This is not your run-of-the-mill mind control story. It's a romantic novel that sets forth a stimulating and interesting case for unselfish, non-jealous, bisexual polyamory.
Although the Leader of the Pack possesses essentially magical powers of control over those around him, he exercises extreme restraint in the use of these powers; and the mind control that forms the basis of the story becomes a almost a voluntary form of self-control. The theological question that emerges from this story is, if this sort of process is possible, why wouldn't God apply it to all of its creation? I don't expect to hear an answer to that question anytime soon.
The story is essentially a utopian wet dream. Xanthos finds a computer program that thrusts upon him the power to command anyone around him. By issuing commands recursively, Xanthos stands a good chance of becoming the Master of the Universe. Sometimes Xanthos makes mistakes, but in such cases he debugs his program and makes necessary adjustments. He accumulates a "family" of beautiful women and transports them to the Promised Land, which happens to be in North Carolina. A good time is had by all, while they grow in age, wisdom, and the ability to share love and pleasure with one another.
The magical power extends to both physical characteristics and to the minds of the people Xanthos influences. For example, he increases his own strength and staying power tremendously, improves the health and physical characteristics of himself and of all his women, and even changes the mother of one of the girls into a 29-year-old dynamo - even restoring her hymen so that he can "do the honors" himself. In addition, he has a power over minds that helps him eliminate jealousy in his harem, keep outsiders from becoming suspicious, and prevent selfish, evil perverts from gaining control of the program.
Along the way, Xanthos also invents an inexpensive, efficient universal remote control for electronic devices. In truth, his power is not necessary for inventing this electronic marvel - Xanthos uses the power only for personnel selection and to support staff morale for the electronics firm he founds to market his product. At the very end of the story, however, Xanthos strains credulity by saying that he enhanced (or reformed) the mental and moral abilities of the lawmakers in Washington DC. In addition, a few cynics will wonder why a person with godlike power would use Windows 98, MS Office, and Netscape. The answer is, this god is a humble god.
As I have suggested, an important aspect of the story is that Xanthos uses his powers in a most ethical and benevolent fashion. Although the saying "Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely" is mentioned in the story, this principle obviously does not apply to Xanthos. He derives great pleasure from the women he welcomes into his family; but in doing so he bestows even greater pleasure upon them. The trick, it seems, is to banish jealousy and to be deeply concerned about the feelings of one's partner(s) -- and, of course, to possess extraordinary insight into human nature. Xanthos' main "pick-up line" is to say to a woman, "If you could change anything about yourself -- no matter what it was or how possible it was -- what would it be?" Then he accomplishes the designated change -- sometimes only on a temporary basis. I guess that would impress some people more than your typical barroom trick.
The basic untruth behind this story, of course, is that a program like Master PC does not exist. Indeed, it probably CANnot exist. However, even if we grant the assumption that someone COULD develop such a program, there remain three fatal flaws in the logic underlying this piece of romantic science fiction. The first flaw is that power DOES tend to corrupt and that absolute power DOES corrupt absolutely. Secondly, it seems unlikely that jealousy REALLY can be banished as completely as it is in this story. And finally, absolutely perfect insights into human nature or the personalities of specific people are about as rare as people free of jealousy who remain uncorrupted by absolute power.
However, the fact that all three major premises of the story are false need not interfere with our enjoyment of the story. All we have to do is suspend our disbelief, and we have an outstanding story that revels in the glories of unabashed hedonism. Heck, for a dose of unabashed hedonism, I think I can suspend my disbelief for an evening or two.
Now keep in mind that almost all the great novels - and probably all the great everything elses - require a willing suspension of disbelief. The result of this journey during which we accept false premises is that we can achieve insights that are really helpful when we unsuspend disbelief - either that, or we just plain have a really good time with our fantasies.
The story reminded me of the Trinity Trilogy, in which an author calling himself Tom Trinity gave us a serialized description of the escapades of some sexual epicureans who grew to love one another deeply while they fucked their mutual brains out. I'll repost my review of the Trinity Trilogy.
The most novel contribution of this story is the author's treatment of ethics and free will with regard to mind control as it applies to sexual ecstasy. Basically, the protagonist COULD use his powers to make the women his playthings or (perhaps a more friendly goal) use those powers to make both them and him really happy without letting them know what is happening. Instead, he uses his powers only after his lovers have requested it and only to protect them from outside hostility or ill effects that could threaten them.
In addition to the wonders I have already described, I must say a few words about the author's style. He employs a series of overlapping multiple perspectives. That is, he describes events and emotions from one person's perspective and then the same events from another person's perspective (or several other perspectives). These different people know different things or feel different emotions, and the result is a truly exquisite unfolding of the story.
In the minor error department, the plural of the automobile is "Lexuses, " not Lexi. I suppose if an ancient Roman emperor ever owned a Lexus, the situation might be different. In addition, Chapter 5 contains a really rough transition at noon in a small cafe near the park. The transition was so rough that I thought I had accidentally deleted a major portion of my text.
Here's a delicious side note: The author uses the term "private areas" without any sexual connotation at all. Imagine that.
This is a very long story (82, 000 words), and I am not going to try to summarize it any further than I have. Let me just say that I have not at least regretted spending several hours reading this story. It was a delight to read.