Bone Lines

Bone Lines : The bestselling novel about our remarkable human journey

3.74 (137 ratings by Goodreads)

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A young woman walks alone through a barren landscape in a time before history, a time of cataclysmic natural change. She is cold, hungry and with child but not without hope or resources. A skilful hunter, she draws on her intuitive understanding of how to stay alive... and knows that she must survive.

In present-day London, geneticist Dr Eloise Kluft wrestles with an ancient conundrum as she unravels the secrets of a momentous archaeological find. She is working at the forefront of contemporary science but is caught in the lonely time-lock of her own emotional past.

Bone Lines is the story of two women, separated by millennia yet bound by the web of life. A tale of love and survival - of courage and the quest for wisdom - it explores the nature of our species and asks what lies at the heart of being human.

Although partly set during a crucial era of human history 74,000 years ago, Bones Lines is very much a book for our times. Dealing with themes from genetics, climate change and migration to the yearning for meaning and the clash between faith and reason, it also paints an intimate portrait of who we are as a species. The book tackles some of the big questions but requires no special knowledge of any of the subjects to enjoy.

Alternating between ancient and modern timelines, the story unfolds through the experiences of two unique characters: One is a shaman, the sole surviving adult of her tribe who is braving a hazardous journey of migration, the other a dedicated scientist living a comfortable if troubled existence in London, who is on her own mission of discovery.

The two are connected not only by a set of archaic remains but by a sense of destiny - and their desire to shape it. Both are pioneers, women of passion, grit and determination, although their day to day lives could not be more different. One lives moment by moment, drawing on every scrap of courage and ingenuity to keep herself and her infant daughter alive, while the other is absorbed by work, imagination and regret. Each is isolated and facing her own mortal dangers and heart-rending decisions, but each is inspired by the power of the life force and driven by love.

Bone Lines stands alone as a novel but also marks the beginning of the intended 'Children of Sarah' series.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 272 pages
  • 135 x 216 x 32mm | 296g
  • Unbound Digital
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1912618486
  • 9781912618484
  • 1,115,759

Review quote

"An accomplished debut... one to watch," Su Bristow, prize-winning author of Sealskin

"Opening up new worlds... what powerful fiction does best... Ambitious and brave yet effortlessly pulled off. This is a novel that can be appreciated on so many different levels. It had me rooting for two incredible women and kept me curious right through to a more than satisfying end. If you liked Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari... as if fictionalised and seen through the eyes of two fierce and admirable women." 5/5 for Bone Lines from Sara Wingfield, book blogger at

"A brilliant, genre-defying read, Bone Lines deftly unravels the wonder of oneness," Barbara Bos, Managing Editor, Women Writers, Women's Books.

"Compelling... the story drew me in completely... a fascinating read," Cheryl M-M, book blogger,

"A monument to the timelessness of human nature, and a work of art..." - New Orbit magazine

"Gracefully written... a brave and moving adventure of the imagination" - Lindsay Clarke
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About Stephanie Bretherton

Born in Hong Kong to a pair of Liverpudlians (and something of a nomad ever since), Stephanie is based in London but manages her sanity by escaping to any kind of coast. Before returning to her first love of writing fiction, Stephanie spent many years pursuing alternative forms of storytelling, from stage to screen and media to marketing. Meanwhile, an enduring love affair with words has led her down many a wormhole on the written page.

Drawn to what connects rather than separates, Stephanie is fascinated by the spaces between absolutes and opposites, between science and spirituality, nature and culture. This lifelong curiosity - and occasional conflict - has been channelled into her debut novel, Bone Lines, and into short stories, poems and various works in progress. This includes ideas for the continuation of the Children of Sarah series, of which Bone Lines is the first story.
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Rating details

137 ratings
3.74 out of 5 stars
5 34% (46)
4 28% (38)
3 22% (30)
2 13% (18)
1 4% (5)
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