Heroes of an Unknown World

Ayize Jama-Everett. Small Beer, $17 trade paper (304p) ISBN 978-1-61873-197-5

Therapist and theologian Jama-Everett takes his group of Black superheroes from 1970s London to contemporary Morocco in the fascinating and action-packed final Liminal novel (after The Liminal War). Liminals possess supernatural powers, among them central figure Taggert’s ability to manipulate DNA to harm and heal; his adopted daughter Prentis’s empathy with animals; and wind spirit A.C.’s power over the elements. Taggert and his seven major allies must finally defeat the beautiful but monstrous Alters, who work to drive all of humanity to lemming-like suicide by creating a physically and spiritually depressed new world. In breathlessly paced adventures told from ever-shifting perspectives, Jama-Everett celebrates the power of family, community, and music to unite peoples and combat entropy, using dramatic flashbacks to illustrate the salvific power of self-sacrifice for a greater good. His fictionalization of the role psychedelics (here “manna,” the food of the gods) can play in mental health and clear conviction that writing can heal those whom mainstream culture has ignored add depth to the rip-roaring action. Series fans and new readers alike are sure to be drawn in. (June)