Confessions of the Creature

Written by Gary Inbinder
Review by Arleigh Johnson

Frankenstein’s creature is given a new voice and a fresh start in this continuation of Mary Shelley’s classic. Journeying from the Arctic, he happens upon a desolate cottage in the wilds of Russia and meets a pagan healer who turns his features from monstrous to handsome and foretells his rise to greatness. Styling himself Viktor Viktorovich—a strange tribute to his creator—he joins the ranks of a group of village laborers outside of Moscow.

Extremely strong, intelligent and cultured Viktor quickly rises from peasant to high-ranking officer during the Napoleonic Wars. He falls in love with the beautiful daughter of his commander and leads a life he never thought possible—but lurking within, with yellow eyes and sickly skin, the creature struggles to emerge. Plagued with frightful dreams and visions, there is a constant battle between the malicious monster and the honorable man, ultimately surfacing in a spellbinding and satisfying conclusion.

As a historical novel, it captures early 19th-century Russian society from the perspective of several different classes, wisely expounding on the virtues and the vices of mankind through the eyes of a monster turned human. The Napoleonic Wars are detailed superbly, but not so thoroughly as to disinterest those not inclined toward war novels. There is a romantic theme and plenty of philosophical anecdotes to satiate lovers of those genres. Even readers unfamiliar with the classic will enjoy this novel for its well-developed characterizations, intricate plot, and imaginative and original prose.