When I finished reading THE SPIRIT WELL, book 3 in the BRIGHT EMPIRES series, I wrote, “Having read this installment, I predict that Bright Empires may become one of those perennial journeys: a long read you can soak into every other winter or so and just enjoy the trip.”
Indeed: Although I found the story a little slow to begin–or maybe I was just slow to connect with it–by the time THE FATAL TREE arrived in my mail box (a gift from the publisher in exchange for a review), reading BRIGHT EMPIRES had become a yearly tradition, one I’ve thoroughly enjoyed.
THE FATAL TREE begins where THE SHADOW LAMP left off: with our heroes reeling at the realization that the universe is quite literally about to collapse. Because they really are heroes, of the old-fashioned courageous kind, Kit, Wilhelmina, Gianni, Cass, and the Zetetic Society are determined to try to stop the cataclysm from occurring.
To do so, they must get back to the place where the breach in reality began: at the Spirit Well, where Arthur Flinders-Petrie declared himself god in one small matter of life and death.
The trouble is that the only known portal to the Spirit Well is now completely overgrown by a massive, fatally charged yew tree. And even getting there will not be easy–with the multiverse growing unstable and whole dimensions beginning to collapse, time and space is colliding and ley leaps are growing harder and harder to make. To find the Well at all means risking everything, not least in trusting an old enemy–Lord Archelaeus Burleigh himself.
By the far the series’ most suspenseful installment, THE FATAL TREE forces its heroes to the farthest edges of their resources, including powers they did not know they possessed–and to an understanding of themselves, of the multiverse, and of the shape of Creation that they could not have guessed.