An ordinary man tries to make sense of his extraordinary powers in Stephens’ (Nature of Evil, 2012, etc.) crisply narrated tale with paranormal elements.
Jon Drayton knows he is special. He heals dead people. He miraculously cured his sister who almost died in a car crash. What’s more, Drayton can’t seem to resist the urge to exercise his abilities—he brings a few more people back from near death. But there’s a problem. His good Samaritan impulses win him no brownie points with a group masquerading as the Unknowns. Every time Drayton heals someone, he finds his own life in danger. Yet, it’s not so easy to kill Drayton; special weapons are needed to do the job. Having spent most of his life on the run and trying to make sense of his circumstances, he discovers that the secret to his powers might lie in the ruins of a 17th-century Virginia plantation called King’s Shadow. Who exactly was Henry King, the plantation owner, and what connection does he have to Jon Drayton? Who wrote the journal entries that surface throughout the narrative? Stephens sets up a plot with quite a few disparate threads, most of which come together at the end of the well-paced tale. Even if at times a mixed bag of paranormal elements—“fires” entering and leaving people, folks walking from one dimension to another, large dragonlike birds appearing—is thrown in, forcing the reader to occasionally suspend disbelief, the plot largely manages to hang together and reach a satisfying conclusion, complete with a pulse-pounding finale. A chief archaeologist at King’s Shadow, Laura Girard, adds a touch of romance to the proceedings. The take-home message might be trite, but it’s conveyed in an appealing manner. Stephens ends the story with what appears to be the promise of a sequel (or two) to follow.
Sure to please fans of paranormal fiction.