Carlos Valrand’s ambitious science fiction thriller revolves around a British elementary school teacher who suddenly becomes afflicted with dreams of what appear to be glimpses from the lives of two strangers who become entangled in a grand-scale government conspiracy.
Cicely Denfeld’s quiet life as a teacher is turned upside down when she begins to have dreams that seem to be coming straight from the memories of two complete strangers, Charles Ryder and Vivian Venables, who are involved in a highly dangerous investigation that involves locating an operative in Cuba who possesses microfilm containing invaluable information.
As Denfeld’s dreams progress, she vicariously follows Ryder and Venables as they locate and infiltrate a massive subterranean installation in the high desert northeast of Los Angeles. The sprawling compound is inhabited by aliens, but that’s just the beginning of the duo’s jaw-dropping revelations. The aliens have been secretly working with the government for decades mining crystals used for space travel—but the real bombshell revelations deal with the aliens’ mind-blowing backstory, and how their secrets, if revealed to the public, would irrevocably change human civilization forever.
Denfeld seeks psychiatric help for her strange visions, but the therapy can’t stop the dreams from unfolding and escalating. Are the dreams wild figments of her imagination or are Ryder and Venables real people? If the two are, in fact, real, then Denfeld has more to worry about than just strange dreams.
Although there are a few minor issues with narrative clarity (particularly dealing with timeline—the exact era is murky at best), readers will likely overlook that, given the story’s many strengths. The characters are well-developed and engaging; the storyline is filled with laudable twists that keep readers guessing; and the pacing is pedal-to-the-metal. Finally, the conclusion is sure to satisfy science fiction aficionados.
Ultimately, this is an impressively intricate and relentlessly paced science fiction thriller that will have readers furiously turning pages until the end.
Also available as an ebook.