Experiments often take on different results and the reasons for them vary. When a well-known Professor speaks about electromagnetic energy the end result was anything but he expected. Claiming that he can harness this energy hoping to show those present his success. But, instead the machine explodes and what happens will astound readers from the start as people were affected but not in the normal sense. Imagine having paranormal abilities that could teleport you to different places, give you the power to create ice and cause the world to turn frigid or what about fire not the fire within you but the fire that breaths within your body and creates flames do dangerous it can destroy anyone coming too close. Imagine turning people, places and things to ash. Welcome to the world of the Espers a class of people that are either good and hope to destroy evil or bad and want all of the powers for themselves.
The time period is the second half of the 19th century and when this experiment at The Oxford Academy of Science goes awry the very same professor creates an Institute to instruct and teach these Espers how to use their powers and control them for the good. Some will fight it and others will embrace his teachings and then some with abuse theirs hoping to gain control of what others have as we meet Nathan and James two agents from the Institute. Nathan has the power to create fire and flames and James can teleport himself and others anywhere.
Meet Cyrus the Siren and his sister Freya who play an integral part in this plot as we hear Cyrus sing and hypnotize the audience with his magic voice but what he does not know that he has more powers that are more powerful than this young child is aware of. The Institute’s primary job is to teach Espers how to use their powers and control them and stop those that have Esper powers and are using them for other purposes. Imagine being able to manipulate the feelings and emotions of others. Imagine being able to replicate the powers of someone else and use it for you own self and for the good. Meet the Baron whose purpose is to wield his power over the helpless and use them to do his bidding and crimes. Firebrand and Thomas are two that work for him and a mystery entity called THE SHADOW who lurks in the dark, you can’ t see him and you wonder throughout just which side he is on and whose. Even though this might be a paranormal book the issues brought to light are not any different than any others where we find a caste system in place, prejudice in the forefront and a group of people fighting to stay alive with powers many of us would love to have and others that are deadly. The gifts that these people have range from creating ice and fire to teleporting and more. Using their electromagnetic energy to help create their powers. Outcasts in a London society created to help others yet at times when we see something we don’t know instead of learning more about it or them we create panic or fear and what would you do if you saw people flying in zeppelins or airships in the form of balloons? Author Egan Brass brings to light these issues and more as we learn more about Nathan who is quite powerful yet at times fragile like the rest and what happens when Cyrus is kidnapped by the Baron and Freya is found by the Institute and she is set on finding and saving her brother at all costs. Nathan is powerful and the Professor runs the Institute as well as a doctor who can cure any injury or illness using her hands. But, the Baron has his own plan as does The Shadow but there is someone hiding in plain sight and the wings orchestrating and running the show for a different reason yet no one realizes it as yet.
The fun part of the story is Nathan and the doctor’s flirtations, interactions and sarcastic comments adding humor to the story. The loyalties of the Espers to one an other promising to always be there for them carries over to both Cyrus and Freda as she learns about her own powers using ice and snow.
Starting with a simple bank robbery and escalading into the hunt for who kidnapped Cyrus, the real reasons behind what the Baron had planned for him and why the outcasts that were orphans and less fortunate lacked a voice and were held captive by him.
Freya tried to help but instead almost done overusing her powers to create solid ice and storms that froze people, their movements and the scenery kill everyone. But, when she finally realizes what she did Freya understands however, being a kid and wanting her brother back does not stop her from one more wild and dangerous act that could not only put him in more danger but her and everyone else too. While Nathan now was able to adopt her powers and that of Firebrand, the Baron had other plans in mind for them all. Just how far would he go to gain all the power he wanted and what was his plan for the Siren? The Professor is astute and realizes that something is off as he rehashes the following events trying to come to a startling conclusion: a device of unknown function is stolen by Espers, a boy with powerful hypnotic abilities is kidnapped, the Institute is broken into for the purpose of kidnapping a single crook but why? The Professor continues by explaining the definition and meaning of multiple possibilities and how that affects them. Next we meet the Oracle who fascinates Freya as the author brings all of these powerful characters into one place hoping to create a plan to recapture Cyrus, free the inmates that are helpless and capture Firebrand and Thomas.
The Oracle tells readers the importance of the Lotus flower and shows the invitation to the Peace Summit hoping to bring everyone together and create some type of harmony. But, reading our news in the present time you wonder if that will be possible anywhere even in their time and place. Lord Mortfield meets with the team and promises to help using his power and influence anyway that he can but can we trust him? Learning more about the Baron and what some scientists call their control group is deadly and frightening thinking he will over come it all and take the powers that belong to others and own the Siren. When things get out of control or someone fails you don’t want to be there and see what happens to the victim and the horrific ending they are subjected to by the Baron.
When the Baron and the Professor enter into combat in what most would say is a dangerous chess game played with their own special pieces and board, who will win and who will lose and who will have to pleasure of the final CHECKMATE? When Freya decides to leave the Institute and find Cyrus she not only endangers him but the lives of others but at the same time as she wields her powers over the others and Cyrus begins to realize that he is far from powerless the ending is explosive, heated with flames, filled with ice and frigid snow and the possibility of the wrong side winning as both Cyrus and Freya learn some hard lessons about loyalty, trust, faith, hope and survival. What will the final fate of these interesting and unique characters be? Will Nathan come out alive? Will Cyrus be safe or will the Baron keep him chained and locked up for his own purposes? What happens when someone realizes what is happening and the Baron faces off with a deadly foe?
Esper Files: Just what’s in them? What will be added and when will the rest of the story be told? The ending allows readers to know that they are not quite safe just yet. Will the Baron get his wish and control the minds, bodies and souls of London’s peacemakers or will Nathan, James and the rest of the members of the Institute prevail? Will Nathan hone in on his powers and learn to handle them or will the entire effort and the world implode? This is one story that is quite unique in nature, plot line and whose characters you will either love or want destroyed depending on which side you are on? Espers Good: vs Espers EVIL! WHOSE KING WILL PREVAIL IN THIS DEADLY GAME OF CHESS?
Fran Lewis: Just reviews/MJ magazine
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