After Richard Garrison lost his sight in a terrorist explosion, he developed vast mental powers that more than compensated for his blindness. He mastered the Psychomech machine, then used it to conquer his enemies and restore his dead love to full and vibrant life. Psychomech also revealed to Garrison the Psychosphere, a startling reality where mental powers reigned supreme and could influence people and events on Earth.
Once he was nearly godlike-or demonic, if one dared become his enemy-but now Garrison's mental abilities grow weaker with each use. He tries desperately to conserve his energies, but he has begun to have strange visions of a mind so different from his own as to be other than human, and knows he must stay alert and strong.
Charon Gubwa has invaded the Psychosphere. Twisted and evil, sexually and mentally warped, physically corrupt, Gubwa's desires are simple: More. More drugs. More sex. More power. More of the Earth under his dominion.
Richard Garrison must battle Gubwa in the Psychosphere and on Earth. And he must win, no matter the cost to himself or those he loves, or all mankind will be lost.
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Brian Lumley is the author of the bestselling Necroscope series of vampire novels. The first Necroscope, Harry Keogh, also appears in a collection of Lumley's short fiction, Harry Keogh and Other Weird Heroes, along Titus Crow and Henri Laurent de Marigny, from Titus Crow, Volumes One, Two, and Three, and David Hero and Eldin the Wanderer, from the Dreamlands series.
An acknowledged master of Lovecraft-style horror, Brian Lumley has won the British Fantasy Award and been named a Grand Master of Horror. His works have been published in more than a dozen countries and have inspired comic books, role-playing games, and sculpture, and been adapted for television.
When not writing, Lumley can often be found spear-fishing in the Greek islands, gambling in Las Vegas, or attending a convention somewhere in the US. Lumley and his wife live in England.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
Two pairs of eyes watched Richard Garrison and Vicki Maler leave their holiday residence and disappear into the maze of steep narrow streets leading down into the heart of the Greek island village; two pairs, neither one aware of the other. One pair belonged to a thief, the other to an assassin.
The latter, Joe Black by name, was seated at a table on the raised patio of the taverna where the pair he watched normally breakfasted--a taverna they were obliged to pass on any excursion away from their accommodation--whose open-air eating area presented Black with a distant but unobstructed view of the door to their courtyard, seen above rising tiers of flat white rooftops. The village, dropping down into a valley or bay, seemed to have been built on much the same lines as an auditorium or amphitheatre; for which kindness Black gave the ancient architects a generous ten. It made his task as observer that much easier.
Black wore Lederhosen and braces, a wide-brimmed straw hat and an open-neck shirt loud with red and yellow flowers. He was not German--despite his dress, his fat face and cigar--but Cockney: the hired hand of a middling Mafia boss, Carlo Vicenti, who once owned a quarter-share of one of London's less reputable and far more profitable casinos. Richard Garrison now owned that quarter-share, a fact which irked Vicenti more than a trifle. Hence Joe Black's presence here in Lindos, Rhodes, the Aegean.
Black was not alone on Rhodes: a second hit-man, his brother Bert ("Bomber Bert Black," to his dubious circle of friends), waited in Rhodes town itself. Bert was the "hard" part of the team on this occasion. That is to say, his was the hand which would directly terminate Garrison's life. Brother Joe's role was simply to tell him when to do it.
Just a minute or so after 11:00, the subjects of Black's covert surveillance emerged from an alley into the narrow "main" street, crossing it to climb wooden stairs to the breakfast patio. He waited for them to seat themselves close by, waited again until they engaged the waiter's attention and started to give him their orders, then folded his shielding newspaper and left.
He glanced only once at the pair as he went, his eyes lingering momentarily on the black-as-night lenses and frames which Garrison wore. A blind man, this Garrison, allegedly. Black snorted as he descended the stairs to the street and made his way towards the open village square and coach-and-taxi booking office. " Huh!" The damnedest blind man he had ever seen! And his mind went back to the first time he ever came into contact with Garrison…
That had been at the Ace of Clubs, where on occasion Black had used to do bouncer (or "floor attendant" as the dealers and their minders preferred it). The "blind" man had come in one night with his woman, also blind, the first time they had ever visited the place. The last, too, if Black's memory served him correctly. As patrons, anyway. He snorted again: " Huh!" Well, and hadn't once been enough?
That had been, oh, six or seven months ago, but Black remembered it like yesterday…
…Remembered Garrison buying one large pink chip worth fifty pounds sterling, and the way he had casually crossed to the central roulette wheel to toss the chip onto the table's zero. And how with the next spin the ball had dropped, as if pre-ordained, directly into that very slot--how in fact it had fallen into that slot twice in succession. And how Garrison had let the spoils of his first incredible gamble ride!
The gasps of shock, astonishment and appreciation that went up then had been the summons which brought the boss, the raven-haired Carlo Vicenti himself, hurrying up to the table, his face darkening under brows already black as thunder. "Mr, er, Garrison? Yes, your custom was recommended. The club's misfortune, it appears." He forced a smile. "Well, sir, you have won a great deal of money, in fact a fortune, and--"
"And I want to let it ride one last time," Garrison had unsmilingly cut him short.
"On the zero?" Vicenti's jaw had dropped.
Garrison had frowned thoughtfully, only half-seriously, almost mockingly. "Certainly, on the zero, why not?"
"But sir, you have already won over sixty thousand pounds, and--"
"Sixty-four thousand and eight hundred, to be exact," Garrison had cut him short again, "--including my stake, of course. But please do go on."
Vicenti had leaned towards him then, staring up into his dark, heavy lenses and stating in a lowered tone, but perfectly audibly, "Sir, unbeknown to you, the operator of this wheel has already been obliged to ask the house for permission to cover your second bet. Normally, you understand we would have a limit of one thousand pounds on this wheel. And besides, the zero cannot possibly come up a third time."
Garrison had stood rock still, apparently frozen to the floor by something Vicenti had said. His answer, when finally it came, was delivered in a voice steady, firm and chill: "Am I to understand that this wheel is fixed?"
Vicenti was astounded. "What? I said no such thing! Of course the wheel is not fixed. I did not mean that the--"
"Then it can 'possibly' spin a third zero?"
"But certainly, sir--except it is most unlikely, and--"
"Unlikely or not," Garrison cut in for the third time, "I wish to bet."
A half-apologetic shrug. "We cannot cover it. And sir--" this time Vicenti's voice had been almost conspiratorial, wheedling, "--aren't you being just a little frivolous with your money?"
"Not with mine," and now Garrison smiled broadly. "With yours, perhaps, but not mine. I only started with fifty pounds."
All of this Joe Black had witnessed from a position close at hand. Also the way Vicenti had turned an explosive purple at Garrison's last remark. At that moment Joe had known, whatever the apparent outcome of this confrontation, that the little Sicilian would take a terrible revenge on the blind man--in one way or another. The one thing Vicenti had never been able to stand was to be laughed at--and here he stood, an object of ridicule. Certainly in his own eyes. Possibly in the eyes of half of the club's regular clientele, who now gathered about the table in various attitudes ranging between awe and delight. In fact it was mainly Garrison's lucky streak which had fired their imaginations, not Vicenti's discomfiture; but the Sicilian had taken their smiles, their subdued laughter, chuckles and excited whispers as being derogatory to himself.
"Wait!" he had snapped. "I need to confer." And the wheel had remained stationary for a full five minutes until he returned.
"Well?" Garrison had remained cool, smiling--at least with his mouth, for of course his eyes had been invisible.
And now Vincenti had seemed eager that everyone should hear him. "Mr--er, Garrison?--I am a part-owner of this club. Indeed I own one quarter of all its assets. Even so, I personally could barely cover tonight's losses. Your winnings, that is. But…I am a gambler." And he had paused to smile a shark's smile, teeth white and gleaming in a veritable death-grin. "Since you, too, are a gambler--a most extraordinary gambler, obviously--I have a proposition which might interest you."
Vicenti had shrugged, continued: "I have been authorized to take full responsibility in this matter. Responsibility for the current, er, damage, shall we say?--and for my, er, proposition."
Vicenti had then taken out his personal checkbook, written a check for £64,800, folded it neatly and delicately placed it on the table's zero. "Take my check by all means, or--we spin the wheel. But on this understanding: since the club does not have that sort of money, if you win you accept my share of its ownership by way of payment."
Which was where, if Garrison was a normal, sober man and in his right mind, he should have backed down and taken his winnings. Everything was against him: namely the incredible odds against the zero and the fact that he could win no more real cash. And at the same time Vicenti stood to gain immeasurably. For despite the fact that all the odds were on his side, still he had shown that he was indeed a gambler--that he personally was willing to risk his all on this one spin of the wheel--and that Garrison was up against a man of equal verve, daring and determination. But more important by far to Carlo Vicenti, there was no longer any laughter from those patrons crowding the table, no more amused sniggers and whispers. Instead the mood had become one of tense excitement, of breathless suspense. Quite simply, it was now Vincenti against Garrison. This had become a very personal matter.
Joe Black remembered a very strange thing, something which even now, six months later, made him shudder in a thrill of almost supernatural intensity. Garrison had seemed--to change. His very shape inside his evening suit had seemed somehow to bulk out, to take on weight, solidity. He had become--squarer. His face, too, had taken on this squareness, and his smile had completely faded away.
No one else appeared to notice these things--with perhaps the one exception of the blind man's woman, who backed off from him a little, her hand going nervously to her mouth--but Joe Black was absolutely certain of what he had seen. It was as if, in the space of only a few seconds, a different man stood in Garrison's shoes. A man with a different voice. A harsh, arrogant, authoritative, somehow Germanic voice:
"I accept your gamble, my little Sicilian friend. Let the wheel spin. But since so very much rests upon it--in your eyes at least--please be so good as to spin it yourself."
"That's most…unusual," Vicenti had grated in return. "But so is everything tonight, it appears. Very well--" and in utter silence he had moved through the throng, which opened to let him pass, spun the wheel, raced the ball against the spin--and waited.
Rock steady he had stood there as the wheel gradually slowed and the ball skittered and clicked, ramrod straight at the head of the table, his face split in a frozen, almost meaningless grin. And the ball jumping, roll...
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