This clever historical novel by Michael Murphy is well-researched and includes numerous real people, many documented events, and reliable research findings. By relaying the adventures of an American psychic researcher, Darwin Fall, the book provides a gripping way to inform the reader of the reality of psychic abilities and spiritual experiences, what the author calls the "exotic powers of the mind".
Following Darwin Fall's travels in Texas, Prague, and various parts of Russia in the 1970's, we learn about ESP, psychokinesis, telepathy, energy healing, precognitions, remote viewing, clairaudience, and clairsentience that indicate consciousness is not localized in the brain. We also learn about spiritual experiences, such as sensing oneness with the universe and apparitions that indicate the continuity of consciousness beyond death of the physical body.
Both during the 1970's and currently, the U.S. and Russia have been conducting classified research on the use of these abilities in espionage and warfare. Just as nuclear energy can be used for peaceful or destructive purposes, the same dynamic occurs in research documenting the utility of psychic abilities and spiritual healing. Darwin Fall's adventures get him and his Russian colleagues into this trap.
The history of these abilities and related spiritual experiences are explained in terms of ancient religions and modern mystery schools that some quantum theorists are re-discovering today. One can get a feel for non-time, non-locality, and the materialization and de-materialization of matter. This book speaks to the contemporary spiritual hunger that is not satisfied by organized religion but could be satisfied with the framework of reality provided by psychic researchers, spiritualists, and quantum theorists. This hunger was especially strong among Darwin Fall's Soviet colleagues who were struggling with the official stance of atheism.
For an academic review of the psychic research described in this book, I suggest books by Dean Radin, Ph.D. : "Entangled Minds: Extrasensory Experiences in a Quantum Reality", "The Conscious Universe: The Scientific Truth About Psychic Phenomena", and "Supernormal: Science, Yoga, and the Evidence for Extraordinary Psychic Abilities".
After becoming familiar with this novel and the non-fiction work by Radin and others, it remains a puzzle that mainstream science has not put this research at the forefront. Instead it is met with disproportionate hostility and flat out denial. The notion of psychic and spiritual energies is a threat to materialistic science. But this rejection cannot last. Isaac Newton was vilified by the scientific community of his day when he proposed the existence of gravity, an energy science has not yet learned to directly observe. Newton was ostracized as a `mystic'. Yet today gravity is only inferred to exist from its effects and enjoys the same degree of scientific evidence as do psychic and spiritual energies.