The Map of Bones
Map of Bones is the second in Haig’s Fire Sermon series. The resistance has scattered, victim to Council predations. Zoe, Piper, and Cass make their convoluted way back to resistance leadership, through a maze of obstacles and diversions.
Along the way, they collect a former resistance leader named Sally, and the maddened seer she now tends. Xander is Cass’ future, once the visions begin to eat away at mind and heart. Xander still sees, but in fragments he can’t fully articulate. From Sally, they learn of the Ark, a place of the Before, that becomes both their Grail and their white whale.
After forging a tenuous alliance with the most unlikely of allies, the resistance manages to retake the town of New Hobart. Learning more of Zach’s plans for the Omegas, Cass and Piper begin to search for the Ark in earnest, hoping it will give them a way to find Elsewhere. What they find is less than they hoped and more than they could ever imagine.
I love how the Ark document fragments are woven in, providing a wealth of information for us the outside readers that the readers of the documents themselves can’t make heads or tails of. Once they find the Ark papers, there’s a definite Pern feel to things, like when the Pernese find the ships and tech from the original settlers. I really hope that we learn what triggered such a holocaust of fire in the first place, and how it was that there was time to prepare the Ark. If there was time for that, why was there not time to staunch the madness that unleashed such mutual destruction?
I’m actually starting to like the Ringmaster. I hope we learn his real name, and that he’s able to continue evolving. It’s nice to see that even one as hardened and privileged as a Council member can begin to see things differently, no matter how slow or skewed it is at first.
Haha. Big smile. I enjoyed picking out the references to the biblical Ark built by Noah. It was a ‘dove’ that found them after the events in the Ark, which….ironically, was destroyed by flooding. (Paloma’s arrival also signifies the reintroduction of beneficial technology and an end to the fraternal twinning, another inverted Ark reference, as is a world destroyed by fire rather than flood) I am guessing we are going to encounter a person or place with a rainbow oriented name, or other rainbow tie in the next volume. Because these references are oft inverted, perhaps a positive gay reference. A key player from Elsewhere who is such maybe, because the rainbow was a sign of healing in Noah’s story, and the promise of no more global flooding to punish mankind.) I understand the reasoning, but I kinda think Maze of Bones would have been a better title than Map.
Haig’s latest novel is fast-paced and well-drawn, easy to lose yourself in. I was so disappointed when I reached the end. I’ll be counting the months until the next in the series released. Then I get the pleasure of reading these again!
Highly recommended for fans of Suzanne Collin’s The Hunger Games and the Red Rising trilogy by Pierce Brown.