Alan Ryker is an established writer and Psychomancer is a very professional and well crafted novel which held my attention from beginning to end. Anyone into conspiracy theories should certainly enjoy it, as it uses the premise that there are global armies of ‘psions’ , genetically advanced humans, battling each other with psychic weapons in an extended ‘cold war’.
Natasha is the most advanced of the psions, and she spends her time having virtual sex and keeping the world safe for the CIA and the USA. When a new psion presence is detected, Natasha is assigned to find and evaluate it, and it rocks her world to find that it is far, far more powerful than she. The book explores the changing relationship between Natasha, the new psion (Cornelius) and Natasha‘s paymasters, the CIA; when the decision is taken to terminate Cornelius, all hell breaks loose.
There are certain similarities in the plot to Stephen King’s ‘Firestarter’, but that’s not such a bad comparison to make and there is no sense of this being a sub-standard SK novel. Alan Ryker gives plenty of depth to a variety of characters, and there is rarely a dull moment. His explanation of psychic powers is lucid and logical and just detailed enough; he never gets tied down with the minutiae, and that lets the story flow.
The small criticisms that I have concern the fate of some of the characters, who seem to be written out before their time, and the ending which I thought was a little weak. I would have been happier to see the story extended a little, but maybe I’m just being greedy; you know what it’s like when you read something good, you don’t really want it to end.