Synopses & Reviews
The year is 1911. In Cold Spring Harbour, New York, the newly formed Eugenics Records Office is sending its agents to catalogue the infirm, the insane, and the criminal - with an eye to a cull, for the betterment of all. Near Cracked Wheel, Montana, a terrible illness leaves Jason Thistledown an orphan, stranded in his dead mother's cabin until the spring thaw shows him the true meaning of devastation - and the barest thread of hope. At the edge of the utopian mill town of Eliada, Idaho, Doctor Andrew Waggoner faces a Klansman's noose and glimpses wonder in the twisting face of the patient known only as Mister Juke. And deep in a mountain lake overlooking that town, something stirs, and thinks, in its way: Things are looking up. Eutopia follows Jason and Andrew as together and alone, they delve into the secrets of Eliada - industrialist Garrison Harper's attempt to incubate a perfect community on the edge of the dark woods and mountains of northern Idaho. What they find reveals the true, terrible cost of perfection - the cruelty of the surgeon's knife - the folly of the cull - and a monstrous pact with beings that use perfection as a weapon, and faith as a trap.
"Nickle's bleak debut novel mixes utopian vision, rustic Americana, and pure creepiness. It's 1911 and the future is bright in remote Eliada, Idaho, with its thriving timber business and a free hospital funded by forward-thinking philanthropist Garrison Harper. But Harper and Dr. Nils Bergstrom are disciples of eugenicist Charles Davenport, and their plan to create 'a paradise for workers and owners alike' is anything but healthy. The evidence lies within bizarrely made Mister Juke, who heralds the imminent 'perfectibility of mankind.' Black doctor Andrew Waggoner, whose outsider status and Hippocratic oath make him unwilling to cooperate, and Jason Thistledown, lone survivor of an engineered plague that destroyed Cracked Wheel, Mont., are Eliada's only hope as Mister Juke's alien tribe begins to make terrible plans of its own. Nickle (Monstrous Affections) blends Little House on the Prairie with distillates of Rosemary's Baby and The X-Files to create a chilling survival-of-the-fittest story. (May)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.