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am 16. November 2011
Der Telepathenkrieg ist vorbei und Bester hat ihn verloren.
Viele seiner einstigen Verbündeten haben sich die eigene Freiheit erkauft, indem sie ihn verraten und ihm die Schuld an ihren Gräueltaten untergeschoben haben, und so wird er selbst seit Jahren als der Schlimmste aller Kriegsverbrecher gejagt.
Des Davonlaufens müde hat er nur einen Wunsch: Endlich nach Hause zurückzukehren, auf die Erde, zurück nach Paris, in jene Stadt, die ihn schon in seiner Jugend mit dem Zauber ihres Flairs und dem Muster ihres "White Noise" für sich eingenommen hatte.
Dort - am unwahrscheinlichsten Ort - findet er das, womit er nicht gerechnet hätte: Die Liebe seines Lebens. Ausgerechnet in der Person der "Normalen" Louise, der jungen Inhaberin einer kleinen Pension, deren Leben von kleinkriminellen Schutzgelderpressern zur Hölle gemacht wird.
Doch ein drohender Schatten hängt nach wie vor über seiner neuen Existenz, denn noch immer ist ihm Garibaldi dicht auf den Fersen...

Im dritten Teil erleben wir ein komplett anderes Bild des bisher so verbittert und skrupellos erscheinenden Ex-Psi Cops. Bester als Privatmensch. Zusammen mit Louise von seiner sensibelsten Seite... humorvoll, schlagfertig, einfühlsam...
Auch wenn ein Großteil der Geschichte nicht gerade vor Action strotzt, ist es interessant zu lesen, wie sich die Beziehung zwischen Luise und Al alias "Claude" entwickelt, während sie gemeinsam die Wohnung renovieren, zusammen spazieren oder auch einfach nur einkaufen gehen, und amüsant zu beobachten, wie Bester sich - unter seiner neuen Identität - als Buchkritiker einer renommierten Zeitung mit grundsätzlich vernichtenden Rezensionen rasch einen Namen macht.

Trotz dieser durchaus wohlwollenden Darstellung macht Keyes aber nicht den Fehler, Bester gänzlich als Opfer zu verklären. So werden auch in diesem Buch seine dunkelsten und abgründigsten Wesenszüge aufgezeigt, etwa wenn er eines Nachts eben jenen Schutzgelderpresser mental seziert, der zuvor Louise bedroht hatte. Nach wie vor ist er sich nicht zu schade, andere Menschen zu benutzen, und schreckt vor nichts zurück, wenn er sich und seine Ziele bedroht sieht.
Dabei bleibt es wiederum dem Leser überlassen, am Ende für sich zu entscheiden, wem von beiden man "moral high ground" zugesteht, Bester oder dem von Rache getriebenen Garibaldi und mit ihm allen, die als Sieger die Geschichte nach ihrem eigenen Gutdünken schreiben können.

Dennoch wage ich zu behaupten, dass man im Finale schon ein Stein sein müsste, um nicht mit Bester zu leiden, der in diesem Band alles gewinnt - alles, was ein Leben im Dienste seiner Telepathen ihm nie geben konnte - und wieder alles verliert... aus Rücksicht auf eine bloße "Normale".
Persönlich konnte ich nicht umhin, im showdown Michael-"hau drauf"-Garibaldi (den ich, wie ich zugebe, schon während der Serie nicht wirklich mochte) doch sehr zu wünschen, er möge über die Treppe fallen und sich das Genick brechen, was natürlich nicht passiert...
Das Ende der Geschichte hat mich aber letztlich mit der ganzen Tragik versöhnt.

Aus meiner Sicht ist dies der beste Teil der Telepathen Trilogie - charaktertechnisch der Überzeugendste - und ein wirklich würdiger und befriedigender Abschluss.
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am 27. März 2003
You can often read in reviews that you "feel nearly sorry for the bad guy". Not in this book. There is no "nearly". You actually feel VERY sorry for Bester, the tragic "hero" of this last installment of the telepath trilogy. Hardly ever have I read about an evil character and so much rooted for him til the end.
Why is that? Well, for the first part, the supporting characters always were the ones which gave the Babylon 5 universe much of its life. There was Mr. Morden, Vir, Kosh, Marcus or that certain Mr. Bester who always was a very intriguing character. Now we have the final duell between him, the cunning trickster, and Garibaldi, the one-dimensional hothead who always was on the brink of annoying the viewers five B5 seasons long. No wonder so that you are cheering Bester, not Garibaldi.
Especially when Besters characterization is at its top in this book. He was formed in the second book of this trilogy, and now he is an old, disillusioned war criminal searching for... well what? You can't say for sure but surprisingly, what he is finding is - love. And the way the plot evolves is sometimes funny, sometimes tragic, sometimes it even causes despair - but it#s always a decent continuation of the Babylon 5 epic which, once more, leaves the question: WHY, Mister Straczynski, WHY did you flush season five down the "quality toilet" if you had SUCH splendid ideas in your mind??? That's the most tragic thing about this...
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am 14. September 2004
Der Telepathenkrieg - über den man leider ebensowenige Details erfährt wie über das Schicksal Lytas - ist vorüber, Bester hat ihn verloren, man sucht ihn nun als Kriegsverbrecher. Bester versteckt sich am unwahrscheinlichsten Ort der Welt und erlebt auf seine alten Tage, was ihm das Leben bisher vorenthielt: Freundschaft, Liebe, Zufriedenheit. Doch ein Teil von ihm ist immer noch das Scheusal, das man aus der Serie kennt, und es bricht sich wieder Bahn, als ihm Garibaldi, sein alter Feind, immer dichter auf die Fersen rückt ...
Ein unaufgeregtes, stimmiges Buch über einen Mann, für den man am Ende trotz allem Mitleid und Sympathie empfinden kann.
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am 27. März 2000
The first two books in this trilogy had more of the Babylon 5 feel I've come to know. This book fell pretty flat. Bester from the show (and the first two books) is truly a more complex person then the one presented here. In the other two books, I could hear Garibaldi speak his lines. In this book, not really. With almost all elements of the B5 universe missing, this book could have been about anyone, anywhere. Plus, unless sleeper drugs have improved (of which improvements are not mentioned in the books from what I saw), they take hours to kick in.
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am 25. Oktober 1999
I waited eagerly for this book, because, based on the sweeping scope of the first two, I thought Babylon 5 might appear and we might gain further insight into the Telepath War. Apparently that is still being held back for a feature film, and we are given virtually no picture of the changes in society (beyond the fact that telepaths no longer wear gloves). The story focuses only on a few months in Bester's life, in Paris, where he attempts to cover his tracks, falls in love, and writes a book review column....Fair enough, although given the brief length, small scope, and essentially non-dramatic events, this book seems more like an epilogue to the second volume which portrayed Bester's early life exhaustively. Lyta gets two or three mentions which are so small and frustrating it would have been better if she'd never been alluded to. Garibaldi has a token appearance, but his character is fundamentally disappointing. Worst of all, Bester's ability to go underground and keep the secret of who he really is depend on a flawed premise. Although Bester's genetic code is on file, his parent's supposedly aren't, because (so J. Michael Straczynski has recently said on-line) they weren't part of Psi Corps -- although his parents were both held by the Corps, and at one point in the first book there is a specific reference to his mother's genetic code being registered for breeding purposes. Buy the second book, read the first one, but ignore this one.
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am 24. Oktober 1999
In the first two books of the Psi-Corps trilogy, we received background information on the Psi-Corps and Bester in the time preceding the Babylon 5 TV Series. At the conclusion of the Babylon 5 series, there were several questions about Talia, Lyta, and the forthcoming telepath war.
Rather than give us the details of the telepath war or Lyta's role or what actually happened to Talia, the book begins after what would have been the conclusion of Crusade if that series had had its full run. It tells us the story of Bester on the lam as a war criminal with a little bit of Garibaldi's hunt for him. It adds little to the insight into Bester that we already had from the second book and the TV series.
In short, this book should have been condensed and made into a second part to a book in which the first part (like substantial parts of the first book) would have focused on the rogue telepaths and the struggle in the telepath war.
In the end, Gregory Keyes and J. Michael Strzynski continue to short change Lyta Alexander and their audience. We can only hope that the Centauri Prime series will answer these questions left by the series: 1) Why is Centauri Prime in flames 18 years after the end of the series? 2) How did G'Kar get there? 3) What has G'Kar been doing? 4) How did Delenn and Sheridan get there? 5) What happened to the keeper intended for David Sheridan? and finally 6) How are the Draak removed from Centauri Prime? Clearly the only questions left from the series answered in this book were 1) Was Garibaldi's block removed (but we still don't know how or when) and 2) What happened to Bester. Unfortunately, there were many more questions raised by the series and Crusade about telepaths which are left unaswered.
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am 19. Oktober 1999
But for you who require the extra push to read this book, I offer the following.
J. Gregory Keyes has woven a tapesty of dichotomous themes; pain/happyness, fear/hope, trust/betrayal, truth/lies, apathy, hate and love. Through this account he causes the examination of life, redemption and our own warped sense of history.
I was surprised by the emotions this story invoked in me. In Babylon 5 Bester was seen as a true Machiavelli, hated and admired for his wit and cunning. Garibaldi was a no-nonsense, get it done some how guy. But are they not the same? In 257 pages Keyes has over turned what was thought to be the near black and white roles of Bester and Garibaldi. Keyes, unlike many authors writing from other peoples plots, has kept continuity in the charicters, while opening a window into those parst of these men normally kept hidden. I feel I have found a new friend and confidant. By whatever name Bester uses he is wise, loyal and the best. While Garibaldi, like all fish, has acquired a stench.
However you feel at the end of this book I'm sure you will agree with Mr. Bester, "We can cut away chaff, but we can't improve the quality of genious in a good writer . . ."
NOTE: When you get to the end DO NOT read the excerpt right then. Come back to it later. All quotes are from the novel
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am 14. Oktober 1999
In true serialized novel form, I couldn't wait for the final book after reading the first two books of the trilogy. After the discovery of telepaths, the birth of the Psi-Corps, the growth of the resistance, the ironic twisting of its prodigy into the vistage of Bester (who has always been an exquisitely credible B5 supporting character in his own rite), I eagerly awaited the climax. Instead, I was treated to the denoumount. The authors (both writer and outliner) decided it best to skip decades of monumental struggle and go straight from "Bester Ascendent" to "Bester Descendent"---apparently "Bester at Apogee" wasn't worth attending to at this time. Or maybe (my best hope) I justed missed the third book and picked up the fourth by mistake. Don't be mistaken: this book as well as the entire trilogy is a fine read. Mr. Keyes writes believable dialogue and the B5 universe lends itself well to the novel form in the hands of such an excellent craftsman. Quite frankly, it offers a better "B5 fix" than the entirety of "Crusade-The Series" (which reminds me that-- in addition to skipping over the entire Psi-War-- people in the book speak about the Drahk Plague the same way we'd talk about the inconvenience of Arab Oil Embargo and speak about "the Excalibur expeditions" with the same awe and respect that characters in other SciFi story lines speak of old Jim Kirk's five-year run with the Enterprise---spooky...but I digress). Bester's characterization here seems discontinuously at odds with his portrayal elsewhere (including earlier in the same book). Is the sloppy Bester at the end of novel really the same man who handily disposes of a whole crew of hunter-telepaths in the prologue? Is the puppy love-sick septegenarian (with a MUNDANE?!?)really the same man who betrayed his first real true love to the Corps (a fellow Teep, no less) in the second novel? Isn't that deus-ex-virus which suddenly pops to offer Garabaldi a lead just a little too convenient a plot device? Enjoy the book [you know you've got to read it]. Try not to judge it against your expectations following the first two books. Hope the authors get around to back-writting Book #3. Grow accustomed to being beast of burden to other peoples' needs.
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am 13. Oktober 1999
Final Reckoning is a worthy conclusion to the Psi Corp Trilogy. True fans will enjoy this addition to the B5 tapestry. For the non-fan, however, I don't think "Final Reckoning" stands-up as well as the first two parts of the trilogy. This is caused, in part, by a decision made by series creator and story outliner J. Michael Straczynski -leaving us still curious about the famous telepath crises. Thus, "Final Reckoning" is really part four, with the third part of the story still untold. The missing third part of the story is closely guarded by JMS and, according to a trusted source, a script has already been written for a potential movie.
Another weak aspect of "Final Reckoning" is the sudden appearance of Bester's nemesis Michael Garibaldi. Keyes's writing is first rate, surpassing, in ways of economy and characterization, his work on the first two parts of the trilogy. However, I think that Garibaldi's motivation might have been a bit of a mystery for those unfamiliar with the B5 television series. Keyes could have done more work here. Sorry Greg, "Nothing was ever improved by applause."
The treatment of Bester at the end of his days was thoroughly convincing and parallels the lives of many war criminals trying to escape their pasts. Keyes's treatment is beautifully melancholy and sadly poignant. Once feared and honored, Bester goes into hiding, developing neglected aspects of his personality, finding love knowing he doesn't deserve it and trying to escape a past that refuses to go away. The plot was engaging and enthralling -there were some clever twists and wonderful use of irony. Keyes's incorporation of scenes from the television series was natural and filled in the story nicely. I felt glum after finishing the story -grieving for my favorite B5 villain. Of course, his poetic fate is not exactly what I imagined it would be. You'll have to discover this for yourself.
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am 5. Oktober 1999
After reading the first two books in this series I must admit that I was enthusiastically waiting for this book to come out.
I hate to say that I was extremely disappointed. I believe this was definitely based on a story outline by JMS, it has his fingerprints all over it.
In JMSs world no one is truly evil for evil's sake. They all have motives and reasoning behind their actions. As fans of the series know Bester would do anything for Psi-Corp. The corps is mother, the corp is father weren't just words to him.
That's fine, I don't disagree with any of that. But, don't give me this crap that Bester is going to change his spots and turn into a sad figure in his own way.
Bull*#$%...Bester would never let other perceive him this way. Not even a normal he professed to love. If you wanted to generate sympathy on some level don't do it this way.
Bester had his reasons for acting like he did his entire life. He remembered and embraced that life again at the end. Don't waste my time with 2/3 of this book giving me a new Bester personality.
They should have cut this down and made this a two book series.
Nice try guys but this falls way short of the mark.
Thanks for letting me air my opinion.
-30-
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