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Frankenstein: Prodigal Son

Frankenstein: Prodigal Son

4.2 397
by Dean Koontz, Kevin J. Anderson

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From the celebrated imagination of Dean Koontz comes a powerful reworking of one of the classic stories of all time. If you think you know the legend, you know only half the truth. Here is the mystery, the myth, the terror, and the magic of . . .

Every city has its secrets. But none as terrible as this. He is Deucalion, a tattooed man of mysterious origin, a


From the celebrated imagination of Dean Koontz comes a powerful reworking of one of the classic stories of all time. If you think you know the legend, you know only half the truth. Here is the mystery, the myth, the terror, and the magic of . . .

Every city has its secrets. But none as terrible as this. He is Deucalion, a tattooed man of mysterious origin, a sleight-of-reality artist who has traveled the centuries with a secret worse than death. He arrives in New Orleans as a serial killer stalks the streets, a killer who carefully selects his victims for the humanity that is missing in himself. Deucalion’s path will lead him to cool, tough police detective Carson O’Connor and her devoted partner, Michael Maddison, who are tracking the slayer but will soon discover signs of something far more terrifying: an entire race of killers who are much more–and less–than human and, deadliest of all, their deranged, near-immortal maker: Victor Helios–once known as Frankenstein.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Koontz is a superb plotter and wordsmith. He chronicles the hopes and fears of our time in broad strokes and fine detail, using popular fiction to explore the human condition [and] demonstrating that the real horror of life is found not in monsters, but within the human psyche.”—USA Today

"A compelling read.... The odd juxtaposition of a police procedural with a neo-gothic, mad scientist plot gives the novel a wickedly unusual and intriguing feel ... with an elegant cliffhanger ending."—Publishers Weekly

"This is classic Koontz at his best. The plot zips along, the characters are grotesque and funny. The basic elements of Mary Shelley's novel, though slightly altered, fit right in."—Fangoria

“One of the master storytellers of this or any age.”—Tampa Tribune

The Barnes & Noble Review
Dean Koontz's Frankenstein -- the author's first literary series -- is a nightmare-inspiring, modern-day retelling of Mary Shelley's 1818 horror classic. Coauthored with Kevin J. Anderson, the first installment in this four-volume saga pits a reanimated giant and two tenacious police detectives against the demented scientist who created him.

It's no surprise that Deucalion, at almost seven feet tall and with half his face a mangled ruin, spent time as a European carnie sideshow attraction nicknamed the Monster. After enjoying several peaceful years at a monastery in Tibet, the introspective and enigmatic giant receives dire news: The man who created him centuries earlier, Victor Frankenstein, is inexplicably alive and living in New Orleans under the name of Victor Helios, a wealthy business owner and philanthropist. When Deucalion vows to leave his Tibetan sanctuary and destroy the man who created him, he soon realizes the critical magnitude of his mission -- Helios is in the process is secretly creating a new race of posthumans to take over the world!

As is par for the course in many fiction sagas, readers should be prepared for a cliff-hanger of monumental proportions at the conclusion of Prodigal Son. Koontz and Anderson, however, masterfully set the table for a virtual feast of hideous twists and turns, nightmarish monstrosities, and nonstop action in upcoming installments. Dean Koontz's Frankenstein, in which a man transforms himself into a monster and a monster learns what it's like to be human, is an absolutely brilliant rendition of the Shelley classic -- a horror tour de force. Paul Goat Allen

Originally published as a novel in 2004, Dean Koontz's Prodigal Son became the launch volume of a trilogy that continue to win readers with its astonishing retake on the archetypal Frankenstein story. This fully authorized graphic novel renders Koontz's story in all its violence and nail-biting suspense. Nobody apparently could be happier with the results than the novelist himself: "I had approval of script and art," he told an interviewer, "but everything sent to me was done with such thoughtfulness and such a high design sense that I had to give very little feedback at all." Riveting visuals.
Publishers Weekly

Based directly on the bestselling novel by Koontz and Kevin J. Anderson, this exuberantly gruesome comic adaptation draws some themes from Mary Shelly's 1818 original but also many images from horror movies, including contemporary slasher flicks. Deucalion, the first "Frankenstein's monster," is summoned from meditation in a Tibetan monastery by news that Victor Frankenstein, aka "Helios," is alive and thriving in New Orleans. Although Victor poses as a philanthropist, he actually is creating hoards of genetic slaves in an abandoned hospital. His control over his creations is slipping, however, and one has become a bloody serial killer, convinced that he can find what it takes to be human if he looks inside enough people. As this installment concludes, a tough female police detective is beginning to believe Deucalion's story, while the violence increases. Booth's vigorous layout and pencils do an admirable job of keeping characters and action clear. Dixon's adaptation also effectively uses Koontz's greatest skill, his breakneck thriller plotting, so that the story races from one ghastly shock to the next. (Feb.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal
More than 200 years after the creation of his first monster, Victor Frankenstein, a.k.a. Victor Helios, is in New Orleans, manufacturing an army of creatures intended to take over the world. No longer bumbling giants cobbled together from cadavers, the new, improved race is biologically developed, intellectually programmed to follow orders, and externally indistinguishable from humans. A priest seeks a soul, a policeman finds he can murder, an autistic teen looks for happiness, and Victor's wife discovers she can lie. In the midst of this chaos, the original monster, 200-year-old Deucalion, bent on revenge against his creator, arrives in New Orleans to put an end to the experiments. Koontz and Anderson create well-rounded characters, then add plenty of suspense and action in a fast-paced plot. Scott Brick reads with his usual excellence; recommended for all fiction collections that include dark fantasy.-Janet Martin, FirstHealth of the Carolinas, Pinehurst, NC Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
Gr 10 Up—Detective O'Connor manages to look seductive and tragic while snacking in parking lots and blindly following the trail of New Orleans's most gruesome murderer. She and her partner, the slightly lackluster Michael Maddison, have discovered corpse after corpse throughout the city, each missing limbs or organs. Meanwhile, life seems easy for Victor Helios, scientist and technology mogul who lives in the lap of Southern luxury with an army of servants and a spouse to rival the most astonishing of Stepford wives. Strangely though, his company, Helios Biovision, housed in the crumbling Hands of Mercy Hospital, features bricked windows, security cameras, steel doors, and a staff that never sees the light of day. Based on the novel by Kevin J. Anderson and Dean Koontz, this graphic novel is one of the more compelling in the recent trend of "classic" adaptations. The story, though familiar, is packed with a satisfying blend of sinister twists and modern supporting characters. Booth's art has enough intensity and detailed creepiness to make any reader squirm. The eyes of the characters convey a sense of doom and inhumanness that adeptly mirror the philosophical darkness of the plotline. Blending questions of the human condition, justice, and revenge with a healthy smattering of gore, this first volume is sure to be snatched up by teens.—Shannon Peterson, Kitsap Regional Library, WA

Product Details

Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
Dean Koontz's Frankenstein Series , #1
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
4.18(w) x 7.56(h) x 1.15(d)
Age Range:
14 - 18 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Deucalion seldom slept, but when he did, he dreamed. Every dream was a nightmare. None frightened him. He was the spawn of nightmares, after all; and he had been toughened by a life of terror.

During the afternoon, napping in his simple cell, he dreamed that a surgeon opened his abdomen to insert a mysterious, squirming mass. Awake but manacled to the surgical table, Deucalion could only endure the procedure.

After he had been sewn shut, he felt something crawling inside his body cavity, as though curious, exploring.
From behind his mask, the surgeon said, “A messenger approaches. Life changes with a letter.”

He woke from the dream and knew that it had been prophetic. He possessed no psychic power of a classic nature, but sometimes omens came in his sleep.

In these mountains of tibet, a fiery sunset conjured a mirage of molten gold from the glaciers and the snowfields. A serrated blade of Himalayan peaks, with Everest at its hilt, cut the sky.

Far from civilization, this vast panorama soothed Deucalion. For several years, he had preferred to avoid people, except for Buddhist monks in this windswept rooftop of the world.

Although he had not killed for a long time, he still harbored the capacity for homicidal fury. Here he strove always to suppress his darker urges, sought calm, and hoped to find true peace.

From an open stone balcony of the whitewashed monastery, as he gazed at the sun-splashed ice pack, he considered, not for the first time, that these two elements, fire and ice, defined his life.

At his side, an elderly monk, Nebo, asked, “Are you looking at the mountains—or beyond them, to what you left behind?”

Although Deucalion had learned to speak several Tibetan dialects during his lengthy sojourn here, he and the old monk often spoke English, for it afforded them privacy.

“I don’t miss much of that world. The sea. The sound of shore birds. A few friends. Cheez-Its.”

“Cheeses? We have cheese here.”

Deucalion smiled and pronounced the word more clearly than he’d done previously. “Cheez-Its are cheddar-flavored crackers. Here in this monastery we seek enlightenment, meaning, purpose . . . God. Yet often the humblest things of daily life, the small pleasures, seem to define existence for me. I’m afraid I’m a shallow student, Nebo.”

Pulling his wool robe closer about himself as wintry breezes bit, Nebo said, “To the contrary. Never have I had one less shallow than you. Just hearing about Cheez-Its, I myself am intrigued.”

A voluminous wool robe covered Deucalion’s scarred patchwork body, though even the harshest cold rarely bothered him.
The mandala-shaped Rombuk monastery—an architectural wonder of brick walls, soaring towers, and graceful roofs—clung precariously to a barren mountainside: imposing, majestic, hidden from the world. Waterfalls of steps spilled down the sides of the square towers, to the base of the main levels, granting access to interior courtyards.

Brilliant yellow, white, red, green, and blue prayer flags, representing the elements, flapped in the breeze. Carefully written sutras adorned the flags, so that each time the fabric waved in the wind, a prayer was symbolically sent in the direction of Heaven.

Despite Deucalion’s size and strange appearance, the monks had accepted him. He absorbed their teaching and filtered it through his singular experience. In time, they had come to him with philosophical questions, seeking his unique perspective.

They didn’t know who he was, but they understood intuitively that he was no normal man.

Deucalion stood for a long time without speaking. Nebo waited beside him. Time had little meaning in the clockless world of the monks, and after two hundred years of life, with perhaps more than that ahead of him, Deucalion often lived with no awareness of time.

Prayer wheels clicked, stirred by breezes. In a call to sunset prayer, one monk stood in the window of a high tower, blowing on a shell trumpet. Deep inside the monastery, chants began to resonate through the cold stone.

Deucalion stared down into the canyons full of purple twilight, east of the monastery. From some of Rombuk’s windows, one might fall more than a thousand feet to the rocks.

Out of that gloaming, a distant figure approached.
“A messenger,” he said. “The surgeon in the dream spoke truth.”
The old monk could not at first see the visitor. His eyes, the color of vinegar, seemed to have been faded by the unfiltered sun of extreme altitude. Then they widened. “We must meet him at the gates.”

Salamanders of torchlight crawled the ironbound beams of the main gate and the surrounding brick walls.
Just inside the gates, standing in the open-air outer ward, the messenger regarded Deucalion with awe. “Yeti,” he whispered, which was the name that the Sherpas had coined for the abominable snowman.

Words escaping him on plumes of frosted breath, Nebo said, “Is it custom now to precede a message with a rude remark?”

Having once been pursued like a beast, having lived two hundred years as the ultimate outsider, Deucalion was inoculated against all meanness. He was incapable of taking offense.

“Were I a yeti,” he said, speaking in the messenger’s language, “I might be as tall as this.” He stood six feet six. “I might be muscled this solidly. But I would be much hairier, don’t you think?”

“I . . . I suppose so.”

“A yeti never shaves.” Leaning close, as if imparting a secret, Deucalion said, “Under all that hair, a yeti has very sensitive skin. Pink, soft . . . quick to take a rash from a razor blade.”

Summoning courage, the messenger asked, “Then what are you?”

“Big Foot,” Deucalion said in English, and Nebo laughed, but the messenger did not understand.
Made nervous by the monk’s laughter, shivering not only because of the icy air, the young man held out a scuffed goatskin packet knotted tightly with a leather thong. “Here. Inside. For you.”

Deucalion curled one powerful finger around the leather thong, snapped it, and unfolded the goatskin wrapping to reveal an envelope inside, a wrinkled and stained letter long in transit.

The return address was in New Orleans. The name was that of an old and trusted friend, Ben Jonas.

Still glancing surreptitiously and nervously at the ravaged half of Deucalion’s face, the messenger evidently decided that the company of a yeti would be preferable to a return trip in darkness through the bitter-cold mountain pass. “May I have shelter for the night?”

“Anyone who comes to these gates,” Nebo assured him, “may have whatever he needs. If we had them, I would even give you Cheez-Its.”

From the outer ward, they ascended the stone ramp through the inner gate. Two young monks with lanterns arrived as if in answer to a telepathic summons to escort the messenger to guest quarters.

In the candlelit reception hall, in an alcove that smelled of sandalwood and incense, Deucalion read the letter. Ben’s handwritten words conveyed a momentous message in neatly penned blue ink.

Meet the Author

Dean Koontz, the author of many #1 New York Times bestsellers, lives with his wife, Gerda, and the enduring spirit of their golden retriever, Trixie, in southern California.

Brief Biography

Newport Beach, California
Date of Birth:
July 9, 1945
Place of Birth:
Everett, Pennsylvania
B.S. (major in English), Shippensburg University, 1966

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Frankenstein 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 397 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Fantastic first book to this series. I was poring through the pages as fast as I could. It was a phenomenal book. I give it an A+ all the way around.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book surprised me in that I thought it would be a lot different from what it is. It is WAY better than even the original Frankenstein. If you like Mr. Koontz then you'll love this book. You'll love it even if you've never read any of his books...Highly Recommended!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I can't wait for the third book. Never put it down. One of his best.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Not usually a fan of these type books, but I have to say, I could not put it down until the very last page. So...I rushed right out to buy Book Two and gobbled it up in no time at all....and, I'm STILL waiting for Book Three. What's the hold-up??
Guest More than 1 year ago
what a great book! It was entertaining, suspenseful, a bit funny, just great! Praises to Koontz. I look forward to reading book 2.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Dean Koontz puts a novel twist on the story of Frankenstein's monster. It was very interesting to place Dr. Frankenstein and his monster in modern times. The basic plot of the story is a little far fetched yet a very fun read. The Dr. is definitely evil in pursuit of the perfect world. It will be interesting to read the rest of the series to see if "the monster" plays the role of the hero. I really liked the rapport between the New Orleans detectives. This story line is a little different than most of Koontz's work, but still a very worthy read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loooooved this book. I read it in about two days. But I know that when these big authors (clive cussler, james patterson, dean koontz) write a book with a co-author that the co-author is doing most of the work. One of Clive Cussler's co-authors (Jack Dubrul) is a friend of a friend so I have it on pretty good authority that Koontz probably didn't have much to do with this book beyond the concept. But I still highly recommend it
BER1 More than 1 year ago
I would highly recommend this book.
Cica_1984 More than 1 year ago
Of course I have to start off by saying Dean Koontz is awesome. As always this book really pulled me in. This is a good twist on the classic Mary Shelley Frankenstein. I can't wait to pick up the 2nd book in the series.
ybtone More than 1 year ago
I have never in my life wanted a book to come out so badly as I do with the third installment of Dean Koontz Frankenstein series. I've read both books one and two twice and they are now one giant story in my mind so i will try to stick with just book one for this review. When I originally read that this was going to be about Frankenstein in modern day North America helping out with crime I laughed. I thought of cheesy movies like Robocop and shook my head. But I gave it a shot anyways because if nothing else it would be different from what I had read, (at that time only King novels). On that assumption I was correct, on the cheesy Robocop analogy...I was dead wrong. The characters are all likable or loathsome and some are downright sympathetic, even some of the monsters. The plot was not Frankenstein dressed in Louisianan PD Blues running around shooting and maiming perps either. Duchaleon (Frankensteins new name, pardon my spelling)receives word that someone close to him in the freak show circuit has passed and his creator Victor Frankenstein is still alive and looking the same as the day he created Duchaleon living under the alias Victor Helios. Duchaleon makes his way to Louisiana and ends up entangled in two police officers hunt for a serial killer who is amputating and collecting singular body parts from women. The two cops are both excellent characters, one male, and one female, the male is a sarcastic guy and adds needed comic relief throughout and the female cop is very rough and tumble (in the mold of Deb from Showtime's Dexter). The story is not entirely about a serial killer and the three's hunt for him or her. The book and sequel are a multi-layered story that really grabs hold of you and never lets go. The read is so enjoyable that it reads like an epic movie. You really wont want to put it down. I recommend that if you are considering getting this book or the audio version (which is also excellent btw) that you pick up its companion book, Dean Koontz Frankenstein: City of Night as you will want to read it right away.
phantomreview More than 1 year ago
excellent take on the frankenstein theme! makes for great reading and you know when it ends there has to be a sequel. characters are superbly wellrounded in there strangeness. the good doctor in this book envisions a world i would not like to live in.......
Guest More than 1 year ago
Dean Koontz's Frankenstein is a modern day update of the classic novel. The story and pacing are good, and the characters are rich. The only bad thing is this is book one of three, and three has been pushed back multiple times, so you will have to wait for the conclusion.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have a few of Dean Koontz's books and this book was pretty good. It was nothing to write home about, and not the best one I have read, but it had a decent plot. It was interesting to read about what 'really' happened to Frankenstein and his monster. I recomend this book if you just want to take time out of your life to sit down and read a good thriller.
Guest More than 1 year ago
For a book which started out as an idea for a TV series, this is really an intriguing take on Mary Shelley's now-famous story which I have so far throughly enjoyed. That being said, I have to remark how unclear I am on just how this book is suposed to fit in with Mary Shelley's universe. It would seem at first (especially from the synopses) that it is merely a continuation of the same story (just 200 years later), but the text would seem to suggest that these characters are actually part of Mary Shelley's world (and ours) as well as fictional characters in her book. I was also intrigued by the use of the names 'Jonathan Harker' and 'Dwight Frye' for the names of two of the other police officers considering the fact that the former is the name of one of the main characters in Bram Stoker's 'Dracula' and the latter is the name of the actor who played both Igor in the most-famous movie version of 'Frankenstein' (with Boris Karloff) and Renfield in the most famous movie version of 'Dracula' (with Bela Lugosi). More interesting then that is the fact that the two police detectives (O'Connor and Maddison) don't seem to notce this significance in spite of their clear familiarity with the appropriate pop culture. I am also surprised at how very stupid Victor Helios seems to be for being such a bio-technology genius (but I guess the bad guy always have to have some fatal character flaw). In any case, a very entertaining and very engrossing story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Koontz and Anderson have taken an old tale and put a delightful twist on the plot.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Will be posted
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Walked in with Fern, a broad smile across her face.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She whimpered and then started to turn and pad away singing " There a stranger in my bed. There is a party in my head. Glitter all over the room. Pink flamingos in the pool. This is like mini bar. Dj pasted out in the yard. Barbies on the barbeque. Is this a freckle or brouse? Pictures up last night ended online. We're screwed. Oh well. Its a blacked out blurr but im pretty sure it ruled. Da*m. LAST FRIDAY NIGHT!! Yah we danced on table tops. And we took to many shots. Think we kissed but i forgot. LAST FRIDAY NIGHT!! Yah we maxed our credit cards. Ended kicked out of the bar. So we hit the pool at ours. LAST FRIDAY NIGHT!! We were drinking in the park. Skinny dipping in the dark. Then met up at metric park. LAST FRIDAY NIGHT!! Yah i think we broke the law. Allways say we're gonna stop. Owao!!!!" Her voice trailed off as she walked back to camp.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"Hello, Get OUT or Get HURT."
Jenrae More than 1 year ago
Just interesting enough to keep me reading.  Not much *wow factor* and no big reveal at the end.  That said, I want to find out what happens next so I will keep reading.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
He cheered up. [Thats probably true]
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a fresh take on frankenstein that mixes modern science, eastern philosophy, and the supernatural. Although i really like the Odd Thomas series, i couldnget into the writing of this one. I found the pace plodding and in many cases unfocused. I'm sure Koontz is settimg up storylines for the other books in the series, i just fiund it distracting. It took me about a month to get through this mostly because of the time between sessions, i didnt want to pick it up
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She nodded, then decided to use her pelt color and size as a hunting use. She crouched on a spot with no leaved or moss, and her spots looked like sun filtering through the trees. A rabbit hopped over, sniffing at a nearby clump of clover. She pounced, sinking her claws into its throat. It died. She lugged it along, her prey to big for her to carry, and went back to camp.