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Damien - Omen II

Novel by Joseph Howard 1978.

At the end of The Omen, Damien Thorn survives a murder attempt by the hand of his adopted father and all adversaries seem to be dead. As this first sequel opens, he has moved to the United States as a foster child of his uncle Richard, the inheritor of the prosperous family business. But in Jerusalem, the ancient arch´┐Żologist Carl Bugenhagen still lives and is determined to send someone to destroy Damien, before he reaches his thirteenth birthday and thus realises what he actually is. Meanwhile, acolytes are beginning to circulate around Damien, even though he doesn't yet realise what they are. Everything seems on target for Damien to inherit a huge industrial empire and fortune, which would put him in good stead to fulfil the prophesies attributed to him in the Book of Revelation; but Richard gradually discovers that he must achieve what his brother failed to do, namely kill his adopted son.

Like most genre series, The Omen books deteriorated as the series continued, but it was only really with the fifth book that this one became painful. This one is pretty much a straight copy of the original: another powerful Thorn takes his time being persuaded that his adopted son is the Antichrist, while Damien grows powerful himself and kills off anyone who finds out too much. But the writing and the dialogue seem fresh enough and the ideas are still as good as in the original, at least enough to make this a worthwhile, if not particularly necessary, sequel.

Ronald Chetwynd-Hayes was offered this book, based on the screenplay by Stanley Mann and Michael Hodges, but being busy with something else he turned it down. If he had taken it on, it could have been so much better; but under different hands it could also have been so much worse.

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