In one of the most dazzling books of his celebrated career, Dean Koontz delivers a masterwork of page-turning suspense that surpasses even his own inimitable reputation as a chronicler of our worst fears--and best dreams. In The Taking he tells the story of a community cut off from a world under siege, and the terrifying battle for survival waged by a young couple and their neighbors as familiar streets become fog-shrouded death traps. Gripping, heartbreaking, and triumphant in the face of mankind's darkest hour, here is a small-town slice-of-doomsday thriller that strikes to the core of each of us to ask: What would you do in the midst of The Taking.
On the morning that will mark the end of the world they have known, Molly and Niel Sloan awaken to the drumbeat of rain on their roof. It has haunted their sleep, invaded their dreams, and now they rise to find a luminous silvery downpour drenching their small California mountain town. A strange scent hangs faintly in the air, and the young couple cannot shake the sense of something wrong.
As hours pass and the rain continues to fall, Molly and Niel listen to disturbing news of extreme weather phenomena across the globe. Before evening, their little town loses television and radio reception. Then telephone and the Internet are gone. With the ceaseless rain now comes an obscuring fog that transforms the once-friendly village into a ghostly labyrinth. By nightfall the Sloans have gathered with some of their neighbors to deal with community damage...but also because they feel the need to band together against some unknown threat, some enemy they cannot identify or even imagine.
In the night, strange noises arise, and at a distance, in the rain and the mist, mysterious lights are seen drifting among the trees. The rain diminishes with the dawn, but a moody gray-purple twilight prevails. Soon Molly, Niel, and their small band of friends will be forced to draw on reserves of strength, courage, and humanity they never knew they had. For within the misty gloom they will encounter something that reveals in a terrifying instant what is happening to their world--something that is hunting them with ruthless efficiency. Epic in scope, searingly intimate and immediate in perspective, The Taking is an adventure story like no other, a relentless roller-coaster read that brings apocalypse to Main Street and showcases the talents of one of our most original and mesmerizing novelists at the pinnacle of his powers.
From the Hardcover edition.
In 1975, the now defunct Laser Books issued Invasion by Aaron Wolfe, aka Koontz (who later expanded that novel into Winter Moon, 1994), a breakneck tale of alien invasion centered on an isolated farm. Koontz's new novel also concerns alien invasion, and a comparison of the two books offers insight into the evolution of this megaselling author's work. Invasion was mostly speed and suspense--a brilliant if superficial exercise in terror. The new novel also features abundant suspense, as a couple in an isolated California home endure a phosphorescent rain and learn that, around the world, something is attacking humans and laying waste to communications. It's only when they drive to a nearby town that they learn of a global alien invasion; the tension ratchets as a weird fog descends and the aliens not only manifest physically but animate the dead. For years, however, Koontz has aimed at more than just thrills; today he is a novelist of metaphysics and moral reflection. His aliens are inherently evil as well as scary; standing against them are the human capacity for hope and the forces of goodness and innocence (here, as elsewhere, embodied in dogs), and near novel's end Koontz puts an overtly religious spin on his tale. Koontz's language has changed over the years, too, and not always for the better. While his care with words engenders admiration, his love of metaphor and alliteration can slow down the reading ("the luminous nature of the torrents that tinseled the forest and silvered the ground"). Also missing here is the wonderful humor that elevated his last novel, Odd Thomas, and some other recent work. Koontz remains one of the most fascinating of contemporary popular novelists, and this stands as an important effort, but not his best, though its sincerity and passion can't be denied.
Copyright (c) Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
-- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
Showing 1-3 of the 3 most recent reviews
1 . Disturbing, but some of best work apart from Odd Thomas
Posted August 12, 2010 by Dale , JacksonvilleOne of the most disturbing things that I've read. A big departure from most of Koontz's work, this book goes over the edge and I couldn't put it down. Many paragraphs that I needed to read a second and third time to fully appreciate. I thought it was great.
2 . Interesting to a mild degree
Posted January 03, 2010 by Karen , Sherwood ParkIt was not until half way through the book I became interested. Deans writing is great however it lacked excitement for me. Most of his books of in the 90s and 80s there was usually very interesting ans awesome feasalbe reasons for the happenings in the novels I read. However, this novel let me down. The reason for the rain in this book was weak; hard to believe because it tried to fit into the Biblical good vs. evil in Revelation. For me this book fit poorly into that senario. The best books I have read are: Watchers, Intensity, Phantoms, Lightening, Strangers, to name a few. At least in them there was purpose.
3 . An Interesting Change
Posted June 21, 2009 by Avery , The WoodlandsEmbracing fully a very exciting topic, The Taking isn't my favorite book by D.K., but it was memorable. At times scary, and at others warm and comforting, this is a must-read for fans.
April 25, 2005
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Excerpt from The Taking by Dean Koontz
A few minutes past one o'clock in the morning, a hard rain fell without warning. No thunder preceded the deluge, no wind.
The abruptness and the ferocity of the downpour had the urgent quality of a perilous storm in a dream.
Lying in bed beside her husband, Molly Sloan had been restless before the sudden cloudburst. She grew increasingly fidgety as she listened to the rush of rain.
The voices of the tempest were legion, like an angry crowd chanting in a lost language. Torrents pounded and pried at the cedar siding, at the shingles, as if seeking entrance.
September in southern California had always before been a dry month in a long season of predictable drought. Rain rarely fell after March, seldom before December.
In wet months, the rataplan of raindrops on the roof had sometimes served as a reliable remedy for insomnia. This night, however, the liquid rhythms failed to lull her into slumber, and not just because they were out of season.
For Molly, sleeplessness had too often in recent years been the price of thwarted ambition. Scorned by the sandman, she stared at the dark bedroom ceiling, brooding about what might have been, yearning for what might never be.
By the age of twenty-eight, she had published four novels. All were well received by reviewers, but none sold in sufficient numbers to make her famous or even to guarantee that she would find an eager publisher for the next.
Her mother, Thalia, a writer of luminous prose, had been in the early years of an acclaimed career when she died of cancer at thirty. Now, sixteen years later, Thalia's books were out of print, her mark upon the world all but erased.
Molly lived with a quiet dread of following her mother into obscurity. She didn't suffer from an inordinate fear of death; rather, she was troubled by the thought of dying before achieving any lasting accomplishment.
Beside her, Neil snored softly, oblivious of the storm.
Sleep always found him within a minute of the moment when he put his head on the pillow and closed his eyes. He seldom stirred during the night; after eight hours, he woke in the same position in which he had gone to sleep--rested, invigorated.
Neil claimed that only the innocent enjoyed such perfect sleep.
Molly called it the sleep of the slacker.
Throughout their seven years of marriage, they had conducted their lives by different clocks.
She dwelled as much in the future as in the present, envisioning where she wished to go, relentlessly mapping the path that ought to lead to her high goals. Her strong mainspring was wound tight.
Neil lived in the moment. To him, the far future was next week, and he trusted time to take him there whether or not he planned the journey.
They were as different as mice and moonbeams.
Considering their contrasting natures, they shared a love that seemed unlikely. Yet love was the cord that bound them together, the sinewy fiber that gave them strength to weather disappointment, even tragedy.
During Molly's spells of insomnia, Neil's rhythmic snoring, although not loud, sometimes tested love almost as much as infidelity might have done. Now the sudden crash of pummeling rain masked the noise that he made, giving Molly a new target upon which to focus her frustration.
The roar of the storm escalated until they seemed to be inside the rumbling machinery that powered the universe.
Shortly after two o'clock, without switching on a light, Molly got out of bed. At a window that was protected from the rain by the overhanging roof, she looked through her ghostly reflection, into a windless monsoon.
Their house stood high in the San Bernardino Mountains, embraced by sugar pines, knobcone pines, and towering ponderosas with dramatic fissured bark.