The Silk Map is the sequel to The Scroll of Years, which I reviewed earlier this year. It reunites odd couple adventurers Inago Bone, the thief, and Persimmon Gaunt, the poet, along with their friend Snow Pine, the street warrior. The trio are desperate to find their children, the couple’s son and Snow Pine’s daughter, who they sent away to another dimension through a magic scroll in order to save their lives. Now they must find all the pieces of a silk map to discover the location of legendary Iron Moths who spin remarkable, impenetrable silk and bring the silk to the Monkey Goddess known as The Great Sage so that she will help them find the children. But they are hardly the only people who want the Iron Moths, and the moths have their own utterly devoted defenders.
Willrich makes use of ancient Chinese and other Asian mythology and his own imagination to create a fascinating and unusual world. And in Gaunt and Bone he has given us a delightful pair of seemingly mismatched and yet obviously devoted lovers and companions. The addition of Snow Pine adds balance and a new perspective to the adventures and the other friends and enemies that the trio encounter all add to the rich and sometimes dizzying tapestry Willrich spins here. There is even a flying carpet!
The plot leaps from adventure to adventure with the agility of Bone leaping from roof to roof. Willrich gives us sword and sorcery, poetry, philosophy, and mythology in a heady mix that never lets up.
Just a note: This is not a stand-alone book. Readers should start with The Scroll of Years before moving to this one or they will never figure out what is going on. At times, even if you have read the first volume, it may still be difficult to keep up with who are the good guys and who are the bad guys (and sometimes the characters themselves are not at all clear about which they are) but it is all great fun. Anyone who enjoys Indiana Jones or any swashbuckling, adventurous fantasy will enjoy Gaunt and Bone and look forward to the next time we get to join them on their amazing journeys.[amazon template=iframe image&asin=1616148993]