By F. Paul Wilson
Jove Books, 344 pp, 1990
I read The Keep several years
ago, and it was fantastic. It's a modern classic. Reborn is its
sequel, and it's not so fantastic.
A Nobel Prize-winning scientist and his
partner die in a plane crash in 1968. Suddenly, writer Jim Stevens is
unexpectedly rich. An orphan, the scientist has left his entire estate,
about eight million dollars worth, all to Jim. Naturally, he and his babe
wife Carol are ecstatic, Jim especially so, because he finally knows who
his biological father. But one question is still unexplained. Who's his
Well, he finds out in some journals
tucked away in an old safe. In the late 1930s and early 1940s, Jim's
father worked on a super-secret program for the government, one designed
to produce the super-human soldier (if this sounds like it's been done
before, you're right. It has.). Jim's old man clones himself and a black
prostitute bears the child: Jim.
So Jim's a clone.
However, a group of Catholic Pentecostal
kooks who call themselves The Chosen are convinced that Jim Stevens in the
Antichrist. Why? Because Jim is a clone, he has no soul, thus making him
the perfect vessel for the Evil One.
Anyway, the kooks are wrong. Jim's no
devil. In fact, he dies. But wait! Carol is pregnant! The Chosen discover
this and are now convinced that her child is the Antichrist. Carol's dear
Aunt Grace, who once provided abortions to young women in her youth and is
now one of The Chosen, feels she is called by God to abort the Prince of
Darkness. At this point, I'm thinking Rosemary's Baby.
As predictable and formulaic as the book
is, Wilson does salvage it by delivering a great ending, one that demands
another sequel (Reprisal).
I'll probably read it, and I hope it's better than this one.