Final Reckoning: The Fate of Bester Review
Final Reckoning: The Fate of Bester is the concluding chapter of the Psi Corps trilogy. It is written by J. Gregory Keyes from an outline by Babylon 5 creator J. Michael Straczynski. While the first two installments, Dark Genesis and Deadly Relations, expanded on the back-story of the Babylon 5 universe, Final Reckoning covers new ground.
The story takes place several years after the events of Babylon 5 and even after the events of Crusade. Alfred Bester, the Psi Cop played by Walter Koenig on the show, is now a wanted criminal, a fugitive in the aftermath of the Telepath Crisis hinted at in Crusade.
Alfred Bester decides to return to Earth to live out his remaining years. For a telepath, it is easier to hide among a sea of voices. Bester takes up residence in Paris, the first large city he visited during his childhood in Deadly Relations. He rents a room in a small boarding house and begins to develop a surprising relationship with Louise, the owner. He begins to fall in love with her and she with him, and Bester debates whether to reveal his true identity to her. He also takes up a mundane job, and it looks like the feared tyrant is ready to settle down in peace.
However, Michael Garibaldi is not ready to let Bester off so easily. From his headquarters on Mars, Garibaldi uses the resources of the Edgars Industries to search for Bester. At times, however, Garibaldi's obsession with revenge is as much his enemy as Bester is.
Final Reckoning is the best of the Psi Corps novels for several reasons. First, it gives Babylon 5 fans answers they have been seeking. Second, it is more compact than the first two books, covering only a few months and thus provides more of a narrative than a history. Finally, it invites the readers into the heads of both Alfred Bester and Michael Garibaldi, two men whose destinies are intertwined. Garibaldi must weigh his need for revenge against the needs of his family. Bester must weigh his desire to finally experience love against his instincts for survival.
Final Reckoning delivers what the title promises: the fate of Bester. Therefore it is required reading for any dedicated Babylon 5 fan. However, the story is interesting and exciting enough to appeal to the most casual fan. Just make sure you set aside enough time to read the last third of the book - the climactic chase through Paris - in one sitting.