Jake Bronson has a special gift; he’s able to link into the thoughts and emotions of others, and it was this gift that enabled him to defeat the alien pyramids that were designed to rid the earth of humanity. In an effort to avoid public knowledge of his ability, and the role he played in saving the earth, and to protect his family, he works unheralded in a VA research facility in California. Each member of his family has vestiges of the ‘gift,’ but his younger son, Alex, has abilities that outstrip them all.
When an old friend warns him that someone is after him, at the same time that Alex’s ability is exposed at the VA hospital, the family declares an emergency, and makes plans to flee. They are separated, though, and Alex and his two siblings, are kidnapped. They find themselves in a plane, flying toward China, along with one of their father’s friends, and learn that their mother—and maybe their father as well—have also been taken. Using their powers, and a lot of grit and luck, they escape their kidnappers, only to find themselves stranded in the wilds of China’s deep forests, in in the middle of a drug lord’s territory. There, they find strange allies to aid them in their quest to find and rescue their parents.
Gifted by Richard Bard is a short prequel to his ‘Brainrush’ series, that sets up a chilling story of their efforts to retrieve their parents, with the help of a defrocked Chinese monk, once a member of an ancient warrior monk culture.
While I think it could’ve used a bit more detail in places, it’s nonetheless a well-crafted story, filled with action and intrigue, and sets the reader up for the series relatively well.
I give this one four stars.