New York Times bestselling author Christopher Rice brilliantly conjures the shadowed terrors of the Louisiana bayou—where three friends confront a deadly, ancient evil rising to the surface—in this intense and atmospheric new supernatural thriller.
It’s been a decade since the Delongpre family vanished near Bayou Rabineaux, and still no one can explain the events of that dark and sweltering night. No one except Niquette Delongpre, the survivor who ran away from the mangled stretch of guardrail on Highway 22 where the impossible occurred…and kept on running. Who left behind her best friends, Ben and Anthem, to save them from her newfound capacity for destruction…and who alone knows the source of her very bizarre—and very deadly—abilities: an isolated strip of swampland called Elysium.
An accomplished surgeon, Niquette’s father dreamed of transforming the dense acreage surrounded by murky waters into a palatial compound befitting the name his beloved wife gave to it, Elysium: “the final resting place for the heroic and virtuous.” Then, ten years ago, construction workers dug into a long-hidden well, one that snaked down into the deep, black waters of the Louisiana swamp and stirred something that had been there for centuries—a microscopic parasite that perverts the mind and corrupts the body.
Niquette is living proof that things done can’t be undone. Nothing will put her family back together again. And nothing can save her. But as Niquette, Ben, and Anthem uncover the truth of a devastating parasite that has the potential to alter the future of humankind, Niquette grasps the most chilling truths of all: someone else has been infected too. And unlike her, this man is not content to live in the shadows. He is intent to use his newfound powers for one reason only: revenge.
Although Rice (A Density of Souls) refers to his story as a "chronicle of monsters and magic," it would be more accurate to describe it as a masterful coming-of-age novel. Set in a present-day New Orleans beset by natural disaster and human corruption, the story focuses on four young people: Niquette Delongpre, a child of privilege; her longtime best friend from childhood, Ben; her lover, Anthem; and Marshall, the outsider who plays the serpent in the others' adolescent Eden. Shortly after Niquette and Marshall are attacked by mysterious pool-dwelling organisms, Niquette and her family drive off the road. Marshall jumps through a 31st-story window, landing in a comatose state from which he can psychically cause acts of carnage. Chapters from different perspectives slowly reconstruct the tapestry of connections among Niquette, Anthem, and Ben, and poignantly captures the boys' inarticulate pain over Niquette's loss and their personal struggles. Rice's characters are complex and real, his dialogue pitch-perfect, and his writing intelligent and strong. He builds suspense beautifully as Marshall's malevolence reaches a crescendo of violence amid enduring philosophical questions about what it means to be human.
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Can't wait to read this. I've read all ur books and loved them all
Started strong, ended muddy
Read this novel for a book club. I have to say the first third of it showed promise to be one of the most compelling novels of our club's history, but the momentum slows significantly: What started as an exciting teenage scifi/fantasy thriller is terribly muddied when the author decides the novel should also include heavy-handed references to the horrors of Hurricaine Katrina, NOLA's struggles in the aftermath, and the misunderstood strife of river ship pilots. The climax and conclusion become as muddied as the swampy setting. Definitely an author I'll be on the lookout for, but keep your expectations low on this one.