Review: The Fatal Tree (CSFF Tour, Day 2)

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.

18853210THE 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.



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6 responses to “Review: The Fatal Tree (CSFF Tour, Day 2)”

  1. Rachel Avatar

    Julie–thanks! Glad you came by :).

    Robert–yeah, those Easter eggs are fun. Makes me want to reread the whole series back to back sometimes, since I think I’ll catch more of them. (I couldn’t remember whose spoon that was. Knew it was somebody’s, but no real recollection whose.)

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  3. Julie Avatar

    Great review! It almost reads like a teaser for the book (and I say that in the nicest way) and yet it also explains what you (and I) found so compelling. I admire your skills. Nicely done!

  4. Meagan @ Blooming with Books Avatar
    Meagan @ Blooming with Books

    I too agree this is a series to be enjoyed on a yearly basis.

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  6. Robert Treskillard Avatar


    Nice review … I definitely agree on how enjoyable the books are. In particular, I like Lawhead’s little easter eggs he embeds in the text, like Kit’s missing spoon being found.

    I also thought the trust factor played a big part, especially for Kit … his reaction was very believable.

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