In a shift from his usual exploration of the fantastical and supernatural, Koontz’s (Odd Apocalypse, 2012, etc.) new book contemplates an apocalyptical confrontation between good and evil.
In an isolated cabin, Addison Goodheart is born to a drug-and-alcohol-addled mother. The midwife takes one glance at the newborn and attempts to smother him. The mother intervenes. Addison must be raised in isolation. As he grows, he takes to the woods, almost able to fend for himself. At age 8, near self-sufficient, his mother forces him to leave and then kills herself. Addison treks to a metropolis (think New York City), each stranger he meets attempting to kill him. In the city, he meets a man he will call Father, so like Addison that one glance at his face sparks murderous intent. The two lurk beneath the city, venturing out only at night, but 18 years later, Father’s murdered as the two frolic on seemingly blizzard-isolated streets. Enter Gwyneth, heir to an immense fortune, isolated by "social phobia." Addison meets Gwyneth while night-exploring a magnificent library. Gwyneth’s being pursued by Ryan Telford, a sexual pervert who also purloined millions from her father. Koontz's tale is no “Beauty and the Beast.” Laced with fantastical mysticism, it’s an allegory of nonviolence, acceptance and love in the face of adversity. Addison and Gwyneth are the driving characters, their tales spinning out from Addison’s introspective point of view. Each has a tenuous link to Teague Hanlon, former Marine, parish priest and catalyst for the denouement sparked when a virus is deliberately released by a rogue state. The narrative is intense, with an old-fashioned ominousness and artistically crafted descriptions like "[t]he fallow soil of loneliness is fertile ground for self-deception." Koontz’s allegory on morality and love (agape rather than sensual) probes the idea that evil is woven through humankind. Koontz fans shouldn’t be disappointed, especially with an optimistic and unexpected conclusion mirroring his theme.
Something different this way comes from Mr. Koontz’s imagination. Enjoy.