The vast majority of us are social creatures — family, friends and community. The relationships, companionships, interchanges seem a natural part of life. Yet there are those who reject this. To paraphrase Greta Garbo, they want to be alone. They feel that they don’t need anyone to be content. Religious figures have gone into the wilderness throughout time to commute with God, several returning with “evidence” that they have succeeded. On the whole, though, we don’t respect loners. They don’t want to be with other people? Could they be dangerous? What are they trying to hide? They are not natural. It gives me the creeps. We don’t even like to read about them. They are, however, the subject of books, non-fiction and fiction. Yank Dean Koontz made them his literary niche decades ago. His characters aren’t ghosts, ghouls, zombies, vampires or werewolves, but people encountering them, almost always in the darkness, mistake them for one or another. More often than not, they are harmless, but are soon set upon, nonetheless.
The author sets Innocence in a fictitious country, possibly the UK or US, and has Addison Goodheart born in a mountain shack during a storm. His blanket catches fire, the midwife taking too long to put it out and his face becomes disfigured. His father runs off to sea, his mum leaves him in the meadow and he is befriended by animals.
After having moved to the city, Addison is intelligent if unpopular, and devotes his spare time to reading. Unprincipled practices turn him away from business. Mum passes away and he moves into a subterranean dwelling, moving through the tunnels and getting into the central library and then he meets a human who likes him.
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