Oliver Trent aims a stolen pistol through the gloom of dusk in ancient Pompeii. Thomas Kealy stands against a wall, confident that he will not be hurt. It was he who pressed the weapon into Oliver's hands and persuaded him to shoot - as an experiment in influence. Oliver is sceptical, but plays along. He hefts the weight. Anger overcomes him...then happiness, fear, confidence. He pulls the trigger.
Thomas reels, wounded but triumphant. In situations of intensity he really can change the way people feel.
So begins an unequal friendship. Oliver the awestruck young traveller, who devotes himself to recording a life of great significance…and Thomas, the Pioneer. As Thomas ages prematurely, wasted by his talent, he seeks to prove that he is not alone. The traces of pioneers past and present are revealed, across centuries and continents. But Thomas cannot find the community of telepaths that he knows must exist. The one constant in his life is Oliver…but he too has a history, and his mind is unquiet.
This study of strength, temptation, loyalty and untimely death explores the next step in human evolution – telepathy.
The author is a hospital doctor.