Cosmopath by Eric Brown (Bengali Station 3)

The alien empath assassin tracking Jeff where thrown off when Sakura called and told that their daughter had leukemia. The emotions saved his life. Private investigator Jeff Vaughan was not having a good day.

This is the third, and final long awaited book in the Bengali Station Trilogy. My wait has been longer than most, the postal service in Europe took the long way from UK to me. Anyway…

Jeff was the fourth telepath assassination target and only survivor in a recent killing spree. The authorities didn’t have any clue what was behind it. Jeff, his beloved wife and two daughters goes into hiding in a safe house as a security measure while they struggle with how to pay for their daughters cancer treatment. Their insurance only pay for a fraction of the cost.

Bengali stations own Fagin, Dr Rao shows up unexpected at their doorsteps and offer Jeff a meeting with the billionaire Rabindranath Chandrasakar about a job. Vaughan sees the man about a job. He is made an offer hard to refuse, the best treatment available for his daughter’s cancer and a nice bonus if he reads the mind of a dying spacer on an unexplored world at the edge of known space. Jeff would never ever again link with a mind as it is dying feeling it slip away in oblivion, but for his daughter he agrees to become a Necromancer again and go to Delta Cephei VII.

Chandrasakar’s expedition to Delta Cephei VII is a nest of treachery and deceit, and the planet itself holds alien secrets that might change the way we look at the universe forever.

This is a worthy conclusion of The Bengali Station Trilogy that started with Necropath (which I haven’t read yet, it’s in the oh so slow postal service’s hands) and Xenopath.

Eric Brown has built a world where humanity has reached the stars and where every-day life still seems real. The Bengali influence is also a difference approach than most other more North American ones. The reality of the little people is masterfully illustrated by Eric.

The story here is initially told  from two perspectives, Jeff Vaughan’s and his fellow telepath Parveen Das, an expedition member with some moral dilemmas to deal with. She is a Xenologist, an Indian secret agent, convinced communist and in love with a billionaire. The dilemmas facing a telepath able to read another mind, or getting his/her’s mind read is  also covered in interesting detail. From both Jeff’s and Parveen’s point of view.

Characterization is a strong point in Eric Brown’s writing. I have come to love the people in this series Jeff, Sakura, Dr Rao and so on. Luckily for us all there is openings for many more stories in the Bengali Station universe.

Presence and details are another strong point. Bengali Station, alien cities and planets all come  alive from the words of Mr Brown.

I suspect and hope this isn’t the last time we meet Jeff Vaughan, Cosmopath.