Heartlight is the story of Bradley's greatest champion of good, Colin MacLaren, as he carries the banner of Light through the second half of the twentieth century. Ghostbuster, exorcist, student and teacher of the mystic arts, Colin meets Claire Moffat, who becomes his dearest friend, when he rescues her from a cult bent on human sacrifice.
The leader of that cult, Toller Hasloch, becomes one of Colin's greatest enemies. Working behind the scenes for the next thirty years, Hasloch subtly manipulates politics and the economy to turn America away from the Light. Colin, busy saving lives and teaching the next generation of psychic warriors, realizes almost too late how Hasloch has warped America's promise.
Now, Colin MacLaren is the only one who can face Hasloch and the hellhounds the younger man has unleashed. He must fight on, while the fate of America, and perhaps all mankind, hangs in the balance.
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The fourth book in Bradley's "Light" series (Ghostlight, 1995, etc.) follows white magic Adept Colin McLaren from the turmoil of the 1960s and his meeting with darker magicians, such as Thorne Blackburn, to his retirement as the century turns. Throughout, he is aided by his friend, psychic Claire London Moffat, and haunted by his nemesis, Toller Hasloch, magical child of Nazi occultism. Continuing characters unite an otherwise episodic plot, as McLaren tackles one occult enemy after another, from those facing popular occult writer John Cannon (who for once has stumbled across real black magic) to an ancient Lovecraftian cult. Thematic concerns, too, unite the stories, which explore the temptations and burdens of supernatural power, the relationship of adept and apprentice and the constant fight for idealism in a flawed world. The New York and San Francisco settings are well handled and feature barely fictionalized versions of real-life esoteric sites and practitioners; the tone of the 1960s counterculture also rings true. Preachy but not simplistic, the novel mixes adventure with consideration of emotional, ethical and even social issues and so is of particular appeal to those who enjoy supernatural fiction with a message.