The Touch (The Adversary Cycle book 3)

by F. Paul Wilson

“I forgot to say my prayers.”
“That’s okay, Love,”
he said soothingly and she went back to sleep immediately.
There’s nobody listening anyway.

The third book in the Adversary cycle, and the last of the standalones before the trilogy, this is best so far.

Dr. Alan Bulmer, a general practitioner M.D., comes into physical contact with a certain transient man, and at his touch a jolt of strange electricity is released. The homeless man does not last much longer, but Alan soon learns he’s able to heal patients with just a touch. Soon the circus begins to gather around him, starting with the media, and he’s also becoming aware that the power is affecting him, changing him in some way. At the very least his short-term memory is taking a hit. Ba, the oversized Vietnamese houseman of an acquaintance claims to recognize the power from the Vietnam War.

Dr. Bulmer represents some of the best in humanity and the struggles of this man carry an additional weight because he’s trying so hard to do the right thing, agonizing over his decisions. Dr. Bulmer’s relationship with his wife Ginny suffers a great deal and opens up the possibility of a relationship with Sylvia, whom Ba serves. In a bit of a surprise, Ba is an extremely compelling character, and though his role in the story is important the character is so strong you’ll want to see much more. Mr. Wilson can create supporting characters so full and real no matter how he uses them it’s not enough.

The book’s use of medical terminology is heavy but doesn’t present a barrier to get at the narrative. The opposite, really, as it helps tie the reader to the idea of learned, highly-educated healing.

A ridiculously entertaining and compelling medical thriller with living, breathing characters, some mystical horror elements, great pacing, and a subtext exploration on the nature of helping people… and the costs of doing so.

“How could he tell her or anyone else how he felt? It was as if he were the first astronaut in space, and he had looked down from orbit and seen that the earth was flat.”

5- stars



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