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The Oracle Year by Charles Soule

BOTTOM LINE: Exciting and wholly different

Genre: Suspense; Thriller
Publication Date: 3 April  2018
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss

Synopsis from the Publisher:

“Knowledge is power. So when an unassuming Manhattan bassist named Will Dando awakens from a dream one morning with 108 predictions about the future in his head, he rapidly finds himself the most powerful man in the world. Protecting his anonymity by calling himself the Oracle, he sets up a heavily guarded Web site with the help of his friend Hamza to selectively announce his revelations. In no time, global corporations are offering him millions for exclusive access, eager to profit from his prophecies.

He’s also making a lot of high-powered enemies, from the President of the United States and a nationally prominent televangelist to a warlord with a nuclear missile and an assassin grandmother. Legions of cyber spies are unleashed to hack the Site—as it’s come to be called—and the best manhunters money can buy are deployed not only to unmask the Oracle but to take him out of the game entirely. With only a handful of people he can trust—including a beautiful journalist—it’s all Will can do just to survive, elude exposure, and protect those he loves long enough to use his knowledge to save the world.

Delivering fast-paced adventure on a global scale as well as sharp-witted satire on our concepts of power and faith, Marvel writer Charles Soule‘s audacious debut novel takes readers on a rollicking ride where it’s impossible to predict what will happen next.”

My Thoughts: Whatever I say about The Oracle Year is not going to be adequate to prepare you to read it. In fact, it is essentially impossible to prepare you for the story. It is too crazy and too complicated to explain and too compelling to describe. It is unlike anything I have ever read, which is both a good and bad thing. On the one hand, I have no comparison to share with you. On the other hand, I had no expectations and no idea what to expect while I was reading it which made it as refreshing a story as you can get.

While mostly a thriller in nature, The Oracle Year is also part social commentary. What causes Will the most trouble from his predictions is not that he defrauds companies but that the world refuses to accept that someone has the ability to predict the future. Regardless of how he received these predictions or how he uses them, the vast majority of the power players see it as a usurpation of their own powers, forcing them to attempt to discredit and/or silence Will by any means necessary. It is not just the politically powerful though that are in an uproar. People from all walks of life not only feel it their duty to find out who the Oracle is but view it is their right to know. The skepticism others profess is more than a little chilling; these are people who are utterly incapable of believing in a mystery and are willing to destroy the world to prove that no mystery exists. Their inability to let others believe in a miracle speaks volumes to the polarizing atmosphere in which we find ourselves in real life.

The Oracle Year is high on action and adventure. Plus, it has the feel of stories like Ocean’s Eleven as you wait to see how the story ends, sure you are missing the sleight of hand and other misdirection that Will uses to stay alive. In addition, there is a definite urgency to Will’s actions after he receives the predictions which only gets more intense as his anonymity begins to fail. The intensity of the story is surprising. Even though there is little-to-no character development, you find yourself drawn to Will and his plight as well as the plight of his friends, all of whom find themselves in way over their heads. Set David and Goliath in the twenty-first century, and you begin to understand just what forces are against Will as he uses his predictions to try to make the world a better place…after earning billions of dollars first.

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