It seems to be Karina Fabian Week here in the Frederation, as I’m trying to chip away at the backlog of much-delayed reviews and book blogs I’ve piled up over the past several months.
It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of Karina’s work. If you do a quick search for her name on this site, you’ll find a variety of articles, interviews, and book reviews. I’ve even set a couple of my own stories in universes she created. She’s a fresh breath of lightheartedness and humor in a genre that takes itself far, far too seriously.
Dragon detectives, faery mischief, zombie-hunting reality shows, and nuns in space all find their place within her curriculum vitae, as well as some wonderful non-fiction about the Catholic expression of the Christian faith. She’s also a leading light in the Catholic Writers Guild and married to a recently-retired Air Force officer, which, if it doesn’t qualify her for sainthood, at least requires the patience of a saint, as my own Lovely Wife can testify.
In lieu of a fireworks show or pie-eating contest, we’ll cap off the celebration of one of my favorite authors by showcasing her latest novel, Mind Over Psyche. It’s the sequel to Mind Over Mind, a star-spanning adventure of psychic warfare on the razor’s edge of sanity.
There are voices in Deryl’s head. They call him from consciousness, make him do odd things, overwhelm him with their needs. After five years in an asylum, he had a tenuous hold in his sanity, but no hope of a normal life–and he’s only 18. Joshua, a talented but arrogant psychiatric intern, is hired to befriend Deryl. Not content with a “buddy” role, Joshua uses neuro linguistic programming to help his troubled charge. His methods work, but that’s when the true danger begins. Here’s a taste:
As soon as Roger left, closing the door behind him, Malachai spoke. “You honestly think you will be leaving our institution soon, don’t you, Deryl?”
Deryl smirked and crossed his arms. He didn’t think it; he
knew it. Thanks to Joshua and his unique way of helping Deryl “tackle his issues,” he’d learned to control his powers and shield his mind from others—even the Master. Even Tasmae, but he couldn’t think about that now. Not if he was going to have to prove his sanity.
“I agree,” Malachai affirmed.
Deryl forced his jaw not to drop at the chief psychiatrist’s
statement, but he didn’t trust himself to speak.
Malachai continued, “You need to keep one thing in mind,
however: Our star intern has made remarkable progress with you, but Joshua will be gone at the end of the summer, either finishing his degree or pursuing that music career he’s so set on. Meanwhile, I remain the ultimate authority at South Kingston Mental Wellness Center. Further, your family has trusted my judgment for years.”
He paused, letting Deryl draw his own conclusions.
Deryl stomped to the chair in front of the desk and sat down.“What do you want?”
“What I’ve always wanted, Deryl. To better understand your unique abilities.
Deryl isn’t crazy; he’s psychic. Desperate to escape the insane asylum, he teleports to Kanaan, a world of telepaths who regard him as an oracle. But freedom comes at a price. The Kanaan expect their oracle to teach them to use their powers to wage war. Meanwhile, he’s falling in love, but to be with her means to share his psyche, which could drive her insane. Most dangerous of all, he hasn’t escaped the Call of the Master, enemy of the Kanaan, whose telepathic manipulations were why Deryl was committed in the first place. Now, the Master will forge Deryl’s powers into a weapon to kill all he loves or destroy his mind trying.
He found himself in the small glen Tasmae had imagined for them the first time they’d actually “spoken” together in the Netherworld. The canopy of branches and leaves shrouded them in privacy. It cut off the view of the sky, yet somehow there was plenty of light to see by. It didn’t matter; Deryl only cared about seeing one thing.
She ran to him, and they embraced. Then he pulled away. “Terry said I’d hurt you—”
She touched her fingers to his lips, and he understood that Terry didn’t know everything, and that the only pain she felt was at their separation.
Then she flooded into his mind, and where she touched, waves of cool healing washed over his psychic wounds. He sighed with relief, and actually swayed a little. She caught him, and he wrapped his arms around her, first for support, then for something far more intimate. This time, they would be alone.
A familiar voice, a voice from nightmare, interrupted them. I WOULDN’T BE SO CERTAIN ABOUT THAT.
As one, they turned toward the intruder and blanched.
They turned and stared at each other. They knew him?
The Master, once known on Kanaan as Alugiac, laughed. A triumphant satisfaction flowed from him like the thick fog that was slowly rolling from where he stood at the glen’s edge.
AT LAST I RETURN TO YOU, DERYL—AND LOOK AT THE GIFT YOU’VE BROUGHT ME!
“Tasmae, run!” Deryl shouted. A sword was suddenly in his hand, but though he held it at the ready, he was shaking so hard the blade quivered.
The fog had surrounded them now. The trees, moss, even the rocks had eroded at its touch. Colors fled, leaving them in a gray and black world, with only an indeterminate ground and low fog as landscape.
I’ll post a review of Mind Over Psyche at a later date, but don’t wait for me to finish cleaning off my virtual desk—pick up a copy yourself and enjoy.