Monday, October 22, 2012

The Spirit Well, Day Two of the October 2012 CSFF Blog Tour

The Spirit Well, by Stephen Lawhead
Day Two of the October 2012 CSFF Blog Tour

My original intent for day two was to do something that I had done for The Bone House, and that was try to lay out the lines of development sequentially for the principle characters of the story.

I began, and all seemed to be going along just fine, but when I was a good ways into Wilhelmina’s adventure, I got lost.

After Wilhelmina is warned by Lady Haven Fayth that Lord Archelaeus Burleigh has devised a plan that will likely put Mina in jeopardy, Mina decides it is best to leave medieval Prague for a while. Among other things, it will give her some time to look for Kit. She decides she must first go to her mentor, Brother Lazarus and enlist his aid.

On page 96, the back story of how Wilhelmina first came to meet Brother Lazarus begins and continues on for pages and chapters, so excessively that I’m not sure if or where Mina’s tale returns to the point where the back story began. It just seemed that for Wilhelmina the pieces no longer fit together.

Now I am going to assume that on closer inspection, I will find that they do, but the fact that I’m running into such a problem now may indicate that the method Mr. Lawhead has taken up may not be the best after all. Perhaps the story should be told in a more linear fashion for each character. The intersection and coincidence of individual stories prohibit a pure linear tale, but I think I’m ready to say it could be improved upon.

I hope to eventually get it all straightened out, but it is doubtful that will happen before the tour will end. At any rate, when I do, I’ll post it.

Thanks to Thomas Nelson for kindly providing a copy of The Spirit Well for review on the October, 2012 Christian Science Fiction and Fantasy Blog Tour.


  1. I find books that jump back and forth in the timelines to be challenging and well worth the effort. Don't worry eventually Mina will get back to her backstory, but it does take awhile.

  2. Thomas, I originally thought as you did, but I figured I had not read closely and simply had missed when we returned from Min's backstory to present story time. But as it turns out in this wonderful, complex multidimensional tale Mr. Lawhead is weaving, we are still in Mina's backstory even though we are in Kit's present story. Remember, Mina said to Kit that for her the event he related, about her saving his life in Egypt, had (or should that be "has"?) not yet happened. I find this such an intriguing story twist. Mina will have learned so much before she saves Kit at the point when he knew next to nothing.

    Honestly, I don't know how Mr. Lawhead came up with this and less how he's keeping it all straight. I mean, it's hard enough to write a one dimensional epic, but this multidimensional story is staggering in its possibilities.


  3. Becky, Thanks for that insight. I don't have Quests one and two with me at the moment, but I will check it out.

    As for Mr. Lawhead, he is in somewhat of a class of his own, wouldn't you agree?

    Either he's a genius, or if not, he's got a peculiarly conscientious and meticulous mind and such a devotion to getting it right that there must have been an extremely trying time or two. Probably it's both.

    As an aside, I hope we get more of Ross, too.

    But now, the theology....

  4. You're not alone. I do believe Becky's right, but I wasn't certain that we were still in Mina's backstory.

    I love time-travel stories but I'm not sure I'd manage to write one correctly. They are a lot of work!

  5. Thomas and Julie, I read on Mr. Lawhead's site, and perhaps in the note at the back of the book, that this series was 15 years in the making. And counting, since all five books aren't out.

    Mr. Lawhead, indeed, takes meticulous care with the details.

    I think the theology is interesting to discuss, but I don't think we know yet who is a reliable narrator. Also, the poster that led Cass to the Zetetic Society was one only certain people could see--not particularly indicative of universalism.

    But I would say, lines that can be understood as tenants of universalism are ones we must examine with Scripture. As I said in my Dat Two post, the real question is, Is it true?

    However, a character can say something that isn't true while the book itself, or in this case, the series, might be saying something completely true. I tend to think we can't know at this point in the story. But clearly, God is moving front and center.