|Find Your Own Truth|
Find Your Own Truth is a Shadowrun novel by Robert Charrette. (Secrets of Power)
- Secrets of Power Volume 3
Find the Magic!
He was only a "beginner" shaman, but Sam Verner had to find a cure to ward off the curse on his sister. Only something of great magic would do the trick. It was this quest that took him to a mystical citadel in Australia, where, with the aid of his shadowrunner friends, he recovered the strange artifact he hoped would prove helpful. But instead of anything that even remotely resembled help, an unexpected and ancient terror was released - a terror that erupted into a shadow war for dominion over an awakened earth. And while the evil kept growing, inexorably drawing him into battle, the curse's power over his sister was also growing, bringing her closer and closer to death. Soon a truly desperate Sam realized that the last and only home for saving his sister was to find the greatest shaman of the sixth World, former leader of the Great Ghost Dance - a man who may no longer exist ...8th line/ "...last and only home... '
- change "home" to hope
Warning: Spoiler Information Below
Sam Verner is drawn into a global plot by a malevolent magical being bent on unleashing a nuclear holocaust. This entity is supposedly the totem, Spider.
The book is the third one in the Secrets of Power trilogy. It follows Choose Your Enemies Carefully. Some characters would return in later Charrette's novels, the next major one being Never Trust an Elf.
Detailed plot summaryEdit
- Part 1
- There Is No Surety
2052. Sam Verner travels to Australia's outback in search of an object of power that he can use to cure his sister Janice of her wendigo curse. Removing a magical stone from a cave, Sam unknowingly sets free a portion of Spider's power. The deed is discovered by the well's guardian, an Aboriginie immortal called Urdli, who pursues Sam to Seattle.
Hong Kong shadowrunner Neko Noguchi eavesdrops on a private meeting between Hohiro Sato and a secretive but influential fixer called Grandmother, an avatar of Spider. She displays an interest in Renraku's AI project and in the activities of Sam Verner. Neko sells this information to Dodger, who has a standing offer for information pertaining to the AI.
Sam attempts to use the stone to cure his sister in a painstakingly designed ritual conducted on the slopes of Mount Ranier. Despite his elaborate preparations, the ritual fails. Janice's grip on humanity grow more tenuous.
- Part 2
- Look Within Yourself
Sam decides to enlist the aid of a powerful shaman in effecting his sister's cure, and travels to Denver in search of Daniel Howling Coyote, the legendary leader of the Great Ghost Dance who disappeared in 2037. He draws pursuit after him: Urdli, agents of Grandmother, agents of Sato, each with their own agendas. When they catch up with him, Sam is rescued by none other than Howling Coyote himself. The stone is taken, however, and brought to Sato.
Data supplied to Dodger by Neko Noguchi leads the elf into an investigation of Grandmother's activities. Evidence accumulates that the old woman is actively seeking out several caches of nuclear weapons. Having recovered that portion of her strength released by Sam, Spider is taking steps to secure it.
Sam studies magic under Howling Coyote's tutelage. Urdli appears and explains Sam's responsibility for Spider's sudden return to power and demands that he make restitution by confronting her. Sam refuses, intent on his sister's curse and mistrustful of the aboriginie elf. Not long after, though, a conversation with his totem changes his mind.
- Part 3
- Pay The Price
Sam takes steps to deny Spider its prize. Having learned the Ghost Dance from Dog, Sam and Howling Coyote call a dance of their own, gathering power to block the arcane efforts of the arachnid totem.
Against Spider's physical minions, Sam arranges mundane counterstrikes: Hart takes a team of mercenaries to a cache of nuclear weapons hidden beneath a terrorist stronghold in Germany. Neko and a shapeshifter mercenary, Striper, are sent to a missile complex in China. Urdli and Estios pursue a missile in Africa. And Janice Verner joins Sally Tsung's team in boarding a ballistic missile submarine wrecked on the bottom of Puget Sound. As each team reaches its objective, the power of the Dance renders the fissionable material in the weapons inert, the warheads useless.
Sato is overwhelmed the power of Spider, which invades his body via the stone and re-shapes him into an avatar. Janice's physical form is slain by Spider's minions aboard the submarine, but her astral form lingers long enough to confront and destroy Sato. Triumphant, Janice surrenders herself to the Dance.
On the metaplanes, Sam and Howling Coyote face the Spider totem itself, and defeat it. The victory is not without cost: Howling Coyote is killed and Sam burns out his magic, becoming mundane.
In order of appearance:
In order of appearance:
- Mudder McAlister*: shadowrunner, outback guide from Perth, Australia
- Samuel Verner (Twist): dog shaman, shadowrunner
- Jason Stone*: amerindian shadowrunner, razorpunk
- Gray Otter*: amerindian shadowrunner
- Cog: international fixer
- Harrier Hawkins: Australian shadowrunner
- Walter Urdli: aboriginal Australian immortal elf, mage
- Hohiro Sato*: Renraku Computer Systems, Vice President of Operations
- Grandmother: Hong Kong fixer, information broker, avatar of Spider
- Dodger: elf decker, shadowrunner
- Katherine Hart: elf mage, shadowrunner
- Brother Paulus: soldier-monk of the Order of Saint Sylvester
- Brother Mark: mage-monk of the Order of Saint Sylvester
- Father Pietro Rinaldi: priest of the Order of Saint Sylvester
- Neko Noguchi: adept, shadowrunner in Hong Kong
- Janice Verner Shiroi*: wendigo wolf shaman, Sam's sister
- Ghost Who Walks Inside: amerindian street samurai
- Estios*: elf mage, paladin of Prince Laverty
- Teresa O'Connor: elf, paladin of Prince Laverty
- Sean Laverty: immortal elf mage, Prince of Tir Tairngire
- Rikki Ratboy: street shaman, Rat totem
- Manx*: street shaman, Cat totem
- Monique: high-class joygirl in Hong Kong, front for the fixer Cog
- Akabo: bodyguard to Hohiro Sato
- Hachiko Ieno: agent for Grandmother in the Renraku Arcology, flesh-form spider spirit
- Daniel Coleman (Dizzy Dancey, Howling Coyote, Red Braids)*: amerindian Coyote shaman
- Harry Masamba: hermetic mage, bodyguard/agent for Hohiro Sato
- Caliban: European fixer
- Soriyama: brilliant cybersurgeon
- Enterich: expediter for Saeder-Krupp corporation, persona used by Lofwyr
- Willie Williams: female dwarf rigger
- Georgie*: dwarf mercenary, flesh-form spider spirit
- Striper: female weretiger mercenary and shadowrunner
- Han: Chinese warlord, Kungshu province
- Nightfall: female spider shaman, agent of Grandmother
- Sally Tsung: female hermetic magician, Seattle-based shadowrunner
- Long Run*: amerind shadowrunner, member of Ghost's urban tribe
- Fast Stag*: amerind shadowrunner, member of Ghost's urban tribe
- Kham: ork shadowrunner
- Rabo: ork rigger
- John Parker: ork shadowrunner
- Matrixcrawler*: decker, uses a chrome spider icon, agent of Grandmother
* this character dies in the course of the novel.
- Ayer Rock, Australia
- Hong Kong Free Enterprise Zone
- Mount Ranier
- Portland, Tir Tairngire
- Ute Nation
- Weberschloss, Germany
- Kungshu, China
- Puget Sound
Notes and analysisEdit
p. 4: about Australia: "In the days before magic had returned to the earth, the country had been well served with roads. Aircraft had flown high above the deserts and grasslands to connect the coastal population centers with the interior's scattered bastions of civilization. But with the Awakening, the land had come to chaotic -- and often malevolent -- life, swallowing roads and brewing vast, swirling storms of such violence that air travel was often too risky. The Dreamtime had returned as a Nightmaretime, and mankind had retreated before the unleased fury of the wild magic. Only a few resource-exploitation centers belonging to megacorporations remained in the interior, and even their lifelines were tenuous."
p. 11: some Australian Totems: Kangaroo, Koala, Bandicoot, Snake, Crocodile
The cave at Ayer rock is called Imiri ti-Versakhan, which Urdli translates as "Citadel of Remembrance" (p. 190). The literal translation according to the vocabulary in Tir Tairngire (p. 68) would be closer to "Memorial of an Enemy".
The cave is home to a particularly nasty paracritter, an amphibious shapeshifting behemoth called a Bunyip. It was apparently placed there specifically to protect the cave's treasure (how very D&D). Since it was recognizable to an Australian shadowrunner, Bunyips are presumably native to the region.
In the real world, Ayer Rock is major Australian landmark, analogous to the Grand Canyon in the United States. The Aboriginal name for it is Uluru.
There are some guest appearances in this novel by characters belonging to other authors, credited by Charette in his acknowledgements. Rikki Ratboy belongs to Paul Hume (another of Shadowrun's original designers). Striper belongs to Nyx Smith (Striper Assassin and Who Hunts The Hunter).
Because of its association with the Great Ghost Dance, Mount Ranier serves as a place of power for shamanic rituals.
p. 106: Dodger remembers Daniel "Howling Coyote" Coleman's broadcast claiming responsibility for the eruption of Redondo Peak and destruction of Los Alamos in 2014. That would almost certainly make Dodger a "spike baby", since even the first elves born in the "Year of Chaos" (2011) would have been only three years old at the time. His association with Sean Laverty suggests that he may have been one of the children raised by the Xavier Foundation (Tir Tairngire, p. 50).
In Never Trust An Elf (p. 161), Dodger claims to remember the news broadcast of the New York Earthquake (12 August 2005), and admits to being a spike baby.
p. 108: Daniel Coleman is the author of a book called Howling in the Wilderness, written while he was president of the Sovereign Tribal Council (2018-2037). It's described as "sort of a Mein Kampf crossed with Castaneda's Yaqui Way of Knowledge."
p. 113: "... my body is a well-honed machine, and like any machine, it can be rebuilt if necessary. You know the old saying, 'We have the technology'." Neko is quoting the character Oscar Goldman from The Six Million Dollar Man. The television series appears to have been immortalized following the advent of cyberware, even as far away as Hong Kong. (The full quote also appears in the Cybertechnology chapter of Shadowtech, p. 36: "Gentlemen, we can rebuild him. We have the technology. Better. Stronger. Faster.")
p. 121: Coleman was a Ute Indian by tribal affiliation.
p. 146: Hong Kong is more ethnically diverse in 2052. Chinese no longer comprise a majority—there are equal numbers of Japanese and Caucasian, with other ethnic types represented as well.
p. 150: Lots of Sperethiel vocabulary here. Makkannagee (willfully stupid), morkhan (fornicator of swine), carromeleg (an elven martial arts style), shatatain (carromeleg combat stance), zathien (zen-like stillness of spirit).
p. 156: Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Tripoli, and Baghdad are specifically identified as locations decimated by nuclear weapons. It's not a complete list—Israel hit Libya with three nuclear warheads in 2004, striking two other population centers besides Tripoli.
p. 159: Nice example of a City Spirit's use of the Alienation power, as described in the first and second edition rules. Alienation is gone in the third edition, but the effect could be explained as Confusion, Accident, or both.
p. 190: Urdli: "Long ago, this world knew magic. It was a better time then; all lived in accordance with their natures. The world was not perfect, but it was happier. In time changes came, and the magic grew weak. Many wonderful things perished. Some evil things as well, but evil always seems less vulnerable to the lack of magic. For a long time there was no mana, but the time of lack was only an interval. The mana returned and brought us the Sixth World. Howling Coyote: "Aztec number... Hopi got a different count. Aleut, too." Urdli: "The number is unimportant, but the concept should be understood. Mana has waxed and waned. There was a time when the mana was low, too low for the true nature of the world to manifest."
In first-edition Shadowrun, it was possible for deckers to work without a cyberdeck, naked in the matrix (SR1, p. 111). It required a piece of cyberware called a program carrier. Dodger does this in the short story Night on the Town (SR1, p. 8), and does so again in this novel (page 201). In terms of the second or third edition game, the program carrier could be re-interpreted as a very rudimentary form of Cranial Cyberdeck.
Sam was orphaned on the Night of Rage, 7 Feb 2039, when his parents and older brother Oliver were killed by a mob outside their home. The night marked Sam's first unconscious use of magic, when he summoned a city spirit to protect himself and his sister Janice. Grandmother (p. 32) and Enterich/Lofwyr (p. 211), were paying attention to the Verners, among others. There is a cryptic reference to their bloodline that is never explained.
Janice Verner did not goblinize naturally. While Sam was undergoing his datajack implantation at Soriyama's cyberclinic, Sato was interrogating Janice on the orders of Grandmother, questions about her family history to which she did not have any answers. He also used her as a test subject for his pet project: a metamorphosis serum that caused her goblinization into an ork. After she was sent to Yomi, Janice fell victim to a banshee named Hugh Glass, from whom she contracted the Human-MetaHuman Vampiric Virus (HMHVV), transforming her into a wendigo.
p. 230: Dodger's close association with the Morgan AI has elevated his decking skill immensely. At this point, he is probably the most competent decker in the world, with the possible exception of "Leonardo" (Black Madonna, Blood in the Boardroom). It's even possible that Morgan made Dodger otaku (p. 282: "...she was the Ghost in the Machine, and he, through her tutelage, was enabled beyond a flesh-limited decker."). Psychotrope and Renraku Arcology Shutdown imply that AIs are capable of this.
p. 267: The USS Wichita was a Nereid-class ballistic missile submarine that was scuttled in Puget Sound by its captain (Walker) in 2015, when Salish forces led by Thunder Tyee captured the Naval shipyard at Bremerton.
p. 313: Morgan and Dodger encounter Semi-Autonomous Knowbots (SK's) in Grandmother's computer system. This is the first mention of SK's, which won't appear in a sourcebook until Virtual Realities 2.0. This is also the original source of Morgan's quote, "They are what I was," pertaining to SK's in that sourcebook's Artificial Intelligence chapter (VR2, p. 138). These SK's are Renraku constructs dispatched by Sato to crash Grandmother's system.
p. 316: Morgan describes her "birth": "Chance is an element in all existence. For myself, there is certainty that the chance element was the unauthorized intrusion into the Renraku matrix by Samuel Verner-Sam-Twist and yourself. As organisms standing in the immediate generative position of an entity, you are the parents of myself." This description of her creation is paraphrased in the Renraku Arcology Shutdown sourcebook (p. 71).
p. 316: According to Howling Coyote, the phenomenal magical power of the Great Ghost Dance is generated by four principles: (1) the voluntary self-sacrifice of the dancers, (2) their intense belief, (3) harmony with the natural order, and (4) the righteousness of their cause.
The Spider totem in this book does not behave like the Spider totem described in Bug City (p. 144) or Magic in the Shadows (p. 157). For that matter, it doesn't behave like a Totem at all. Its servants in the novel appear to be true form and flesh form insect spirits, though they are never identified as such. For myself, I'll just consider Spider/Rachnei to be an immensely powerful magical entity masquerading as the Spider totem.
- French: ...Et trouve ta vérité!
- German: Such deine eigene Wahrheit
- Hungarian: Keresd a magad igazát
- Polish: Znajdź własną drogę
- Portuguese(Brazil): Encontre sua Própria Verdade
- Mason's: 2 out of 5. I'd have preferred a less abstract villain, myself -- this one's a bit hard to swallow, and it doesn't remotely jibe with the description of Spider Totem in published sourcebooks. As Shadowrun novels go, this rates a 2 out of 5.
- Doug's: B (out of A, B, C, D scale)
- Goodreads: 3.74 (as of June 2013)
- Based partially on Mason's review