Prodigal Son kicks off Dean Koontz’s Frankenstein series, which already had some history prior to this book. Originally, this story was a made-for-TV movie intended to launch a television series. But other members of the project wanting to change many of Koontz’s ideas eventually resulted in Koontz leaving the project. The film landed squarely in B-movie territory and flopped, so the TV show follow-up was never made. In the aftermath, Koontz decided to rework the story into novels to keep his ideas the way he wanted them. He did still work with a partner though; this first book was co-authored by Kevin J. Anderson.
There have been many, many retellings of Frankenstein over the years. Innumerable authors, film directors, and more have put their own spins on Mary Shelley’s classic story. Dean Koontz’s story takes a bit of a different approach in that regard. Instead of retelling the classic tale, he creates a modern-day sequel. In this world, the events of Shelley’s book did actually happen…mostly. The characters point out Shelley heard the events secondhand and took some liberties when writing her book. While Koontz’s version still holds to the fact that The Monster is the man and Dr. Frankenstein is the real monster, it is blunter and more obvious.
Victor Frankenstein has redubbed himself Victor Helios and spent his two centuries of life working to replace man. He envisions a world of beings that he has crafted to his own vision of perfection with himself as the mad-scientist-god ruling them all. Helios still creates monsters in the form of men, but with sophisticated future-tech of his own design. They look and act like real people even as a yearning to exterminate mankind burns within them. But the return of Victor’s first creation marks the start of his careful plans unraveling at the seams.
Dubbing himself Deucalion, The Monster learns of Victor’s survival and comes to stop his demented creator. At the same time, two New Orleans detectives start to learn of Victor’s mad schemes through a series of crimes. With killers both natural and man-made on the loose, it could only be a matter of time before New Orleans becomes a battlefield. The book jumps around between the perspectives of all these characters and more, giving readers a direct insight into an array of emotions ranging from nobility to outright inhumanity. Prodigal Son is only the first part of a series and it shows. There are many unanswered questions by the end of the story. More dangers in the dark as the battle to stop Dr. Frankenstein’s New Race rages on.