Cover image for Shadows
Title:
Shadows
Author:
Saul, John.
Personal Author:
Edition:
Bantam paperback edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Bantam Books, 1993.

©1992
Physical Description:
393 pages ; 18 cm
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780553560275
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

They call it the Academy. A secluded, cliff-top mansion overlooking the rugged Pacific coast. A school for children gifted -- or cursed -- with extraordinary minds. Children soon to come under the influence of an intelligence even more brilliant than their own -- and unspeakably evil. For within this mind a dark plan is taking form. A plan so horrifying, no one will believe it. No one but the children. And for them it is already too late. Too late, unless one young student can resist the seductive invitation that will lead... into the Shadows .


Author Notes

Saul has several major themes in his horror fiction; children as victims, and sometimes perpetrators, of evil; technology used for horrific ends; and occult occurrences (is it something external or internal that causes the horrible things to happen to his characters?). While Saul's earlier work has been noted for its extremely gruesome quality, in his later writing Saul is trying to restrain that aspect of his fiction. Often his plots revolve around hidden, secret evil that is discovered by an innocent person, who must then battle against seemingly impossible odds to defeat the demon.

(Bowker Author Biography) Author John Saul was born in Pasadena, California on February 25, 1942. He attended numerous colleges including Montana State University and San Francisco State College and majored in various areas of study including anthropology, liberal arts, and theater, but never earned a degree. He spent the next fifteen years attempting to become a published writer while working various jobs. His first novel, Suffer the Children, was published in 1977. He has written over twenty novels since then and writes the Blackstone Chronicles. He received the Life Time Achievement Award from the Northwest Writers Conference. He currently divides his time between Seattle, Washington and Maui, Hawaii.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Ten-year-old Josh MacCallum is a genius, 'way too much of a genius for the public schools of Eden, California, in which teachers treat him like a brilliant pet and peers bully him unmercifully. After he attempts suicide, his husband-abandoned mother, Brenda, finds out about Barrington Academy, a boarding school that so much wants kids like Josh that tuition is nominal or waived. It seems like a godsend, at least until Brenda finds out that Josh's suicide attempt is a positive factor in favor of his acceptance by the school. Shortly after Josh starts, another boy plants himself squarely in front of a speeding train. Brenda's not the only suspicious parent, but the dead boy's inquisitive mom and dad die in a mysterious accident when they try to remove their other son from the academy. Saul's latest is ultimately a variation upon Curt Siodmak's oft-filmed and -imitated but now risibly naive Donovan's Brain. Until that secret is revealed, it gets a lot of sympathetic mileage out of Josh's predicament as a poor child suffering the cruel social stigma placed on him because of something he can't help, that is indeed a virtue. Hoity-toity horror fans justifiably prefer Stephen King and John Farris, but Saul's grade-B charms remain readably--and bestsellingly--charming. (Reviewed May 1, 1992)0553074741Ray Olson


Publisher's Weekly Review

After a very slow first half, Saul ( Darkness , The God Project ) picks up the pace and delivers aword? tense, high-tech psychological suspense thriller. Ten-year-old genius Josh MacCallum is bored, lonely and almost always angry at his older, teasing classmates. After he attempts suicide, his frantic single mother jumps at the chance to enroll him in the Academy, a school for very gifted kids in Northern California. Run by aloof Dr. Engersol and matronly housemother HildieHildie not Hidie/eed , the school, which occupies an old mansion, offers Josh a friend in another `fellow genius' awk when describing a woman genius, Amy Carlson. Trouble surfaces when a 12-year-old kills himself, but calm returns as Hildie dispenses hugs and common sense. Soon after Josh and Amy are picked for an advanced ``seminar,'' Engersol and Hildie are revealed as nasty and the mad-scientist plot hurtles to a violent conclusion featuring dueling brains?? Josh and Amy's? unclear You're absolutely right but i'm afraid it will have to stand as is. I can't reach the reviewer, and altho I have the galley, connected to a mainframe computer. The novel's padded beginning and only serviceable prose are tolerable `lesser' implies comparison w greater flaws, not w virtues flaws in light of Saul's chilling conceit, Hildie's jarring comeuppance and a delightful final twist. 150,000 first printing. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Excerpts

Excerpts

PROLOGUE   Shadows.   Timmy Evans woke up in shadows.   Shadows so deep he saw nothing.   Shadows that surrounded Timmy, wrapping him in a blackness so dense that he wondered if the vague memory of light that hovered on the edges of his memory was perhaps only a dream.   Yet Timmy was certain that it was not merely a dream, that there was such a thing as light; that somewhere, far beyond the shadows in which he found himself, there was another world.   A world, he was suddenly certain, of which he was no longer a part.   He had no idea what time it was, nor what day, nor even what year.   Was it day, or night?   He had no way of knowing.   Tentatively, the first tendrils of panic already beginning to curl themselves around him, Timmy began exploring the blackness of his shadowed world, tried to reach out into the darkness.   He could feel nothing.   It was almost as if his fingers themselves were gone.   He put his hands together.   Instead of the expected warmth of one palm pressed firmly against the other, there was nothing.   No feeling at all.   The tendrils of panic grew stronger, twisting around Timmy Evans like the tentacles of a giant octopus.   His mind recoiled from the panic, pulling back, trying to hide from the darkness.   What had happened?   Where was he?   How had he gotten there?   Instinctively, he began counting.   "One."   "Two."   "Three."   "Four."   The numbers marched through his head, growing ever larger as he listened to the voice in his mind that silently intoned the words that meant the most to him in all the world.   The same voice he remembered from the suddenly dim past, when there had been light, and sounds other than the voice that whispered the numbers to him in the silence of his mind.   Even then, before he had awakened in the shadows, only the numbers had truly meant anything to him.   It had always been that way, ever since he was very small and had lain on his back, staring at an object suspended above his crib.   The numbers on the blocks hanging from the mobile had meant something to Timmy Evans.   Though he had been too young to have a word for the mobile itself, the memory of it was clear.   "One, two, three, four."   The object, brightly colored and suspended from the ceiling on a string, turned slowly above him, the voice in his head speaking each numeral as his eyes fastened on it.   "One, two, three, four."   Later, he'd seen another object, on the wall high above his crib.   "One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve."   Timmy Evans had learned to count the numbers as the hands on the clock pointed to them, though he had no idea what the clock was, nor what purpose it served. But he would lie in his crib all day, his eyes fixed on the clock, saying each number as the hand came to it.   When he'd learned to walk, he'd begun counting his steps, saying each number out loud.   Counting the steps that led down from the front porch of his parents' house.   Counting the cracks in the broken sidewalk that separated his yard from the street.   Counting the panes in the stained-glass windows when his parents took him to church, the pillars that supported the church's high ceiling.   Counting the slats in the Venetian blinds that covered the window of his room at home, and the neat rows of vegetables in the little garden his mother planted in the backyard.   Counting everything, endless numbers streaming through his mind.   Numbers that meant something.   Numbers that meant order.   Numbers that defined his world.   The numbers filled his mind, consumed him.   They were his friends, his toys.   He put them together and took them apart, examining them in his own mind until he understood exactly how they worked.   Multiplying them, dividing them, squaring them, and factoring them.   Even as he'd grown up and begun to talk of other things, the numbers were always there, streaming through his mind.   Now, in the terrifying darkness into which he'd awakened, he began to play with the numbers once more.   Timmy began with a million.   He'd always liked that number.   A one, with six zeros after it.   He multiplied it by nine hundred and ninety-nine thousand, nine hundred and ninety-nine.   Then multiplied the total by nine hundred and ninety-nine thousand, nine hundred and ninety-eight.   He kept going, the numbers in his head growing ever larger, occupying more and more of his mind.   And yet the shadows were still there, and though he tried to concentrate only on the numbers, never losing track of the total, the shadows and the silence still closed around him.   He moved the numbers into the space in the back of his mind where he could keep them going with half his mind, and used the rest of his mind to try once more to figure out where he was, and how he'd gotten into the shadows.   School.   He'd been at school before he woke in the shadows.   A nice school. A school he liked, where the other kids were almost as good at numbers as he was.   A pretty school, with a big house set on a broad lawn, shaded by the biggest trees Timmy had ever seen.   Redwood trees.   He'd never seen trees that big before his parents had brought him to the school.   Nor had he ever had friends before.   Friends like himself, who could do things with their brains that other children couldn't.   But now something had happened to him.   What?   He tried to remember.   He'd been in his room.   His room on the third floor.   He'd been asleep.   And before that, he'd been crying.   Crying, because he'd felt homesick, missing his mother and father, and even his little brother, whom he didn't even really like.   He'd cried himself to sleep, wondering if everyone was going to tease him the next morning, because he'd burst into tears in the dining-room, and run out, and up the stairs, slamming his door and not letting anyone in all evening.   Then, sometime in the night, he'd awakened and heard something.   Heard what?   Timmy couldn't remember.   He concentrated harder, and a memory--so fleeting it was barely there at all--stirred.   A rattling sound, like the old elevator that went from the first floor all the way up to the fourth floor.   Then--nothing!   Until he'd awakened in the shadows.   Awakened, to find that there was still nothing.   Once more, he tried to reach out, but his body refused to respond, refused, even, to acknowledge the commands his mind issued.   Paralyzed!   His entire body was paralyzed!   Now the panic that had been entangling him in its grasp gripped him with an irresistible force, and he screamed out.   Screamed out--silently.   He tried to scream again, when out of the shadows, lights began to shine. Brilliant lights, in a spectrum of colors he'd never beheld before in his life.   Sounds, too, burst forth out of the silence that had surrounded him from the moment of his awakening, a cacophony of achromatic chords, layered over with the screeches and cries of the damned souls of Hell.   The sound built, along with the blazing lights, until Timmy Evans was certain that if it didn't stop, his eyes would burn away, and his eardrums would burst.   Crying out once more, he tried to turn his mind away from the sights and sounds that assaulted him, to turn inward, and bury himself among the numbers that still streamed through the far reaches of his consciousness.   But it was too late.   He couldn't find the numbers, couldn't make sense of the gibberish he found where only a few short seconds ago the order of mathematics had been.   Then, as the sensory attack built to a crescendo, Timmy Evans knew what was happening to him.   Just as he realized what was happening, the last moment came.   The lights struck once more, with an intensity that tore through his brain, and the howling cacophony shattered his weakening mind.   In a blaze of light, accompanied by the roaring symphony of a thousand freight trains, Timmy Evans died.   Died, without ever remembering exactly what had happened to him.   Died, without understanding how or why.   Died, when he was only eleven years old.   Died, in a manner so horrible no one would ever be told about it.   Excerpted from Shadows by John Saul All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.