Distinctive, beautifully turned alternate worlds yarn: Wilson's impressive hardback debut. As children, Karen, Laura and Tim discovered they had the ability to open up doors to other worlds--where they encountered a sinister figure, the Gray Man--and were severely beaten for doing so by their terrified father Willis. Thus, Karen has spent her adult years trying to deny her gift, and has told her potentially highly talented son Michael nothing. Then Walker, the Gray Man, reappears, with Michael his all too apparent target. So Karen and Michael flee to California, where Laura, more comfortable with her unusual abilities than Karen, has taken up residence in an alternate world like, but rather nicer than, our own (younger brother Tim dropped out of sight years ago). Laura helps Michael develop his powers--until Walker again finds them; when Michael resists Walker's hypnotic persuasions, the latter casually murders an innocent bystander. But who is the Gray Man, and whence come his powers so similar to their own? Karen and Laura must learn the truth about their, and his, origins. Meanwhile, in Walker's world, a horrible place where magic works, an irresistible plot to capture Karen, Laura, and especially Michael (for use as secret weapons in a religious war) comes to a boil. . . . Flawlessly plotted, convincingly peopled, satisfyingly detailed, and set forth in unadorned, effortless prose: admirable work from a promising new talent.