THE CHILD AND THE SERPENT by Sy Cook

THE CHILD AND THE SERPENT

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KIRKUS REVIEW

An over-involved parapsychological melodrama that promises much more than it delivers. During the German occupation of Warsaw, brutal scientist Alfred Volte conducts deprivation experiments on blinded, starving children and infants, finally finding one baby, the son of a Russian father and Haitian mother, who manages to tip a suspended bowl of milk fractionally via psychokinesis (Volte rapes his Polish nurse Lena in celebration). For the next three years, Volte deepens the child's powers via electro-torture--but then the Russians overrun Poland, the lab blows up, and Lena escapes with the kid. Switch to the present: little Adam is now 40, living on Central Park West, in love with parapsychologist Sonda Yaffe (with whom he served in the Israeli army). Lena has never revealed to Adam that he was Volte's subject, but Sonda's boss Dr. Marion Lewins knows and has arranged for Adam to be tested by Sonda. He does fantastically, of course--but meanwhile down in Buenos Aires Dr. Volte and his Nazi aides recognize Lena's photograph and determine to find out how Adam has progressed. Volte sends Lt. Steiner to New York, and when Steiner kills Lena, Adam goes berserk (in a restrained way) with his full-blooming power to burn holes in people and read minds. After torturing Steiner, he flies to Buenos Aires and subjects Volte to the experiment that Volte subjected him to as a child: Volte really gets the volts, muscle by muscle, and doesn't survive. A Stephen King ripoff without the sentimental appeal or overall zest--active but pointless.

Pub Date: Oct. 13th, 1980
Publisher: Seaview--dist. by Harper & Row