A couple of months ago I was reading about a new book coming out titled “The Oracle Year” by Charles Soule (the “e” is silent) and what caught my attention in the review was that the writer was also a writer for comic books such as “Daredevil”, “She-Hulk” and others. I haven’t really read any new comics in the past decade, at least, so I haven’t read any of his comic book work but I usually enjoy novels written by comic book writers. I love Neil Gaiman and have been impressed by Peter David, Steve Englehart, and others, so I made a mental note to look into “The Oracle Year” when it was published.
Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago when I was looking over the list of authors coming to Book People bookstore here in Austin to do readings and signings, and there was the note that Charles Soule would be there on Wednesday evening, April 25th to read and sign his new book, which had recently hit the shelves. I knew I would be there as well.
There were only about 12-14 people present, so after Mr. Soule read the second chapter of his book (I had already read up through Chapter 7 while waiting for the event to begin), it was good to hear that the way I “heard” the characters speaking and interacting in my head was exactly how the author read them, with the same inflections and tones. Afterward, we asked questions and then the book signing began.
“The Oracle Year” centers around Will Dando (The Oracle) who awakens one morning from a dream with 108 specific predictions in his head of things that will happen in the future. To protect his anonymity, he sets up a super-secure website with the help of The Florida Ladies (don’t ask, just read the book) and he and his investment banker friend Hamza selectively release a few of the predictions, netting them billions of dollars from corporations looking for any advantage in their business forecast models.
But Will is not about the money at all. He’s about social good and looking out for the other guy. He meets a beautiful reporter at an event that he knows will cause some people to die, hoping that his call to the police and perhaps even his anonymous presence will change the prediction, but it doesn’t. In fact, Will soon discovers, with religious leaders calling him the AntiChrist and his own government leaving no stone unturned in trying to discover his identity, that the predictions work together for some reason. A reason that seems to be a nefarious one. The book leads us around the world with action, thrills, and a satisfying ending to such a complicated tale.
The characters work well, which I would expect because comic book characterization is important and Charles Soule’s many admirers attest to his ability to create believable characters. The story and plot hold up well and, frankly, longer than I expected. It was a page-turner of a pleasant read and I have no doubt that Charles Soule’s next novel will be even better.
I recommend “The Oracle Year” for a good read.