My Online Prose Portfolio

"Write out of love, write out of instinct, write out of reason. But always for money."
Louis Untermeyer


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 mother?

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.

Back to Book Reviews