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The Grandmaster Paperback – August 23, 2007
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The Grandmaster is a tale told, ironically enough, in the reminiscing style of Jonathan Harker in Bram Stoker's Dracula. Dr. Johann Wagner is the founder of the Wagner Institute for Mental Treatment and Investigations, established in 1966. His team of psychologists and parapsychologists investigate and solve crimes that have supernatural connections. Each member has a special gift: ESP, telekinesis--the whole psychic pie. But this is Wagner's story.
When the story opens, we immediately learn three things: Wagner is having night terrors apparently caused by a visitation from a demonic entity; Wagner is Jewish; Wagner likes the composer Richard Wagner, over whom a long-running debate over his attributed anti-Semitism has been raging in a number of circles.
The Wagner thing grabbed my attention more than did the demon, at first. How could the music of a debatably Nazi-influenced composer be soothing to a Jewish scholar? And was there some sort of coincidence that they bore the same surname? Both questions, as well as the demon's identity, are answered when Dr. Wagner takes us back to his childhood and youth in pre-World War II Berlin and his eventual days of horror in concentration camps. There, his own special gift made him a soldier and a hero on both the physical and spiritual planes.
Balaskas has done his research well and has provided us with a thought-provoking tale not so much of good and evil but of the constant battle against the latter.
The work's preview intrigued me. The prize for, and the review of, the book tempted me.
Boy, they were right! It's more than worthy! Once I started it, I couldn't put it down till I finished.
All I can say is, WOW! Please, sir, can we have some more?