Frankenstein: Lost Soulsby Dean Koontz, Laural Merlington, Christopher Lane
In Frankenstein: Lost Souls, Dean Koontz puts a singular twist on this classic tale of ambition and science gone wrong, to forge a new legend uniquely suited to our times. It is a story of revenge, redemption, and the thin line that separates human from inhuman.
The work of creation has begun again. Victor Leben, once Frankenstein, has seen the future/i>
In Frankenstein: Lost Souls, Dean Koontz puts a singular twist on this classic tale of ambition and science gone wrong, to forge a new legend uniquely suited to our times. It is a story of revenge, redemption, and the thin line that separates human from inhuman.
The work of creation has begun again. Victor Leben, once Frankenstein, has seen the future and he’s ready to populate it. Using stem cells, “organic” silicon circuitry, and nanotechnology, he will engender a race of superhumansthe perfect melding of flesh and machine. With a powerful, enigmatic backer and a secret location where the enemies of progress can’t find him, Victor is certain that this time nothing can stop him.
It is up to five people to prove him wrong.
In their hands rests nothing less than the survival of humanity itself. They are drawn together in different ways, by omens sinister and wondrous, to the same shattering conclusion: Two years after they saw him die, the man they knew as Victor Helios lives on. As they gather at a small Montana town, old alliances will be renewed and tested, from within and without, for the dangers they face will eclipse any they have yet encountered. Yet in the midst of their peril, love will blossom, and joy, and they will discover sources of strength and perseverance they have not imagined.
They will need them, for a monumental battle is about to commence that will require all their ingenuity and courage, as it defines what we are to be…and if we are to be at all.
Read an Excerpt
The October wind came down from the stars. With the hiss of an artist's airbrush, it seemed to blow the pale moonlight like a mist of paint across the slate roofs of the church and abbey, across the higher windows, and down the limestone walls. Where patchesof lawn were bleached by recent cold, the dead grass resembled ice in the lunar chill. At two o'clock in the morning, Deucalion walked the perimeter of the seven-acre property, following the edge of the encircling forest. He needed no lamplight to guide him; and he would have needed none even deep in the blackness of the mountain woods.
From time to time, he heard sounds of unknown origin issuing from among the towering pines, but they inspired no anxiety. He carried no weapon because he feared nothing in the forest, nothing in the night, nothing on Earth. Although he was unusually tall, muscled, and powerful, his physical strength was not the source of his confidence and fortitude.
He went downhill, past St. Bartholomew's School, where orphans with physical and developmental disabilities flew in their sleep, while Benedictine nuns watched over them. According to Sister Angela, the mother superior, the most commonly reported dreamof her young charges was of flying under their own power, high above the school, the abbey, the church, the forest.
Most of the windows were dark, although lights glowed in Sister Angela's office on the ground floor. Deucalion considered consulting her, but she didn't know the full truth of him, which she would need to know in order to understand his problem.
Centuries old but young in spirit, born not of man and woman, but instead constructed from the bodies of dead felons and animated by strange lightning, Deucalion was most at home in monasteries. As the firstand, he believed, the sole survivingcreationof Victor Frankenstein, he belonged nowhere in this world, yet he did not feel like an outsider at St. Bartholomew's Abbey. Previously, he had been comfortable as a visitor in French, Italian, Spanish, Peruvian, and Tibetan monasteries.
He'd left his quarters in the guest wing because he was plagued by a suspicion that seemed irrational but that he couldn't shake. He hoped that a walk in the cool mountain air would clear his troubled mind.
By the time Deucalion circled the property and arrived at the entrance to the abbey church, he understood that his suspicion arose not from deductive reasoning but instead from intuition. He was wise enough and sufficiently experienced to know that intuitionwas the highest form of knowledge and should never be ignored.
Without passing through the door, he stepped out of the night and into the narthex of the church.
At the entrance to the nave, he dared to dip two fingers in the font, make the sign of the cross, and invoke the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. His existence was a blasphemy, a challenge to sacred order, because his makera mere mortalhad beenin rebellion against the divine and against all natural law. Yet Deucalion had reason to hope that he was not just a thing of meat and bone, that his ultimate fate might not be oblivion.
Without walking the length of the center aisle, he went from the threshold of the nave to the distant sanctuary railing.
The church lay mostly in shadows, brightened only by a sanctuary light focused on the crucifix towering over the altar and by votive candles flickering in crimson-glass cups.
As Deucalion appeared at the railing, he realized that another shared the church with him. Glimpsing movement from the corner of his eye, he turned to see a monk rising from the first pew.
At five feet seven and two hundred pounds, Brother Salvatore was less fat than solid, as an automobile compacted into a cube by a hydraulic press was solid. He looked as if bullets would ricochet off him.
The hard angles and blunt edges of Salvatore's face might have given him a threatening aspect in his youth, when he lived outside the law. But sixteen years in the monastery, years of remorse and contrition, softened his once-cold gray gaze with kindnessand reshaped his smile from brutish to beatific.
At the abbey, he was Deucalion's closest friend.
His large hands, holding a rosary, seemed to be all knuckles, which is what his associates had called him in his former life. Here at St. Bartholomew's, he was affectionately known as Brother Knuckles.
"Who was it they said murdered sleep?" Knuckles asked.
"I figured you'd know."
Perhaps because he was born from the dead, Deucalion lacked the daily need for sleep that was a trait of those born from the living. On the rare nights when he slept, he always dreamed.
Brother Knuckles knew the truth of Deucalion: his origin in a laboratory, his animation by lightning, his early crimes, and his quest for redemption. The monk knew, as well, that during Deucalion's sleepless nights, he usually occupied himself with books.In his two centuries, he had read and reread more volumes than were contained in all but the largest of the world's libraries.
"With me it ain't Macbeth. It's memory," said the monk. "Memory is pure caffeine."
"You've received absolution for your past."
"That don't mean the past didn't happen."
"Memories aren't rags that come clean with enough wringing."
"Guess I'll spend the rest of my life wringing them anyway. What brings you here?"
Raising one hand to trace the contours of the ruined half of his once handsome face, Deucalion murmured, "He is risen."
Looking at the crucifix, the monk said, "That ain't exactly news, my friend."
"I refer to my maker, not yours."
That name seemed to echo across the vaulted ceiling as no other words had echoed.
"Victor Helios, as he most recently called himself. I saw him die. But he lives again. Somehow . . . he lives."
"How do you know?"
Deucalion said, "How do you know the most important thing you know?"
Glancing again at the crucifix, the monk said, "By the light of revelation."
"There is no light in my revelation. It's a dark tide in my blooddark, cold, thick, and insistent, telling me He's alive."
Erskine Potter, the future mayor of Rainbow Falls, Montana, walked slowly around the dark kitchen, navigating by the green glow of the digital clocks in the two ovens.
The clock in the upper oven read 2:14, and the clock in the lower oven displayed 2:11, as if time flowed more languidly nearer the floor than nearer the ceiling.
Being a perfectionist, Potter wanted to reset both clocks to 2:16, which was the correct time. Time must be treated with respect. Time was the lubricant that allowed the mechanism of the universe to function smoothly.
As soon as he finished his current task, he would synchronize every clock in the residence. He must ensure that the house remained in harmony with the universe.
Henceforth, he would monitor the clocks twice daily to determine if they were losing time. If the problem wasn't human error, Potter would disassemble the clocks and rebuild them.
As he circled the kitchen, he slid his hand across the cool granite countertopsand frowned when he encountered a scattering of crisp crumbs. They stuck to his palm.
He brought his palm to his nose and smelled the crumbs. Wheat flour, soybean oil, palm oil, skim-milk cheese, salt, paprika, yeast, soy lecithin.
When he licked the tasty debris from his palm, he confirmed his analysis: Cheez-It crumbs.
He liked Cheez-Its. But he didn't like crumbs being left on kitchen counters. This was unacceptable.
At the gas cooktop, he lifted one of the burner grates, set it aside, hesitated, and wiped his fingertips over the stainless-steel drip pan. Grease.
Erskine Potter believed in cleaning a cooktop after each use, not just once or twice a week. A tool or a machine, or a system, would function better and last longer if it was clean and properly maintained.
In the sink, he found dishes waiting to be washed: plates, bowls, flatware standing in drinking glasses. At least everything seemed to have been rinsed.
He hesitated to look in the refrigerator, concerned that what he found might make him angry. Anger would make him less focused and less efficient.
Focus and efficiency were important principles. Few people in the world were focused and efficient. For the good of the planet, the unfocused and inefficient needed to be killed.
As the mayor of Rainbow Falls, Montana, he would never be in a position of sufficient power to exterminate millions of people, but he would do his small part. Regardless of the scope of his authority and the size of his assignment, each member of the Communitywitha capital Cwas as valuable as any other.
Absolute equality was an important principle.
The embrace of cold reason and the rejection of sentimentality was another important principle.
Unfailing cooperation with others of the Community was an important principle, too, as was keeping their existence secret from ordinary men and women.
There were other important principles, as well, but none was more important than any other. When no hierarchy of values existed, making decisions became easy. Confronted with any problem, snared in any difficult situation, Erskine Potterlike any memberof the Communityjust did the most efficient thing, took the most direct action, and was confident that what he had done was right.
The only morality was efficiency. The only immorality was inefficiency. Testing his self-control, risking anger, Mayor Potter opened the refrigerator. What a mess.
Jars of olives and pickles stood on the same door shelf as a squeeze-bottle of chocolate syrup. Capers, mustard, ketchup, and salsawhich logically should have been with the olives and picklesrested instead on a shelf with a pressurized can of whippedcream and a jar of maraschino cherries, which obviously belonged with the chocolate syrup. The items on the primary shelves were stored in an unspeakably disordered fashion.
Appalled, Potter hissed between clenched teeth. Although displeased, even indignant, he would not allow himself to be angry.
Determined to proceed briskly with the task at hand, he closed the refrigerator door.
Faint footsteps crossed the room above. Potter heard someone descending the front stairs.
Beyond the kitchen, the hallway brightened. A cut-crystal fixture on the ceiling cast geometric patterns of light across the walls and floor, as if reality were fracturing.
Erskine Potter did not flee. He did not hide. He remained by the refrigerator, waiting. A silhouette appeared in the doorway. In the kitchen, from the overhead fluorescents, cool light suddenly fell through the air.
Wearing pajamas and slippers, evidently seeking a late-night snack, the current mayor of Rainbow Falls, Montana, entered the kitchen. Five feet ten, a hundred eighty pounds, fifty-two years old, with brown hair and a sweet round face, the son of Lorettaand Gavin Potter, his name was Erskine.
The current Mayor Potter halted in stunned disbelief when he saw his duplicate.
The future Mayor Potter said, "Erskine. My dear brother, I've been searching for you half my life."
This was a lie. Loretta and Gavin Potter weren't the intruder's parents. He had no mother or father. He had never been born. Instead, he was grown to maturity in mere months, programmed, and extruded.
He pretended to be the current Mayor Potter's twin only because the claim would confuse and briefly disarm his prey. As he talked, he moved, opening his arms as if to embrace his long-lost sibling. He gripped the mayor, drove a knee viciously into his crotch, and pinned him in a corner beside the double ovens with the incorrect clocks.
From under his jacket, he withdrew a pistol-like device. He pressed the muzzle to the mayor's left temple and pulled the trigger.
Instead of a bullet, the gun fired a needle that pierced the skull and penetrated the brain to a precise depth. Instantly, the mayor stopped convulsing around his crushed testicles, stopped gasping for breath. His eyes were as wide as the eyes of a child struck by wonder.
Because the needle chemically cauterized the tissue that it pierced, the victim did not bleed.
Like a nail, the needle had a head. It was not flat but rounded, resembling the head of a decorative upholstery tack. The round form looked like a silvery beetle clinging to the mayor's temple. The needle was a probe, and the head contained an abundance of electronics, intricate nanocircuitry.
The intruder led the docile mayor to the kitchen table, pulled out a chair, and said, "Sit."
When the mayor settled in the chair, hands palms-up in his lap, the intruder went to the back door and opened it. The woman and the girl entered from the porch. Nancy Potter was forty-four, attractive, with shaggy blond hair. The daughter, Ariel, was fourteen. In fact, they were replicants of the real Nancy and Ariel: grown, programmed, and extruded nine days previously.
Nancy quietly closed the back door. Ariel swept the kitchen with her gaze, then stared at the ceiling. Nancy focused on the ceiling, too, and then she and Ariel exchanged a glance.
As the replicant of Erskine Potter watched, the woman and the girl proceeded quietly out of the kitchen, into the hallway, toward the front stairs. He liked the way they moved, their swift grace and supreme efficiency. They were his kind of people.
He sat across the table from the real Erskine Potter, pointed the pistol at him, and pulled the trigger. The device contained only one round. The second shot was a telemetric command that switched on the embedded needle's electronics, initiating transmissionto a processing-and-storage module in the replicant's brain.
Although the intruder remained aware of the kitchen, through his mind raced images extracted from the mayor's gray matter, torrents of them, most of them connected and serial. Others were disconnected flashes, moments from a life.
With the images came data: names, places, experiences, scraps of dialogue, fears and hopes. He was downloading the mayor's memories with all the distortions and the discontinuities that were a part of recollections.
At the end of this session, the intruder would be able to pass for the real Erskine Potter among even the mayor's closest friends. He would recognize everyone in Potter's life and be able to draw upon rich remembrances of each person.
The ninety-minute download left him with the need to pee. He did not know why this should be the case, but it was very much the case, and he barely made it to the half bath, off the downstairs hall, without wetting himself.
When the newand much relievedmayor returned to the kitchen, the former mayor still sat at the table, of course, hands palms-up in his lap, looking startled, unmoving except that his lips appeared to be continuously forming words that he didn't vocalize.
The new mayor washed the dishes in the sink and put them away. He reorganized the contents of the refrigerator. He disposed of some moldy cheese and a pint of cream ten days past its expiration date.
The time was 4:08:24 a.m. His program included an awareness of time to the precise second, an internal thousand-year clock that made timepieces and calendars superfluous.
Before he could adjust the oven clocks, the new Nancy and the new Ariel returned from upstairs. Behind them shambled the real Nancy and Ariel, barefoot and in pajamas, small silver scarabs bright on their left temples.
From outside came the sound of an approaching truck, no more than a minute ahead of schedule.
Meet the Author
The books of Dean Koontz are published in 38 languages, and worldwide sales top 400 million copies. Eleven of his novels have risen to number one on the New York Times hardcover bestseller list, and several have been adapted into feature films and TV miniseries. Dean and Gerda Koontz live in southern California with their golden retriever, Anna, grand-niece of the famous and beloved Trixie.
- 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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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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Imagine yourself going to see a play (and not even a very good play), only to be ushered out of the theater in the middle of the second act. Then you're told that you'll have to pay the full ticket price again to see he second half of the play. To top that off, you may have to wait a full year to see the rest! I have bought and read every book ever published by Mr. Koontz, but that's one habit I plan to break. I have never felt so cheated by any author as I did by this one. As I approached the final 50 pages, or so, I kept wondering how this story would be wrapped up in so little time. You can imagine my shock when I got to the final page and nothing was wrapped up and the whole story line was just left hanging! This book was nothing less than an appalling waste of my time and money. I won't even bother commenting on the storyline. It was just too farfetched even by Dean Koontz's standards. If you've already bought this book, you have my sympathies. If you haven't, DON'T BOTHER! Only a masochist could enjoy this read.
I feel like I was only given half a book after paying for the whole thing. I read this on my nook in 2 short days of reading while on vacation. The whole book leads up to a confrontation, then abruptly ends. It seems to be a short 290 page preamble to the next book, not a story on its own. I enjoy this series, but this is ridiculous!
I have been a hard and fast Koontz fan for over 25 years, but the last 5 of those have been rather hard to hang on to. It isn't just this book that has the problem of leading up to...........NOWHERE!! I remember one, can't recall the title (that's sad for a Koontz book!), where our hero is snowbound in a ?monastery?, ice creatures coming out of the snow!, save the children!, it all built to be a great thrill! Then just DUDS with a man in the basement controlling everything. That's how I felt with this. My hopes and excitement level were high when I saw this book released, went into "Oh No" mode when I saw the reviews, then being the fan that I am, I bought it anyway and was horribly, HORRIBLY disappointed, again! Mr. Koontz, PPPLLLLEEEAAASSSEEEEE go back to writing books like "Watchers", "Twilight Eyes", "Night Chills", "The Vision","Whispers", "Door to December", etc...There are lists and lists of great, fantastic books you've written. Why, oh WHY, have you taken this route to a dead town in the middle of nowhere? WHAT has happened to you? I WANT YOU BACK!! Please, dig deep inside and find that writer from the 70's and 80's that thrilled so many of us. I couldn't read them fast enough, I read them over and over, I passed them on to my children!! Now, I have nothing for anyone, except to say....."I don't know what happened to him". A stroke maybe? Mayhap the wonderful, exciting, imaginative side of his brain died. Maybe he just got tired. But Mr. Koontz needs to quit leading his fans on with any more wasted words, and either stop writing, just call it quits, say you had a good run; or find out where the old you went, dredge him up from wherever he is deeply buried, and let him loose on us all once more! I mourn the loss of your wonderful stories and have moved on to look for that next, new, wonderful talent, because yours has expired. I'll say a few sad words over this dead book, bury it and forget it as fast as I can.
Looking back on the third book of this installment (Frankenstein), the ending was a let down, not to mention the book. I was thrilled that book 4 was coming out. What a disappointment. I found the writing more of an elementary style, not for an adult. We know the characters well from the last books, but we don't need a whole book telling of a town being taken over by Victor's clone. Book 5 (which is coming out in spring of next year) should be with book 4. The price wasn't worth the hardcover book with nothing much to read inside. Seeing I collect all his books, we need to see his writing back up to par. I do not recommend this book to anyone. Phyllis
Glad to see it wasn't just me. This book will definitely be my last of the author's works. This is actually the fourth of a trilogy. Yes, you read that correctly. He initially announced three books based on the Victor Frankenstein / Deucalion characters. I devoured the first two only to learn the announced schedule for the third release would be ignored. It was some year, or more, overdue when finally released. Now Lost Souls, the fourth of the trilogy, truly simply stops, no ending, no resolution, just stops, as others have said. I can appreciate a cliff-hanger, heck, the third book ended as such with a hint that the story wasn't over but this one is the final straw.
It is very dissapointing when you turn the page and the story is over in the middle of the plot. He should tell you on the front cover that this is part 1 of however many it takes to get this story written. I realize that this story is continued, but in the middle of a battle?
I was disappointed. Reading from my nook, I didn't realize I was near the end. Koontz had developed a good cast of characters, put them in danger, showed their fighting spirit, and them ended it in mid-air. It was like Pauline was tied to the railroad tracks, and the announcer says, tune in next week for another exciting episode.
As an avid koontz rader I read "Lost Souls", it was slow and a bit dull compared to his other works. The action if you want to call it that was slow & dull. twords the end it picked up some but the ending left the reader unimpressed. As one of his fans I must say he must have fallen asleep or maybe his mind wandered off the story. If not a fan I recommend either get it from local library or pass on this one.
It has many, many characters but they are all left out in the end. The ending is not in Mr. Koontz's normal style. More like Stephen King's "Cell"
This is not a review of a yet to be released book. However, B&N, please, please tell me that the pricing you are presently showing is a mistake! I cannot believe that you would charge more for an e-book than for a hard cover. Would you? I purchased a Nook thinking that it was a slightly better product than the competition, but the pricing structure displayed in this ebook will send me running back to my other device. Please B&N, if this is not an error, re-think your pricing policies. Thank you.
I didn't realize when I bought this book that I was buying into yet another series. I felt cheated. Just as it was becoming a page turner, the story abruptly ends. Why would I want to buy into yet another series about the same characters... Unlike the Odd series where each book stood alone these don't. Sure it is the same Koontz quality, but you are paying three times the price to get a complete story. Disappointing! I don't like buying 1/3 of a book for the price of a traditional story.
not expected. I didn't quite expect it to end when it did, I turned the page, ready to read more, but there wasn't anymore to read! It kind of felt like Mr. Koontz got up to take a break mid scene, and forgot to finish the book. I'm used to cliffhangers at the end of books, they don't always bother me, but this didn't feel like a cliffhanger, this felt unfinished. As always though, I enjoyed his writing style and the character interactions, Michael and Carson crack me up.
I read this on a recommendation from a friend, and it was okay. There are some lovely characters here, and some trite, lame characterizations. I felt I was missing out on much of the subtext having no knowledge of whatever happened with this same mix of characters in New Orleans, presumably in a previous book? In any case, this is a comfortable story and the husband and wife investigator team are humorous and readable. I was not a fan of the lack of ending, however. I felt as though someone had removed the final chapter / chapters; there is no closure of any sort. Worse, the next volume of the story isn't due out for months. Had I known that before going in, I doubt I would have bothered to read this, at least yet. I HATE waiting for the rest of the story.
I really enjoyed this book up until the ending. There wasn't one!!! The story just kind of stopped. I read this book in 4 days and thought for sure that my ebook was messed up. I really thought that somehow I didn't download the rest of the book. I called B&N support. I finally went to a store and compared the ebook to a hardcover. It stopped the same way. So to finalize I loved the book but hated the so called end to the book
The Frankenstein is a fun read, a bit overplayed but still a page turner. This new one has only one flaw, it is too short, and obviously, leaves you hanging....
I purchased a Nook anticipating better book prices, easier delivery, etc. So far, I have tolerated the terrible keyboard, unusable page turning without the hard buttons, problems with wallpapers and screen savers, and the rest. Now I find that ebooks cost more than hard cover books and more than $1.50 more than the same ebook for Kindle. I chose the Nook over Kindle because of the long solid reputation of Barnes and Noble being the best. I think I was duped as perhaps you cannot keep up with the rest!
I wish I had read the reviews before I purchased the book. So unlike Koontz to disappoint so many readers. This will be my last Koontz purchase unless future reviews show that he has redeemed himself
I thought this was the last book but it isnt. It cuts off right as the action begins. I would wait to read it until the next book is out or you will be very disappointed.
I've read many Koontz books, including the three previous in the series, and found this one to be most difficult to get through. Some of the characters (Jocko) need to be killed off due to the intended comic relief that only distracts from the actual story and confuses me as to why they are even in the book. Several new side characters are introduced with little connection to the main plot explained. The climax of the book seems to have relatively little impact on the main storyline and leaves little answered. This will most likely be my last Frankenstein book that I buy. I'll wait for my library to get a copy. Reading this book was a black mark on an awesome Caribbean vacation that I will not repeat.
I am a big fan of the original Frankenstein as well as the first three books in Dean Koontz' series, but this fourth edition is far off the mark. It has some decent parts but overall it feels like Koontz rushed this out with little consideration to the overall story or its followers. By the end of the book you know about as much as you did by the end of the last one, but you are way more frustrated. I hope the next one lives up to the expectations of both Koontz and Frankenstein fans, but this sure didn't. Also, as evidence that this book is more about the money than anything else, this is the first of this series to be released in hard cover. The first three were mass market paperback.
My wife borrowed this from the library for me, thinking I would enjoy it. A well-known author and the jacket had a nice description. The book began promising enough but I quickly realized that this was not a standalone book (nowhere on the cover does it say it is a series). The conversations in the book were pointless and I skipped over most of them. Chapter lengths were extremely short, and it did read quickly. Despite the ridiculous plot, and pointless character interactions, I stuck with it hoping for a good conclusion. No such luck! As others have remarked, there was no conclusion. It just stopped. This is my last Koontz book and I am thankful it did not cost me even a dime to buy.
I'm reading along, it's very good.. we reach the big battle.. NOTHING. The book ends. No battle. No closure. If I could, I'd want my money back.
I can't believe Dean Koontz wrote this piece of "nothing". I read all the way through because I wanted to see the ending, which never occurred, by the way. A complete waste of time. Luckily I borrowed a copy from my public library, or I would have been more upset to have actually bought it. The characters (excluding Frankenstein's creations) were raving lunatics, way too far out for my taste. This book didn't even make any sense. A real stinker.
I have read the first three books in this series, and I must say that I have thoroughly enjoyed them. However, after reading other reviews on this 4th book and how it's ending is disappointing --- not really an ending, ended in the middle of a battle, like the author forgot to finish the work --- I think I'll pass on this one. It does not appear to be worth the $9.99 eBook price ... at least not to me.
EXTREMELY FRUSTRATING to get involved in a book and then find that it ends with "to be continued" in the next novel. What a ripoff!!!! The only saving grace in my case was that I only paid ebook prices. If I had sprung for the hard copy I would be even MORE upset. Definitely NOT WORTH IT!!!!