The Bone House - By Stephen R. Lawhead

Important People

Anen – Friend of Arthur Flinders-Petrie, high priest of the temple of Amun in Egypt, 18th dynasty

Archelaeus Burleigh, Earl of Sutherland – Nemesis of Flinders-Petrie, Cosimo, Kit, and all right-thinking people

Arthur Flinders-Petrie – Also known as The Man Who Is Map, patriarch of his line. Begat Benedict, who begat Charles, who begat Douglas.

Balthazar Bazalgette – The Lord High Alchemist at the Court of Rudolf II in Prague, friend and confidant of Wilhelmina.

Burley Men – Con, Dex, Mal, and Tav. Lord Burleigh’s henchmen. They keep a Stone Age cat called Baby.

Cosimo Christopher Livingstone, the Elder, aka Cosimo – a Victorian gentleman who seeks to reunite the Skin Map and understand the key to the future.

Cosimo Christopher Livingstone, the Younger, aka Kit – Cosimo’s great-grandson.

Emperor Rudolf – King of Bohemia and Hungary, Archduke of Austria and King of the Romans, he is also known as the Holy Roman Emperor and is quite mad.

Engelbert Stiffelbeam – A baker from Rosenheim in Germany, affectionately known as Etzel.

Giles Standfast – Sir Henry Fayth’s coachman and Kit’s ally.

Gustavus Rosenkreuz – The Chief Assistant to the Lord High Alchemist and Wilhelmina’s ally.

Lady Haven Fayth – Sir Henry’s headstrong and mercurial niece.

Sir Henry Fayth, Lord Castlemain - member of the Royal Society, staunch friend and ally of Cosimo. Haven’s uncle.

Jakub Arnostovi – Wilhelmina’s landlord and business partner.

Snipe – Feral child, and malignant aide to Douglas Flinders-Petrie.

Wilhelmina Klug, aka Mina – In another life, a London baker and Kit’s girlfriend. In this life, owns Prague’s Grand Imperial Kaffeehaus with Etzel.

Xian-Li – Wife of Arthur Flinders-Petrie and mother of Benedict. Daughter of the tattooist Wu Chen Hu of Macao.


Our story thus far concerns an underemployed but agreeable young fellow named Cosimo Christopher Livingstone, who much prefers to go by the name of Kit. He is related by birth to an anachronistic old gentleman named Cosimo, who is in fact his long-lost great-grandfather: long lost in that, owing to circumstances arising from the phenomenon known as ley travel (about which, more later), he disappeared more than a hundred years or so ago while on a routine visit to the local shops.

Cosimo’s return was greeted by Kit with disbelief, astonishment, and chagrin. The elder relation’s insistence that Kit should accompany him on a quest of great significance was rebuffed and, after a fleeting taste of this heretofore unheard of ley travel, Kit retreated to the arms of his unpleasant girlfriend, Wilhelmina Klug. Due to the time drift involved in ley journeys, he arrived quite late for a long-promised shopping excursion.

When the explanation for his tardiness failed to convince this young woman, Kit endeavoured to provide her with a practical demonstration. Owing to his inexperience, the demo went horribly wrong and poor Wilhelmina was lost in the transition. However, Kit was found once more by Cosimo, who introduced him to a stalwart colleague by the name of Sir Henry Fayth. Together the three of them set out to find Wilhelmina and return her to her proper place and time.

Laudable as their concern may have been, it ultimately proved misplaced. Wilhelmina landed on her feet in seventeenth-century Prague, where she was befriended by a kindly soul named Engelbert “Etzel” Stiffelbeam, a baker from Rosenheim who had travelled to Bohemia to seek his fortune. The two joined forces and opened a bakery, the success of which remained elusive until they introduced an as-yet-unheard-of commodity to the capital: coffee. The Grand Imperial Kaffeehaus was an immediate success, and soon all of Old Prague was abuzz over the latest sensation.

The coffeehouse brought Wilhelmina into contact with members of the court of Emperor Rudolf II, and among these a coterie of alchemists who were dutifully employed in the pursuit of arcane studies in what is to this day known as the Magick Court.

Now we come to the concept of ley travel, or ley leaping as Lady Fayth, Sir Henry’s mercurial niece, is wont to call it. Ley travel consists of utilising, or manipulating, lines of electromagnetic force that are to be found embedded in the earth, thereby employing these lines of force by methods yet to be described by science to effect great leaps in not only distance but dimensional reality and, consequently, time as well. The reader is asked to bear in mind that ley travel is not the same as time travel, strictly speaking. Although it must be admitted that, owing to the fact that time is relative to the reality being visited, ley travellers do come unstuck in time, which leads to a sort of