Empire of Bones is the third and final book in the Ashtown Burials series, and it’s best one. Wilson does a superb job of sourcing his villains and protagonists from classic literature and poetry, ancient history and mythology. It lends an immediacy and real-world feel the novel, like it all could be true and we common folk simply haven’t had visibility to the supernatural undercurrents swirling through our world history.
Teenager Cyrus Smith is an Explorer and card-carrying member of the ancient Order of Brendan. The Order is under threat from various forces (contemporary traitors and ancient evil powers alike), and the centuries-old battle threatens to spill over decisively into the broader geopolitical theater. With book 3, a lot of questions are finally answered and plot lines resolved, making it the fastest-paced and most emotionally satisfying of the series.
There is a lot of violence, but it’s not gratuitous and there is no explicit content, so it’s well-matched to the intended audience of 10-14 year old readers. I suspect that boys in particular will be drawn to it, but not exclusively. Overall, I enjoyed Wilson’s other trilogy (100 Cupboards) better, but Ashtown Burials is solid fiction as well, and well worth reading.