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Prodigal Son (Dean Koontz's Frankenstein, Book 1) Mass Market Paperback – January 25, 2005

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Product Details

  • Series: Dean Koontz's Frankenstein, Book 1 (Book 1)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam (January 25, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553587889
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553587883
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 4.3 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (299 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,133,537 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this grisly thriller, the first in a new series by bestsellers Koontz and Anderson, Dr. Frankenstein has survived into the 21st century, masquerading as biotech tycoon Victor Helios. Helios wants to replace flawed humanity with his New Race, people born and fermented in pods, their personalities programmed by him, their imperfections removed in the lab. But at least one of his creations has become a serial killer, trying to assemble the perfect woman from parts of many. Like expert plate-spinners, the authors set up a dizzying array of narrative viewpoints and cycle through them effortlessly. These include one of Victor's creations who suffers from autism and is trying to understand it; a cloned priest who serves as a clandestine member of Helios's army; Helios's custom-made wife, unique among his creations in that she's allowed to feel shame; and, tying it all together, a classic buddy-cop set of homicide detectives who slowly come to understand that the butcher they're chasing isn't quite human. The odd juxtaposition of a police procedural with a neo-gothic, mad scientist plot gives the novel a wickedly unusual and intriguing feel. The familiarity of the Frankenstein myth makes much of the story arc predictable, but it's still a compelling read, with an elegant cliffhanger ending. (Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Some 200 years after creating his monster, Victor Frankenstein, alias Helios, is settled in New Orleans. Continuing research and experimentation have allowed him to obviate robbing graveyards to fashion his creatures, and to enhance himself so that he indefinitely remains a vigorous fortysomething. He is seeding the city with his perfect (i.e., perfectly obedient to him) New Race, intending to eventually replace and exterminate "imperfect" humanity. Helios has been identified, however, and photos have been sent to Deucalion, in retreat at a Tibetan monastery, who hastens to see whether he can unmake his maker this time. Deucalion is Frankenstein's original monster, granted virtually indestructible longevity, he thinks, by the lightning that brought him to life. If Frankenstein has become monstrous, the monster has become human in the best sense, also cannier and more powerful. Unfortunately, with New Racers in mufti all over New Orleans, many more need to be gotten. Fortunately (as it happens), one New Racer is rebelling, murderously, and his killings overlap with those of a serial killer, bringing the attentions of homicide cops Carson O'Connor and Michael Maddison. And, known only to the reader, one of Frankenstein's new experiments is going awry, not to mention AWOL. With Anderson's help in this book (and Ed Gorman's in its continuation, coming this spring), Koontz realizes his original concept for a cable TV effort from which he withdrew. It was TV's loss, for, filmed utterly faithfully, Prodigal Son could be the best horror thriller and, hands down, would be the best Frankenstein movie, ever. Ray Olson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Customer Reviews

A must read for Dean Koontz fans.
This story will keep you on the edge of your seat and makes you want to read more.
Kindle Customer
You want to see what happens next, you feel for the people in is book.
Anita C. Skinner

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Eileen Rieback on June 4, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This novel brings a classic legend up to date by replacing Victor Frankenstein's previously crude monster creation techniques with biotech engineering, cloning, and computer programming. Victor has learned the secret of long life and is still alive and well in 21st century New Orleans. Now a respected scientist and wealthy member of high society by day, Victor practices his high-tech life creation projects by night in order to create perfect beings, totally obedient to his will. He seeds his creations throughout the city so that they can undermine, and eventually replace, humanity and lead to a perfect New Age society. In the meanwhile, Frankenstein's original monster, now called Deucalion, is also gifted with immortality. He learns of his creator's existence and sets off for New Orleans to seek revenge. When a series of gruesome murders occur where body parts are removed from the victims, two police detectives try to track down the killer. Is one of Frankenstein's creations to blame?

The portrayal of Frankenstein's creatures is especially interesting. Created with a carefully controlled blend of human emotion and programmed behavior, they are at times confused about their feelings. Sometimes their human component fights against their artificial one, with interesting results. In a clever turnabout, Victor Frankenstein is portrayed as a monster and Deucalion has evolved to show more human traits than his creator. At first I was amused by the fact that immortality has become a popular pursuit, and that others in the story besides Frankenstein and his creations are capable of prolonged lives and physical perfection. Yet the real-world popularity of plastic surgery, nutritional supplements, and health clubs does prove that art imitates life.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Bradley Dixon on April 17, 2007
Format: Paperback
Dean Koontz does and excellent job with his take on Mary Shelly's Frankenstein. The story takes place in modern day and Victor Frankenstein (now better known as Victor Helios)has been alive for centuries creating his super human "New Race" of people who he plans to one day control to wipe out man kind (the "Old Race")and create his vision of a more powerful productive world. Now it is up to Detectives O'Conner and Maddison with the help of Victores original monster who now goes by the name Deacullion to stop Victor and his New Race and save mankind.

This was a great book that was hard to put down. If you have the time its very easy to read in one sitting. It offers suspense, excitment and a bit of humor. Highly recomended for all Koontz fans.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By C. Price VINE VOICE on February 5, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Though a fan of Koontz, when I first saw the title of this book I was afraid it would be trite. But I was wrong. This is one of Koontz's best efforts in years. He does not rewrite the story of Frankenstein, rather, he builds on it.

It is the present day and Dr. Frankenstein is alive and well and continuing his efforts. His goal is more clarified. He is no tragic figure, but an evil man bent on building a race of perfect beings that will replace humanity. Over the two hundred years since the events portrayed in Mary Shelley's book (which, in an nice twist, is explained as a semi-historical account based on legends and hearsay), Dr. Frankenstein has amassed a fortune and a vast biotech empire. Through modern genetics and science, he no longer has to piece together his creations from dead humans. He grows them and programs them with directives and information. He and his creations bide their time, infiltrate humanity, and await the time to strike openly.

Opposing these efforts is Dr. Frakenstein's first creation. The Monster still lives, but has become more and more human while his creator has become less. Koontz and Anderson do a great job of portraying the monster as a suffering man, noble in spirit yet malformed in body. His path and mission cross paths with two homocide detectives on the trail of one of the New Race who has become a serial killer after he realizes that his programing and superior genetics has left him empty, missing something that humans seem to possess.

Koontz and Anderson's decision to place the story in New Orleans was a stroke of genius. They do a good job of capturing the mood of what is perhaps America's most foreign, haunted city. The food, the history, the music, the graveyards.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Jeremy on January 24, 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The story offers little by way of surprise. Yes, it's about Frankenstein. Yes, that Frankenstein. We learn that Viktor Frankenstein was a real person, not merely a figment of Mary Shelley's imagination. Two hundred years ago, he learned so much about the human body from his experiments that he succeeded in creating a semi-human being--the original Frankenstein monster. He also learned how to augment his own body in order to defy death.

Two hundred years later, Frankenstein is still alive and living under an alias in (pre-Hurricane Katrina) New Orleans, where he is still creating "new" humans in the hope of eventually repopulating the earth with his super-race, eliminating the "old" humans, and becoming the godlike ruler of the world.

His first creation is still around as well. He's given himself the name Deucalion (after the Noah-like ark builder of ancient Greek mythology) and has been living a life of seclusion in a Buddhist monastery in Asia. When Frankenstein created Deucalion, he hadn't yet learned the finer points of making his "new" people look exactly like the "old" humans, so Deucalion is horribly disfigured. He's shy, gentle, huge, ugly, and basically your all-around likeable 200-year-old nice giant.

When Deucalion learns that Frankenstein is still alive, he sets out for New Orleans to kill him before he can carry out his evil plans. Meanwhile, one of Frankenstein's new creations has gone haywire and begun a killing spree in the Big Easy. The cops are stymied by the mysterious case, and their problems are only compounded by the fact that unknown to them, one of the detectives working on the case is a member of Frankenstein's new race.
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