The Plot

(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

Michael Curry, a successful forty-eight-year-old San Francisco contractor, has his life blighted by a near-death experience. After slipping off rocks and almost drowning in San Francisco Bay, he is rescued by a mysterious woman in a passing boat. He discovers that by touching objects and people with his hands, he acquires access to other lives and events. These insights are fragmentary, as is his memory of an encounter with otherworldly beings during his drowning, when he promised to fulfill a mission for them. He discusses his occult powers with the press and becomes a celebrity, a confusing development that he rejects by becoming a recluse and shutting down his business.

One of Michael’s doctors puts him in touch with his rescuer, who Michael believes will help him understand what he is meant to do with his occluded occult knowledge. His rescuer, Rowan Mayfair, is a superb surgeon, thirty years old, and an ash-blonde beauty. Michael falls in love with her. She, like Michael, is searching for answers. She has the power to hurt and to heal people. She can stop a patient’s bleeding by a laying on of hands; she also can cause a person’s heart attack or stroke if she does not control her rage. Her obsession with saving people is her effort at self-redemption. Michael hopes that touching Rowan and her boat will bring back his sense of mission, and Rowan hopes that Michael will help reveal her past.

Rowan’s adoptive mother died recently,...

(The entire section is 537 words.)