Book Review: Bone Quill by John Barrowman and Carole E. Barrowman

Spoiler Warning:  Stop reading here if you wish to remain completely spoiler-free for Bone Quill.  While I tried to avoid revealing any huge plot spoilers in this review, I do touch on some plot points.  Consider yourself warned.

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Bone Quill is the highly anticipated second book in the Hollow Earth series by John Barrowman and Carole E. Barrowman.  Bone Quill is scheduled for release in the UK on February 7, 2013, but reports online seem to indicate that it has been released early.  I received my own copy that I ordered from Amazon UK on January 31st, so that may well be the case.  The US release date listed on Amazon US is July 9, 2013.

About the authors:  John Barrowman is an actor, singer, and theater performer who is currently starring in CW’s Arrow.  He is also widely known to American audiences for his prior roles on Torchwood and Doctor Who.  Carole E. Barrowman is a professor of English at Alverno College in Milwaukee, WI, crime fiction columnist for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and reviewer for the Minnesota Star Tribune.  She also appears regularly on the Milwaukee NBC affiliate’s morning show to discuss books.

Bone Quill picks up shortly after where the first book in the series, Hollow Earth, left off.  We are first given a flashback that shows us how and why the Calder family was broken up years ago.  This scene also shows how the twins’ abilities could be used by those searching for the Bone Quill, an ancient artifact that can be used by an Animare to unlock Hollow Earth.

We then return to the present day, where twins Matt and Emily Calder remain in the watchful care of their grandfather at Auchinmurn Abbey following the mysterious disappearance of their mother.  While growing restless with being unable to leave the Abbey and search for her, the twins come to a surprising new realization about the extent of their abilities.

Meanwhile, we return to the parallel story of Auchinmurn Abbey in the Middle Ages.  Young Solon remains helping the Brothers of the Abbey in the aftermath of the Viking attack.  He soon discovers that things are amiss among the Brothers, and a mysterious stranger in their midst may hold the key.

The two parallel stories come together in a surprising way as the search for the Bone Quill continues.  Ultimately the Calder twins find themselves facing the terrible choice between saving their family and saving the world from the horrors of Hollow Earth.

I found this book to be an excellent follow-up to the opening story in Hollow Earth.  The momentum carried right into Bone Quill, yet the story progressed into a nice second “chapter” of the trilogy.  Like most good second editions within a trilogy, the ending of the book was left sufficiently open enough to make me crazy with anticipation for the story’s conclusion in book three.

Like Hollow Earth, the story in Bone Quill is one that both young adults and children can enjoy.  I again recommend this series for parents with children in that age group.  This would be a great series for the family to read together, or each read in their own time and then discuss as a family.