I admit it, this is the books I have been looking forward to the most when I decided to re-read this series and it did not disappoint. This chapter of May’s Galactic Millieu saga starts shortly after WW2 with the first births of humans with mind powers (as far as we know, there could have been isolated incidents earlier in human history, but this is the first time a small number were born around the same period). While there are several families in whom these powers manifest most strongly, May focuses mostly on the Remilland clan, several of whom appeared in the Pliocene portion of this drama. Those with abilities do hide their powers at first but eventually they are revealed and humanity struggles with their existence. In fact, they are almost on the verge of being wiped out by humans when they are miraculously saved by an Intervention of alien races, as referenced in the title.
Why do I love this book so much? Because it preaches tolerance and acceptance of those different from you. The first few people we encounter with psychic powers are fearful, both because the powers themselves can be scary but also in how they will be perceived by others around them. Few of them wish to become government controlled agents or shunned for being different. As a kid who felt ostracized and alienated all through school, this was a message that resonated with me very deeply. There are some characters who do use their powers for their own gain and that sets up several moral dilemmas for “good” characters. Is it OK to break the law or even commit murder to defend yourself or those you love. Not an easy question to answer when I was 14, and I am unsure I have any more definitive ones in my late 40s. Good people suffer in this book, and in later volumes, and some very smart characters make some very bad decisions. Not dumb decisions, as they are perfectly in line with how the character was presented and are logical, but when reading certain sequences with Denise Remillard I was just shaking my head and saying “this is a bad idea….” To me, that is a hallmark of a well written character, that you can see why they engaged in a particular action, know that it is dead wrong, but understand the justification behind it.
This is by no means a perfect book. The main point of view character Rogatien (or Rogi) Remillard is, to be kind, provides an untrustworthy perspective. Plus, his whining does become grating at times. Similar to the Pliocene part, the powers of the characters fluctuate wildly, especially Rogi and some characters pick up abilities that no one else in the entire galaxy had ever been able to duplicate.
Know what, though? Doesn’t matter to me. I read about the psychics being hounded by vigilantes who want to kill them simply and I see ICE raids or, more ominously, Nazi raids on my own people. The concept of mental Unity, derived form the French philosopher Teilhard de Chardin, become very prominent in this chapter. And the idea that all minds are converging towards a single point, not as a hive mind, but in a spirit of love, similar to a marriage where two people join together and magnify each other’s strengths while mitigating the weaknesses of the other, is a beautiful concept.
I read this book during these dark days of a President who seems to revel in dividing us as a country and to demonize anyone different from him and I think of the dark days at the end of this novel facing the psychic community. Perhaps there can be no growth without struggle. Keeping that in mind, this book gave me hope, which is a precious commodity in today’s society. For that, I thank Ms. May.