Estimated reading time: 6 minutes
Stanislaw Kapuscinski (pen name Stan I.S. Law) has regaled us with a profoundly entertaining and thought-provoking tale with The Avatar Syndrome, presenting us with the gifted outsider Anne, a memorable protagonist who returns once again for the second book in the trilogy, Headless World.
The events are taking place years down the line as Anne is now married to Peter and with two children. As the world seems to be heading closer and closer to nuclear world war, shady powers are starting to make a bid on Peter’s invention, a revolutionary treatment method that could eventually grant untold control over human beings.
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Nuclear War and Mind Control with Stan I.S. Law
Human Armageddon may potentially come about in a number of ways. We’re always seeking methods for domination, control and eradication, trying to apply them on increasingly massive scales to the point where some people are getting concerned as to how far we’ll actually push this whole thing. While the most obvious path to our demise comes in the form of nuclear war, I would wager that many shady organizations have their eyes set on more insidious methods of conquest, such as mind control for instance.
It would be a real shame to live in a world where both of those eventualities turn into real possibilities, but that’s exactly the kind of predicament Anne and Peter find themselves in Headless World – The Vatican Incident by Stanislaw Kapuscinski (pen name Stan I.S. Law). This is the second book in the Avatar trilogy, and if you haven’t read the previous book, The Avatar Syndrome, I would highly recommend you check it out. However, if for whatever reason you are more keen on starting with the second book, then you’ll be glad to know that reading the first one is in no way necessary to understand the events happening in this one.
The author gives us flashbacks whenever necessary and reiterates the defining events from the first book. Also, none of those memories seem forced or out of context… on the contrary, the remembrances characters go through feel very natural in the way they’re presented. While it is true that you would probably feel much closer to the characters had you read the first novel, the events in this one stand on their own and I believe you’ll be able to enjoy the story either way.
Anyhow, to give you the gist of the story, Anne and Peter are now married with grown children who are out there living life on their own. Peter is spearheading experimental research into the effects of ultrasonic waves on the human brain and how they can be used to treat traumatic memories, when a shady man representing the Pentagon appears at his door and offers him to work on their behalf, at least for a little while.
After some time and resistance, Peter finds himself obligated to accept the offer… however, the Department of Defense is not the only one to have heard of his research, and little does he know, the Vatican, in the midst of a power struggle, has plans of their own. This is all taking place while the world seems to be inching closer and closer to nuclear war.
A Boiling Pot of Sinister Intentions
The first thing which I noticed about Headless World in contrast to the first one was the speed at which the events unfolded. Considering that we’ve already been introduced to the main characters in the previous book, the author saw fit to forgo some of the development in favour of advancing the plot.
It doesn’t take long for us to meet the new players in this game and get a lay of the land as to who wants what, at least at first glance. In other words, things generally tend to move at a faster pace which makes for what in my opinion is a more entertaining plot, one that involves a clever struggle of power from behind the curtains.
With that being said, Kapuscinski still dedicates an appropriate amount of time to develop our protagonists beyond what we’ve seen in the previous books, and all those carefully added layers of complexity only serve to give more weight to the story. The truth is that it doesn’t matter how exciting of a plot you have, if you don’t care for the characters it will be all for nothing.
This is a department the author truly excels in, having a definite talent for conveying a character’s thoughts, emotions and intentions in a crystal-clear fashion. We can easily relate to them because they feel as human and multifaceted as we ourselves do.
A Headed Read in a Headless World
While the title may not suggest it, this book is filled to the brim with philosophical, scientific, religious, mystical and spiritual food for thought, as is expected from the author who has become known partly due to his profound reflections.
In his meditations he touches on the current state of the world, the things that are wrong in politics and religion, the disparity between the powerful and powerless, our endless striving for domination, unconditional love and kindness, the usurpation of religious and scientific ideals, and that’s just to name a few things.
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Whether or not you find yourself agreeing with him on these matters is not really the point. He is the kind of author who places a greater emphasis on pushing the reader to think and reach their own conclusions rather than imposing his views on anyone. His arguments never feel preachy or anything of the sort, and no matter what system of belief you adhere to I guarantee you’ll come out of it with a heap of new materials for personal thinking.
The Final Verdict
With all being said and done, Headless World by Stan I.S. Law is definitely the kind of sequel any novel would kill to have. It builds up perfectly on the things we’ve learned in the previous book, finely develops old and new characters alike, brings a story that unique, faster-paced and more entertaining than before, and is once again packed with personal meditations that will leave a mark on you. If you are looking for a thought-provoking read that profoundly touches on the human condition combined with a global conspiracy plot, then this would be the perfect book for you.
Stan I.S. Law
Stan I.S. Law is the pen name used by Stanislaw Kapuscinski when writing his fictional stories, which tremendously lean in the direction of philosophical science-fiction.
In the few years after his retirement from the job architect, he gave himself to literature completely and has graced us with many unique and remarkable novels that have the gift of touching us in ways none other can.
Amongst the many books he released are the Avatar and Winston trilogies, as well as Yeshua and Keys to Immortality. He was nominated for the CBC Literary Award and the first book in The Avatar trilogy was on the New York Times bestsellers list.