A couple of years ago I stumbled across an Advance Reader's Copy (ARC) of a book called The Darkness That Comes Before by R. Scott Bakker in a used book store. I picked it up and was immediately hooked by the author's use of language, and his willingness to go deeper into his characters' feelings and motivations than the majority of writers I'd read, let alone writers of Epic Fantasy. So far there have been two other books in the series called The Prince Of Nothing: The Warrior Prophet and The Thousandthfold Thought, and the epilogue to part three gave an impression of more to come.
So when I received a letter from Mr. Bakker back in late February, early March, asking if I would like an ARC of his forthcoming book, Neuropath, I assumed it would be somehow associated with the previous three books. When I wrote back that I would be thrilled to receive an ARC, I mentioned how much I had appreciated the first three books of the trilogy, and was looking forward to more of the same. He replied with the warning that Neuropath had nothing to do with the previous books, and was in fact somewhat of a major departure from it.
Bakker wasn't kidding about the departure bit, as Neuropath is a very intense crime thriller that explores aspects of human psychology that are very disturbing. Especially in regards to what he postulates is possible with surgery to control human brain functions to eliminate our control over what we believe we are feeling. The ability to surgically alter our synapses so that we will inflict pain on ourselves in the mistaken believe that we are experiencing pleasure has implications that are too frightening to even consider.
After I had read Neuropath, its release date has been pushed back to nearer the end of June 2008, so don't expect a review until probably the third week of this month. I contacted Scott and asked him if he would consider answering a few questions about his work and Neuropath specifically. He very generously agreed, so I sent him off a list of questions by e-mail and the answers you're reading here are verbatim copies of what he wrote in reply. We were both careful to avoid giving away anything that would spoil Neuropath for readers, so you can read the interview safe in the knowledge that it won't give the story away.