F. Paul Wilson
Forge, 2021 (2021)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
Reviewed by Hilary Williamson
ere's a new offering,
, from F. Paul Wilson, well known for his popular
series. It introduces 26-year-old con artist Stanka Daley (raised by a grifter family) as she flees scammed marks to hide in a desert cave. There, something drops and attaches to her head - she acquires a symbiont.
uana, an old Native American lady in a tiny RV in the middle of nowhere, calls it an
, telling Daley that most people die from it. Juana claims it's her duty to help and guide Daley. She takes her to Nespodee Springs. While this develops, the symbiont starts talking to Daley - and just won't stop, injecting humor into the story, since she believes she's hallucinating. Once she accepts its presence, she calls it Pard.
n the Lodge above Nespodee Springs, readers meet Rhys Pendry, whose father Elis's computer warns that '
A Pairing has Occured
', a feared
. Elis leads a cult that follows
The Void Scrolls
, in worshipping previous Earth
described in them. Charting investments according to the Scrolls has made the Pendry clan very wealthy indeed. Now they work towards the return of the Visitors.
he world is dealing with a fast spreading medical mystery, the
. Daley gradually discovers that her symbiont has extensive healing powers, but keeps it secret. In Nespodee Springs, she establishes a store focused on on alternative and holistic healing. She and Rhy meet and are attracted to one another, leaving him torn between Daley and family loyalties.
his episode ends after a failed assassination attempt and the arrival of the
in Nespodee Springs. These events leave both Pard and Daley determined to unlock the Pendry clan's secrets.
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