Prophet (Penelope Bailey series)
by Mike Resnick
Review by Carolyn Frank
Benbella Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9781933771335
Date: 01 September 2007 List Price $14.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
The third book from five-time-Hugo-award-winner Mike Resnick in his Oracle trilogy, Prophet concludes the saga of Penelope Bailey. In a universe filled with larger-than-life legends, precog Penelope has them all beat. With her innate ability to see all possible futures and then select which future to actuate, Penelope can force the universe and everyone in it to do as she desires, provided she can keep herself alive. With nearly everyone of power attempting to either control or kill her, she must continually fight for her own rights to live and to carry out her own plans.
But this is also the story of other legends: the Gravedancer, the Iceman, the Silicon Kid, the Anointed One. Each gets his own part of the book, with his own character and perspective spelled out, in the slightly-larger-than-life way that legends get told. The Gravedancer and the Iceman are highly paid assassins, although the Iceman is in retirement running his Last Chance Saloon. The Silicon Kid is a bio-chip inventor who wants to be an assassin, and the Anointed One is attempting to take over the galaxy with his self-proclaimed religion. The Iceman is the only person to have faced Penelope and survived, and he has done so twice. But what will happen if and when they meet again?
This universe is drawn to galactic scale, with millions of planets circling hundreds of thousands of stars. Aliens exist in this universe, but humans have either decimated or marginalized most, so they play no role in the greater scheme of things. Most of the action takes place on a few of the human-settled planets on the Inner Frontier. And since this is frontier territory, the action starts out in a saloon with a cowboy-style shootout. But our protagonists have rocket ships and they travel quickly and easily among the stars.
First published in 1993, Prophet, in addition to the two prior books in the trilogy, Soothsayer and Oracle, is well worth reading in this new edition by Benbella Books. The personal challenges and heroic interactions are timeless, and the quality of the writing and rapid pace of the action make this an absorbing and entertaining read.