Psychomancer by Alan Ryker

29 Jun

Psychomancer by Alan Ryker
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Summary: Science scoffs at the concept of luck. The lottery is called a tax on people who are bad at math, and Vegas rakes in cash based on precise odds, not good fortune.

But what if good luck were a scientific reality? An evolutionary trait?

Cornelius Worthington, the luckiest man in the world, washes up on a beach in Miami with no knowledge of where he is.

Natasha Barrett, the most gifted psion the government has ever trained, is tasked with capturing or killing him.

Seymour Zimmerman, a freelance journalist who writes a syndicated column about strange deaths, follows their path of destruction and winds up with a bigger story than he could have ever imagined.

Then things really start to get weird.

Psychomancer is alternatingly funny and horrific, philosophical and explosive. It asks: When good luck is real, what happens if we end up on the wrong end of someone else’s?

As the summary promises, this book does deal with the question of good luck and what the consequences are if you aren’t the one with it but it is no where near as simple as that. Natasha, as one of the most powerful Psion’s in the CIA, senses another more powerful Psion which doesn’t feel quite right, not quite human. Standard procedure in this case assumes the new Psion is rogue and must be dealt with by a team containing firepower as well as other CIA trained Psions. If the rogue is powerful yet able to be trained, then they will recruit. If not, they will eliminate.
Natasha has no idea what this new entity is or if it’s a threat. It seems to be co-habitating with a human but can manipulate events to work out in it’s, or the humans, favor. Years in advance. Everything this entity does affects those around it and benefits this man. Natasha also realizes that she is being ‘allowed’ to remote view by design and senses she has a place in his manipulation of events.
Natasha’s personality is very cold and arrogant. She feels superior to those around her and has spent all of her time honing her abilities. No friends, no family, her only motivation is to be powerful. You don’t get a true sense of her as being a hero in any way. At first.
Cornelius has lived his life on an island, isolated from society and unaware if there even is anyone else left. Books and his late parents have taught him the basics but he is lonely and bored and tries several time to kill himself. Everytime something intervenes and he is left unharmed and unaware of the power within him that is keeping him safe. Finally successful in jumping from the cliffs of his island home, Cornelius washes ashore in Miami. Having no idea how to interact with society, knowing he is there for a purpose and realizing Natasha is involved somehow, Cornelius and the ‘power’ within him leave a trail of death and destruction as he follows her.

An important player in the story is Seymour. A bitter and jaded journalist who has a rare condition in which he doesn’t feel pain. Although horrified by Cornelius’s lack of empathy he is compelled to go with him.

I found the most important aspect of this story to be self-discovery. It was fascinating to watch the characters come to terms with who they really are. Their motivations. Natasha discovers forgiveness and acceptance. Seymour discovers fear and pain while Cornelius shows them a realistic approach to their lives they cannot refute.

I do not have the background in philosophy to truly analyze this story but it still made me think. On the outside, Psychomancer is a thriller that takes it’s reader on a ride into hell and chaos; Violence and the evil inherent in us all but once you are done reading you realize there was also the story of human weakness, fear and vulnerability.

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Posted by on June 29, 2011 in Fantasy, Science Fiction, Thriller


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