It's been more than a year since Billy Bones made Cyrus and Antigone his heirs, and they have only just discovered the extent of their hidden inheritance. There are fortunes upon fortunes to be uncovered, but the only thing that Cyrus is interested in at present are the weapons that Bones collected, relics tinged by the Dragon's Tooth that are capable of harming transmortals.
For Radu Bey has woken, and he has plans to wake an evil far greater even than him, the mother of evil, Babd Catha. Through various gruesome and morbid rituals he has gathered the power to unlock the Burials, awaken the sleepers, and raze Ashtown to the ground.
If Cyrus is to defeat both Radu Bey and Babd Catha, save his friends, and recover the Dragon's Tooth from Dr. Phoenix, he must be prepared to face his own death and dare to go down into the deepest of the Burials to awaken the only sleepers who can help him now—the Brothers Below.
Every book in the Ashtown Burials series has been very obviously about just one thing—death, and all of its life-altering implications. But in none of the books has the theme been more prominent then Empire of Bones. While the other books merely talked about death, hinted at it,Empire of Bones grabs it by the shoulders and looks it square in the eyes.
Not to spoil too much, but a lot of our heroes die in the course of the book—some in rather stomach-turning and cringe-inducing ways. People are tortured, beheaded, crushed, flung against walls, thrown out of windows, dismembered, stabbed, shot, and (in one case) nailed to a door. Radu Bey creates a temple for himself made out of living human bodies. This fairly disturbing content may be a little too disturbing for younger readers who've gotten hooked on the story of Cyrus and Antigone.
But Nate Wilson doesn't write about horrific things just for the sake of horror, but because he sees the world as being naturally full of horrific things—things that can and will be defeated by people who are unafraid of death. He wants readers to know that darkness is real, but that light and laughter and love are strong weapons against it. His heroes are the ones who go to their deaths singing because they know that life is a gift to be spent—and they are ready to spend it.
Review by Lauren Shearer
Lauren Shearer writes words for fun and profit. She also makes films, but everyone knows you can't make a profit doing that. Her other hobby is consistently volunteering way too much of her time. You can read more of her reviews here.
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