Simply un-put-downable …
In O’Connor’s debut installment in The Realm Series, the life of an enquiring cameraman takes a bewildering turn after a work trip to a “Dead Zone” ward of a hospital sends him slithering into an alternate world of dreams and supernatural intrigue. Mason Plater, a documentary cameraman, gets entangled in a strange dreamworld of alternate realities after he visits Zeigler Ward, a ward for comatose patients, at Lievesham Hall, a hospital facility. When a beautiful woman begins to visit him in his dreams and tells him she is Gail Hartstone, a comatose patient he met earlier at the facility, Mason doesn’t believe her at first. But his dreams get weirder and weirder. Meanwhile, a clan of religious zealots belonging to the Church of the Reclamation is using nefarious practices to retain power in the nation’s political field. Mason soon realizes there’s a connection between the dreamworld he visits and the church’s mission. He must learn to navigate the realities of the alternate dreamworld and prevent an apocalyptic prophecy. O’Connor efficiently blends international intrigue with science elements. In swiftly paced, well-crafted chapters, he rapidly expands the story to include a secret society and its manipulation of dreams, certain calculating political forces with ulterior motives, a megachurch pastor who aspires to rule the nation, an investigative journalist determined to look into the sinister past of a cult institution, a keen computer science engineer caught up in a disturbing game of international conspiracy, a desperate mother trying to save her wayward daughter, an intern in a film company entrapped in a deep web of alternate reality, and Mason’s own role in all of it. O’Connor has created a compelling protagonist in Mason, a man who goes beyond the limit for what he believes is right while navigating both human and supernatural obstacles. His bond with Molly is authentic, and his struggles to navigate the world of dreams are rooted in reality. The attention given to Mason’s personal baggage never detracts from the secret society’s very real and relatable danger. Zach is equally compelling. Between his abilities and self-doubts, he begets a strong rooting interest. O’Connor provides a hateable villain in Rev. Daniels. Toward the end, he delivers compellingly visual action scenes, and he brings the whole novel to a well-turned, satisfying ending. Equal parts conspiracy thriller and interactive fiction, the book has cinematic fast cuts and an explosive pace that make it apt for the big screen adaptation.
BISENTIENT: The Realm Series – Book 1
Blackbeard Independent Press
Pub date July 19, 2023
Price $29.63 (USD) Hardcover, $14.33 Paperback, $2.53 Kindle edition