In his sci-fi debut, Bellecourt explores an alternate roaring 20s where a shell-shocked soldier must uncover latent telepathic abilities to save himself and the people around him.
Liam Mulcahey, a reclusive, shell-shocked veteran, remembers little of the Great War. Ten years later, when he is caught in a brutal attack on a Chicago speakeasy, Liam is saved by Grace, an alluring heiress who's able to cast illusions. Though the attack appears to have been committed by the hated Uprising, Grace believes it was orchestrated by Leland De Pere--Liam's former commander and the current President of the United States.
Meeting Grace unearths long-buried memories. Liam's former squad, the Devil's Henchmen, was given a serum to allow telepathic communication, transforming them into a unified killing machine. With Grace's help, Liam begins to regain his abilities, but when De Pere learns of it, he orders his militia to eliminate Liam at any cost.
But Liam's abilities are expanding quickly. When Liam turns the tables and digs deeper into De Pere's plans, he discovers a terrible secret. The same experiment that granted Liam's abilities was bent toward darker purposes. Liam must navigate both his enemies and supposed allies to stop the President's nefarious plans before they're unleashed on the world. And Grace is hiding secrets of her own, secrets that could prove every bit as dangerous as the President's.
Set in a lushly depicted alternate Roaring '20s distinguished by futuristic technology such as mechanika artificial beings and mind-altering bacteria, Bellecourt's sci-fi debut (after the fantasy Song of Shattered Shards series, written as Bradley P. Beaulieu) is complex, ambitious, and sweeping in scope. Ten years after the Great War between America and the countries of the St. Lawrence Pact, former soldier Liam Mulcahey still struggles with the aftereffects of the conflict, having lost most of his memories near the war's climax. After the terrorist group Uprising attacks during a presidential speech, Liam is swept up into bizarre events which slowly unlock his memories of serving in an elite, telepathically connected military unit, revealing his ability to cast and see through illusions. Now aware of a secret conflict raging between factions intent on controlling America, Liam must figure out who to trust, and which side to fight for, even as he uncovers his own long-hidden role in things. Bellecourt uses the mechanika to question the nature of personhood and the presence of mind control and illusions to constantly challenge both characters' and readers' perceptions of reality. The story's complexity sometimes threatens to overload the narrative, but the many twists keep the pages turning. Readers are in for a mind-bending ride. Agent: Russell Galen, Scovil Galen Ghosh Literary.