Quick Review (read on for full review)
A good historical fantasy adventure, woven through with elements of suspense and mythology. 3 / 5
Summary (from Goodreads)
Fact: Five thousand years ago, the Mayans carved thirteen crystal skulls.
Fact: To protect humankind, they sent them to the four corners of the globe.
Fact: They gave a precise date for when they thought the world would end: 21 December 2012.
Fact: They said that this time the destruction will be of man’s making.
Fact: Only when all thirteen skulls are reunited can the world be saved from its fate.
For the last 500 years one skull has been missing. Now it’s about to be found …
It was only a horse, a white horse, carved in simple, flowing lines from a green hillside to show the white chalk beneath.
(From The Crystal Skull by Manda Scott, page 375)
I wanted to like this book more than I did, but I just felt like there was too much going on. The dual timelines of the Elizabethan and present day, although providing the space to create a very interesting story – and it was interesting – ensured there is too much to do and see, and a lot of story to tell. This book comes in at 500+ pages and it needs to be that long to cover so much story.
Apart from that, this is a good historical fantasy adventure, with elements of suspense and mythology woven through it. The settings were were evocative: in the modern timeline they included an unexplored cave network, the White Horse of Uffington, and the ancient Ridgeway. In the 16th century, we are given a glimpse of the wider world as Cedric Owens travels from Elizabethan England, to France, then Spain, then across the ocean to the New World, to New Spain. What’s more, I could envisage quite clearly each of the locations visited, either in the past or present.
I liked a number of the characters, although I didn’t feel much of a connection to any of them. The adventure element in Cedric Owens timeline was fun and engaging, and his friendship with Fernandez de Aguilar was well-written.
I can imagine this would make a fantastic film if given the opportunity.