Kit stared at his fellow questors. “Is this it . . . the End of Everything?”
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. 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 murder.
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 this final volume of the fantastic Bright Empires series, Stephen R. Lawhead brings this 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
In the final installment of Lawhead's Bright Empires series, people and time periods are displaced in history: suburban husband Howard Smith goes to sleep and awakes in pre-Columbian Mexico only to find himself regarded as a sky god by Aztec farmers. These displacements are forebodings of the "End of Everything," a collapse that would end all existence. Characters attempt to reunite as time is rearranged in order to prevent the yew tree from blocking access to the Spirit Well, where an earlier event has set the destruction of the universe into motion. Burleigh, the antagonist of the previous books, steals the spotlight; his emotionally powerful story finally reveals his deep anger, regret, and fear about his place in the world and the difficulty of transcending his situation. Lawhead exhibits great intelligence and historical awareness, but the novel needs more cohesive storytelling. Its religious aspects are heavy-handed, which detracts from the moral concerns of the story, particularly in passages regarding Burleigh's fate and the yew tree's naming. Despite flaws, this is still a pleasant read and a fitting conclusion to the series.
Lawhead Does It Again
Stephen R. Lawhead's "Bright Empires" Saga and the final installment "The Fatal Tree" was all one could/should expect from a Lawhead work. Intelligent and deeply spiritual (without the trappings of cliché and evangelical leanings) "The Fatal Tree" provoked in me a sense of wonder of things seen and unseen, a heartfelt gratitude for my personal faith, and satisfaction in the consumption. I highly recommend the series and will read it again. Thanks for taking me on this journey of place and time.