BABYLON 5 FINAL RECKONING THE FATE OF BESTER BY J. GREGORY KEYES

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Copyright 1999.

The Telepath War is over and Alfred Bester was on the losing side. Once the most powerful and feared man in the Earth Alliance he is now a hunted war criminal. He decides to hide out in Paris. Under a false identity he stays at a small hotel. He falls in love with the owner and takes a job as a literary critic for a small publication. Yet he is a hunted fugitive from the government and Michael Garibaldi. Garibaldi is an obsessed man with hunting down Bester and uses his corporate fortune. Soon Bester is discovered and an exciting chase begins.

Now I thought the most logical third book would deal with the Telepath War but instead Straczynski decided to go with the aftermath. I have to say that this story was the best of the trilogy. We get a real character study in Alfred Bester. A man who has an enormous ego and completely narcissistic. Yet it also revealed a human side to him when he falls in love. He actually tries to become a better person. He fails and when the chips are down goes back to his old ways. Something unexpected to have this fearsome character settle down to life of being a literary critic.

The story ends with a very exciting chase sequence that shows Bester is a very skilled operative that leaves the reader in doubt as to the outcome. Yet he ends up captured. At trial he is unrepentant for his crimes and sentenced to life imprisonment. In the end outside his prison they erect a statue of his mother and father with their missing newborn baby. That baby is Bester and he is the only one who knows it. He finds a moment of peace and finally accepts that he is Steven Dexter. He dies and is buried at a lonely grave. At the end Garibaldi comes and drives a wooden stake into his grave in a symbolic gesture. Bester was an interesting character in the series but this trilogy gives the character such a fascinating and in depth story. Del Rey was showing that they knew what to do with this series.

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