I've enjoyed Hancock's non-fiction archaeological detective books a lot, and after reading his last (Supernatural: Meetings with the Ancient Teachers of Mankind
) I couldn't imagine what he'd do next. With this new novel it's clear that he's continued along the same lines of supernatural research leading to more experiences and ideas best expressed in fiction.
Although he is in no way a great novelist, Hancock has crafted an intriguing and exciting page-turner (somewhat like Dan Brown's popular novels, but better written and way more interesting). Perhaps best of all is that he's finally found an editor able to help him trim the fat (probably easier to do for novels than for far-out esoteric-archaeological studies).
Jumping back and forth between 24,000 yrs ago and modern times (southern California and the Amazon forest), as well as their connections through the parallel spirit world of the "Blue Angel", the story is loosely based on a setting inspired by the DMT research of Dr. Rick Strassmann (DMT: The Spirit Molecule: A Doctor's Revolutionary Research into the Biology of Near-Death and Mystical Experiences
), the radical cosmic evolutionary ideas of Terence McKenna, traditional Biblical myths (or more accurately their Zoroastrian roots) of a cosmic Good/Evil struggle, and our older shamanic spiritual traditions - in short, a fantasy/sci-fi mix of visionary dream-time experiences and anthropological/consciousness studies. As the cover flap quotes, "...might have been written by J.K. Rowling - if Rowling had apprenticed herself for 7 yrs with Mary Leakey, 7 years with Carlos Castaneda and 7 yrs with Robert Crumb". That sounds about right, a Harry Potter tale for adults.
This may seem like an odd combination, but it works beautifully. I can see it becoming hugely popular; maybe not mainstream popular, but for those of us young and adventurous at heart interested in exploring similar ideas in our own lives, this could just prove to be life changing.
(I can even see it becoming a hit Avatar-like movie - what is this world coming to? - Just in time for the paradigm shift of 12/21/2012...Hopefully he's well on his way to writing the sequel - which, if he keeps following the threads of his non-fictional SUPERNATURAL research, will get very far out indeed.)