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The City

Cover of The City

The City

A Novel
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

Dean Koontz is at the peak of his acclaimed powers with this major new novel.


A young boy, a musical prodigy, discovering life's wonders--and mortal dangers.
His best friend, also a gifted musician, who will share his journey into destiny.
His remarkable family, tested by the extremes of evil and bound by the depths of love . . . on a collision course with a band of killers about to unleash anarchy.
And two unlikely allies, an everyday hero tempered by the past and a woman of mystery who holds the key to the future.

These are the people of The City, a place where enchantment and malice entwine, courage and honor are found in the most unexpected quarters, and the way forward lies buried deep inside the heart. Brilliantly illumined by magic dark and light, their unforgettable story is a riveting, soul-stirring saga that speaks to everyone, a major milestone in the celebrated career of #1 New York Times bestselling author Dean Koontz and a dazzling realization of the evergreen dreams we all share.

Praise for The City

"Beautifully crafted and poignant . . . The City is many things: serious, lighthearted, nostalgic, courageous, scary, and mysterious. . . . [It] will have readers staying up late at night."--New York Journal of Books

"[Koontz] can flat-out write. . . . The message of hope and depiction of how the choices you make can change your life ring true and will remain with you once the book has been closed."--Bookreporter

Acclaim for Dean Koontz

"Perhaps more than any other author, Koontz writes fiction perfectly suited to the mood of America: novels that acknowledge the reality and tenacity of evil but also the power of good . . . that entertain vastly as they uplift."--Publishers Weekly

"A rarity among bestselling writers, Koontz continues to pursue new ways of telling stories, never content with repeating himself."--Chicago Sun-Times

"Tumbling, hallucinogenic prose. 'Serious' writers . . . might do well to examine his technique."--The New York Times Book Review

"[Koontz] has always had near-Dickensian powers of description, and an ability to yank us from one page to the next that few novelists can match."--Los Angeles Times

"Koontz is a superb plotter and wordsmith. He chronicles the hopes and fears of our time in broad strokes and fine detail, using popular fiction to explore the human condition."--USA Today

"Characters and the search for meaning, exquisitely crafted, are the soul of [Koontz's] work. . . . One of the master storytellers of this or any age."--The Tampa Tribune

"A literary juggler."--The Times (London)

From the Hardcover edition.
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

Dean Koontz is at the peak of his acclaimed powers with this major new novel.


A young boy, a musical prodigy, discovering life's wonders--and mortal dangers.
His best friend, also a gifted musician, who will share his journey into destiny.
His remarkable family, tested by the extremes of evil and bound by the depths of love . . . on a collision course with a band of killers about to unleash anarchy.
And two unlikely allies, an everyday hero tempered by the past and a woman of mystery who holds the key to the future.

These are the people of The City, a place where enchantment and malice entwine, courage and honor are found in the most unexpected quarters, and the way forward lies buried deep inside the heart. Brilliantly illumined by magic dark and light, their unforgettable story is a riveting, soul-stirring saga that speaks to everyone, a major milestone in the celebrated career of #1 New York Times bestselling author Dean Koontz and a dazzling realization of the evergreen dreams we all share.

Praise for The City

"Beautifully crafted and poignant . . . The City is many things: serious, lighthearted, nostalgic, courageous, scary, and mysterious. . . . [It] will have readers staying up late at night."--New York Journal of Books

"[Koontz] can flat-out write. . . . The message of hope and depiction of how the choices you make can change your life ring true and will remain with you once the book has been closed."--Bookreporter

Acclaim for Dean Koontz

"Perhaps more than any other author, Koontz writes fiction perfectly suited to the mood of America: novels that acknowledge the reality and tenacity of evil but also the power of good . . . that entertain vastly as they uplift."--Publishers Weekly

"A rarity among bestselling writers, Koontz continues to pursue new ways of telling stories, never content with repeating himself."--Chicago Sun-Times

"Tumbling, hallucinogenic prose. 'Serious' writers . . . might do well to examine his technique."--The New York Times Book Review

"[Koontz] has always had near-Dickensian powers of description, and an ability to yank us from one page to the next that few novelists can match."--Los Angeles Times

"Koontz is a superb plotter and wordsmith. He chronicles the hopes and fears of our time in broad strokes and fine detail, using popular fiction to explore the human condition."--USA Today

"Characters and the search for meaning, exquisitely crafted, are the soul of [Koontz's] work. . . . One of the master storytellers of this or any age."--The Tampa Tribune

"A literary juggler."--The Times (London)

From the Hardcover edition.
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  • Chapter 1

    My name is Jonah Ellington Basie Hines Eldridge Wilson Hampton Armstrong Kirk. From as young as I can remember, I loved the city. Mine is a story of love reciprocated. It is the story of loss and hope, and of the strangeness that lies just beneath the surface tension of daily life, a strangeness infinite fathoms in depth.

    The streets of the city weren't paved with gold, as some immigrants were told before they traveled half the world to come there. Not all the young singers or actors, or authors, became stars soon after leaving their small towns for the bright lights, as perhaps they thought they would. Death dwelt in the metropolis, as it dwelt everywhere, and there were more murders there than in a quiet hamlet, much tragedy, and moments of terror. But the city was as well a place of wonder, of magic dark and light, magic of which in my eventful life I had much experience, including one night when I died and woke and lived again.

    2

    When I was eight, I would meet the woman who claimed she was the city, though she wouldn't make that assertion for two more years. She said that more than anything, cities are people. Sure, you need to have the office buildings and the parks and the nightclubs and the museums and all the rest of it, but in the end it's the people--­and the kind of people they are--­who make a city great or not. And if a city is great, it has a soul of its own, one spun up from the threads of the millions of souls who have lived there in the past and live there now.

    The woman said this city had an especially sensitive soul and that for a long time it had wondered what life must be like for the people who lived in it. The city worried that in spite of all it had to offer its citizens, it might be failing too many of them. The city knew itself better than any person could know himself, knew all of its sights and smells and sounds and textures and secrets, but it didn't know what it felt like to be human and live in those thousands of miles of streets. And so, the woman said, the soul of the city took human form to live among its people, and the form it took was her.

    The woman who was the city changed my life and showed me that the world is a more mysterious place than you would imagine if your understanding of it was formed only or even largely by newspapers and magazines and TV--­or now the Internet. I need to tell you about her and some terrible things and wonderful things and amazing things that happened, related to her, and how I am still haunted by them.

    But I'm getting ahead of myself. I tend to do that. Any life isn't just one story; it's thousands of them. So when I try to tell one of my own, I sometimes go down an alleyway when I should take the main street, or if the story is fourteen blocks long, I sometimes start on block four and have to backtrack to make sense.

    Also, I'm not tapping this out on a keyboard, and I tend to ramble when I talk, like now into this recorder. My friend Malcolm says not to call it rambling, to call it oral history. That sounds pretentious, as though I'm as certain as certain can be that I've achieved things that ensure I'll go down in history. Nevertheless, maybe that's the best term. Oral history. As long as you understand it just means I'm sitting here shooting off my mouth. When someone types it out from the tapes, then I'll edit to spare the reader all the you-­knows and uhs and dead-­end sentences, also to make myself sound smarter than I really am. Anyway, I must talk instead of type, because I have the start of arthritis in my fingers, nothing serious yet, but since I'm a piano man and nothing else, I have to save my knuckles for music.

    Malcolm...

About the Author-
  • Dean Koontz, the author of many #1 New York Times bestsellers, lives in Southern California with his wife, Gerda, their golden retriever, Anna, and the enduring spirit of their golden, Trixie.

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    Random House Publishing Group
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