- Wini Ashooh
Kenneth Oppel introduces us to young Victor Frankenstein in his new book, This Dark Endeavor: The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein. Victor is sixteen years old and very curious about alchemy. He lives with his twin brother Konrad and his cousin Elizabeth. They are victims of typical teen curiosity and idle times. As they explore their extensive chateau in Geneva, they discover the previously unknown Dark Library. Clearly, this is a forbidden area to explore. They discover books about alchemy and ancient remedies. Their foray into the off-limits room is discovered by Victor and Konrad's father. He is incensed and instructs them to never go into the room again and to certainly never explore the writings.
As they are typical teens, the three of them find it very hard to resist doing something they have been instructed not to do. Victor in particular is fascinated by the alchemical writings and the possibility of reanimating lifeless creatures. Here the reader begins to see the intense personality and the drive of the adult Victor Frankenstein with whom we are familiar.
When Konrad becomes very ill, Victor is dissatisfied with the medicine and care administered by the local physician. Victor discovers a recipe for the Elixir of Life in the ancient Biblioteka Obscura and decides to recreate it and give it to Konrad. This ancient publication was thought to have been destroyed, but apparently Victor, Elizabeth, and Konrad have discovered the last remaining copy. However, Victor must find someone to interpret this manual. After some investigation, Victor and Elizabeth discover that there is a man in town who may be able to help them. However, this man is of a questionable reputation. Victor does all of this without the approval of the physician or of his parents, and Elizabeth is a somewhat reluctant partner in all of these proceedings. But because of her developing relationship with Konrad, she is eager to seek a cure to his illness.
Elizabeth and Konrad have developed romantic feelings towards each other. This is further complicated by the fact that Victor discovers that he, too, is falling in love with Elizabeth. So begins the romantic triangle. Victor and Konrad are very different from each other despite the shared gene pool. Konrad is thoughtful and cautious. Victor on the other hand is passionate and mercurial...not unlike his adult self.
According to Oppel, the rights to the film have already been sold to Summit Entertainment (they are the folks that brought Twilight to the silver screen). So maybe we will see This Dark Endeavor in a theatre near you soon. But before that happens, be one of the first to read the book!