Books by Tim Powers

Released: Aug. 1, 2006

"Not exactly a shapely construction—but, as Shakespeare's Othello might say, there's magic in the web of it."
Middle Eastern power struggles, the structural integrity of the space-time continuum and the secret life of Albert Einstein are among the ingredients blended with Machiavellian cunning by prizewinning fantasy author Powers (Declare, 2001, etc.). Read full book review >
DECLARE by Tim Powers
Released: Jan. 1, 2001

"There's never been a novel quite like Declare (though comparisons to Neal Stephenson's recent Cryptonomicon will doubtless be made): one of the protean Powers's most absorbing and rewarding creations. "
Powers, for more than 20 years the reigning king of adult historical fantasy (Earthquake Weather, 1997, etc.), surpasses himself—and enters richly promising new territory—with this intricate, inventive tale of Cold War skullduggery and close encounters with malevolent supernatural entities. Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 1, 1997

Sequel to both of Powers's previous novels, Last Call (1992) with its gambling, serial immortality, and Fisher King, and Expiration Date(1996), with its ghosts, magic, and psychiatry. The current Fisher King of the American West, Scott Crane, has been murdered by Janis Cordelia Plumtree. Either Janis is possessed by several powerful and malevolent ghosts, or—as analyst and pervert Dr. Richard Paul Armentrout of Rosencrans Medical Center would have it—she's a victim of multiple personality disorder that can be treated with electroshock therapy and a magical Tarot deck. But an earthquake allows Janis to escape Armentrout's clutches, and she heads for the ghostproof and magicproof Solville apartment complex, where teenager Kootie Sullivan bears the Fisher King's unhealing wound while he and his adoptive parents guard the lifeless but uncorrupted body of Crane. If Kootie becomes the next Fisher King, his reign will be brief, troubled, and inconsequential. But how might Crane himself be restored to life? Either way, only the true Fisher King can save the land from destruction. What with the clangorous, hypercomplicated backdrop (the foregoing is but a brief outline), even readers of the two prior books will find this one difficult, if not impenetrable, with plenty of labyrinthine twiddling but very little plot. Coagulated and unengaging. Read full book review >
Released: Jan. 1, 1996

Characteristically weird ghost fantasy set in Los Angeles, from the author of Last Call (1992), etc. Ghosts, it seems, are just the moronic shells of the dead; fascinated by coins, palindromes, and chalk-drawn circles, and sometimes substantial enough to eat bottle caps, they're easily trapped by acquisitive ghost-sensitives, who snort them to augment their own lives. Young Kootie Parganas, the son of psychically gifted but inattentive parents, decides to run away from home. But first he must smash the plaster bust of Dante that his parents seem to venerate. The bust contains a tiny glass bottle, and, sniffing the contents, Kootie finds he's inhaled the still sensible and intelligent ghost of Thomas Alva Edison! But then Kootie must flee for his life from a ruthless one-armed ghost-hunter. Kootie and ``Al'' soon strike up a partnership, and Al shows Kootie ways to throw the one-armed man off the scent. Elsewhere, electrical engineer Pete Sullivan, pursued by ghost-sniffer Loretta deLarava, conceals himself behind Houdini's ``mask''; psychiatrist Angelica Elizalde, having in a bungled sÇance killed a patient by accident, seeks the ghost's forgiveness; and ex-child actor Nicholas Bradshaw's ghost continues to reanimate his own corpse. Powers's highly original and often amusing scenario, painstakingly researched, lacks internal logic; and with the living people almost as inanely obsessed as the dead, it's hard to care what happens to either. Read full book review >
LAST CALL by Tim Powers
Released: April 20, 1992

Rich, top-flight mythic fantasy based on Jungian archetypes, Tarot symbolism, T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land, and the Parsifal legend; by the smartly acclaimed author of On Stranger Tides, 1987, etc. Luck could not flow with more Jungian synchronicity for Powers than his having cast Bugsy Siegel as The Fisher King in this long novel just as Warren Beatty's Bugsy has fixed the nation's eye on the Oscar race, along with Robin Williams's turn as The Fisher King. The scene is Las Vegas, the subject supernatural poker using Tarot cards. Bugsy Siegel is the reigning Fisher King whose new Flamingo Hotel gambling casino is modeled on the Tarot's tower card, with the Flamingo as an inverted tower. Overthrowing Bugsy is Georges Leon, who assassinates Bugsy in his mistress's home in L.A. and prepares to become Fisher King. Leon has two sons, Robert and Scott. He has already spiritually gutted Robert and now can see through Robert's eyes, and is setting up five-year-old Scott for the same treatment while inducting him into playing-card magic. But Leon's wife shoots him in the groin, giving Leon the Fisher King's unhealing wound, and throws Scott onto a yacht that's passing by on a trailer. Scott, who has been blinded in one eye by Leon and become a one-eyed jack, is adopted and raised by the yacht's wizardly owner, Ozzie (who is much smarter than the Wizard of Oz). Scott faces his father in a weird poker game called Assumption, which uses Tarot cards and allows Leon to assume the bodies of losers for his future use, thus assuring him of immortality as long as he has a stable of bodies. When Scott loses to Leon, his objective becomes someday to beat Leon at Assumption and save his own soul by depriving his beastly father of bodies. Scott is aided by the ghost of Bugsy Siegel, which he meets at the bottom of Lake Mead. Knockout poker sequences give the symbolism real sizzle, while the genre is enlivened throughout with great lines from Eliot. Read full book review >