Frankenstein ranks among the most enduring horror tales ever imagined. The groaning Monster, bolts erupting from his neck and stitches fastening his square brow, is famous worldwide. But the creature born in Mary Shelley's mind nearly two hundred years ago was far more complex: murderous and raging, but also articulate, lonely, and gravely misunderstood by the world into which he was thrust.
The story of Victor Frankenstein emerges in a series of letters penned by Walton, an English explorer icebound in the Arctic. While studying natural philosophy in Geneva, Frankenstein discovers how to give life to inanimate matter, and from dead flesh constructs a living being. His Monster possesses superhuman speed and strength, and learns of human emotion by studying Goethe, Plutarch, and Milton's Paradise Lost. But as the creature's mind and thoughts develop, his loneliness and misery build, and he acts out in deadly violence. When the scientist refuses to create a companion for him, the Monster lets loose his full wrath. Berserk, he murders Frankenstein's wife, then flees to the North Pole. Frankenstein follows, desperate to destroy his rampaging creation. Once there he meets Walton and confesses the horror that is drawing him deep into the Arctic wasteland.
Jeffery Deaver pours a suspense master's insight into his introduction, exploring the author's drive to thrill and terrify, and digging at the actual birthplace of Frankenstein's monster: Mary Shelley's mind. The author of sixteen novels, Deaver has appeared on bestseller lists around the world. His novel The Bone Collector was produced as a feature film by Universal Pictures starring Denzel Washington and Angelina Jolie, and his most recent novel, The Blue Nowhere, is being produced by Warner Brothers.
Frankenstein, loved by many decades of readers and praised by such eminent literary critics as Harold Bloom, seems hardly to need a recommendation. If you haven't read it recently, though, you may not remember the sweeping force of the prose, the grotesque, surreal imagery, and the multilayered doppelgänger themes of Mary Shelley's masterpiece. As fantasy writer Jane Yolen writes of this (the reviewer's favorite) edition, "The strong black and whites of the main text [illustrations] are dark and brooding, with unremitting shadows and stark contrasts. But the central conversation with the monster--who owes nothing to the overused movie image … but is rather the novel's charnel-house composite--is where [Barry] Moser's illustrations show their greatest power ... The viewer can all but smell the powerful stench of the monster's breath as its words spill out across the page. Strong book-making for one of the world's strongest and most remarkable books." Includes an illuminating afterword by Joyce Carol Oates.