This first novel from the author of Your Next-Door Neighbor is a Dragon (2009) is part of a multimedia project that also encompasses video, music, artwork, blogs and web pages.
In 1874, Gideon Long, terrified of his tyrannical father, plots a train robbery in order to conceal the losses he caused in the family business. Unfortunately, tough sheriff Warren Groves gets wind of the crime and, obliged to leave his beloved wife Annie in the throes of a difficult childbirth, rides in pursuit of Gideon's gang. Fatally wounded by Warren, Gideon staggers away into the desert and follows an eerie white dog to a mysterious, hot, milky pool hidden in an abandoned pueblo. He falls in, only to find himself reborn in a new, younger body. With his deep hatred of Warren—the two were rivals for Annie, though Warren doesn't know that yet—Gideon captures the sheriff and throws him into the pool, too. (How's that again?) And this Fountain of Rebirth also turns out to be a Fountain of Duplicates. (Don't ask. It just is, OK?) Gideon even tries to bring Annie back after she dies in childbirth, but bodies reborn from dead flesh are alive but soulless. Eventually, with multiple copies of both men, they're forced to put their rivalry aside and come to an agreement—since each duplicate has all the memories of the original. Fast forward to 1951, where Casper Cord, a Warren dying of radiation-induced cancer after serving in the invasion of Japan following multiple atomic bombings, stumbles upon a murdered duplicate of Annie—apparently she had all her faculties—and sets out to discover where she came from and why she was murdered. And then, in 1973...and 2006...
Intensely realized and often gripping, so perhaps the lack of any discernable structure, logic or explanations deliberately points readers to the multimedia extensions. It's bizarrely fascinating, and what it's all about is anybody's guess.