“The soul is a terrible reality. It can be bought, and sold, and bartered away. It can be poisoned, or made perfect.” – Oscar Wilde
A.F. Henley explores the unexplainable and twists certain absolutes into believable impossibilities in The Gift, a story that’s a blend of Extra Sensory Perfection and the Faustian tale of a man who has the power to become the next big rock ‘n roll star, if he’s willing to play the devil’s game by the devil’s rules.
Doren is the man destined to become a musical legend, a man for whom sound means something other than merely hearing. For Doren, sound means power; it means he can take all the noises he hears and turn them back outward, using them to manipulate objects to do his bidding. And there is someone who wants to harness that power, a man and his coven of accomplices who want to cash in on that gift, to manipulate Doren’s fears, to manipulate his gift and morph it into something evil to set loose on an unsuspecting world—what they don’t expect themselves, however, is that there will be those who can, and will, stand in their way, those whose gifts, when banded together, will be the answer to a desperate need.
Absolute power corrupts absolutely the hearts of those whose arrogance and greed are their greatest vulnerabilities. Doren has people on his side, people that weren’t accounted for when the battle began, people with secrets of their own, who will willingly march into the fray to help him and Anderson, the man who has been hand selected as Doren’s personal assistant. Anderson is a man who’s terrified of, and doesn’t trust in, his attraction to his new boss, but it soon becomes evident that he will become both Doren’s Achilles ’ heel and his greatest source of strength.
Anderson gets far more than he bargained for when he agreed to become Doren’s assistant, leaving his quiet life behind to enter the music business. He didn’t expect to become Doren’s lover, nor did he expect that someday sacrifices would have to be offered in order to save his life. And he certainly never expected that he would become the bargaining chip in the battle for Doren’s soul.
There is so much to wrap your imagination around in this novel; all the mysterious and mystical possibilities lend a great slice of the metaphysical to the allure of the undiscovered secrets contained within the untapped parts of our brains. The musings of fame and the desire for recognition weigh against the price one is willing to pay to get it, and A.F. Henley has constructed a story that provides plenty of angsty moments to go along with the threat of danger that keeps the story moving briskly along to its climax, then allows the romance to carry the reader to its happy ending.
I liked the tension the author built between these two characters, and really liked some of the things that played an important role in the story but played along more as background music to help the whole of it come together. The Gift is another of A.F. Henley’s books that kept me guessing and held my attention start to finish.