Strange mythological creatures are terrorizing Philadelphia.
Crypto-zoologist Nathan Underhill has been using ancient treatises in his attempt to re-create fabulous creatures whose cells may contain cures for many diseases. He and his lab team, Kavita and Aarif, have just succeeded in recreating a phoenix when the company supporting his research, a firm whose limited sense of adventure is exhausted, cuts them off. When Nathan burns his hand, he uses the cell-therapy treatment to cure himself in order to demonstrate that the therapy works. All the while, Theodor Zauber, a mad scientist’s equally mad son, is pressing Nathan to help him sustain life in a huge collection of gargoyles that were turned to stone by 13th-century alchemists. Zauber’s father had found a method to restore these unfortunates to flesh and blood, but it only lasts a short time, and it poses other problems. For example, the creatures can prolong their lives only by eating the hearts of humans. Well aware of this wrinkle, Zauber threatens many more deaths unless Nathan helps him. Desperate to find the cache of gargoyles, Nathan must work with the police, who’ve been investigating several cases in which huge stone statues have killed people when they crashed to earth, in a last-ditch effort to protect humanity.
Morally conflicted Nathan’s second adventure (Basilisk, 2009, etc.) is a fast-paced, gruesome tale sure to bring chills to receptive spines.