. The quest for answers is no longer limited to recovering an unknown treasure. The fate of the universe depends on unraveling the riddle of the Skin Map.

“Anything but ordinary . . . Dynamic settings are mixed with unpredictable adventures [and] parallel worlds.” —BookPage review of The Skin Map

Kit stared at his fellow questors. “Is this it?”

It started with small, seemingly insignificant wrinkles in time: A busy bridge suddenly disappears, spilling cars into the sea. A beast from another realm roams modern streets. Napoleon’s army appears in 1930s Damascus ready for battle. But that’s only the beginning as entire realities collide and collapse.

The questors are spread throughout the universe. Mina is stuck on a plain of solid ice, her only companion an angry cave lion named Baby. Tony and Gianni are monitoring the cataclysmic reversal of the cosmic expansion—but coming up short on answers. And Burleigh is languishing in a dreary underground dungeon—his only hope of survival the very man he tried to kill. 

Kit and Cass are back in the Stone Age trying to reach the Spirit Well. But an enormous yew tree has grown over the portal, effectively cutting off any chance of return. Unless someone can find a solution—and fast—all Creation will be destroyed in the universal apocalypse known as The End of Everything.

In the final volume of the fantastic Bright Empires series, Stephen R. Lawhead brings the multi-stranded tale to a stunning and immensely satisfying conclusion.

“In the sweeping style of George R. R. Martin and J. R. Tolkien, Lawhead has created a diverse universe and rich cast of characters. Multiple story lines weave to form a satisfying ending to this mythological speculative series.” —Library Journal