The Legacy of Cain
  
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If you're born in the Western world or have played a lot of video games, chances are the title ”The Legacy of Cain” will make you think of either polygon vampires or take you straight back to the lazy sunlit classrooms of primary school Bible studies. Fortunately, Wilkie Collins' 1888 novel avoids the oppressive embrace of both of these constructs yet still manages to mix in both faith and horrific murder.
Against both his wife's and doctor's wishes, a minister decides to adopt the baby daughter of a prisoner facing execution, arguing that the mother's evil can't possibly have been passed down. The hitherto childless couple suddenly has a baby girl of their own and the two girls are raised ignorant of the truth. Yet as ghosts of the past creep into the girls' lives, the question becomes how long the secret can be kept – and what the consequences its uncovering will be.
An exploration of nature vs. nurture with a pinch of the supernatural, ”The Legacy of Cain” isn't about anybody named Cain at all – but we'll wager you'll like it all the same. Novelist, playwright, genre pioneer, opium addict, mentee of Charles Dickens, magnificently bearded individual – dead Englishman Wilkie Collins (1824-1889) has many titles to his name. Having a knack for mystery and unconventional characters, Collins' biggest contribution to world literature comes in the forms of ”A Women in White” (1859) and ”The Moonstone” (1868), with the former being mentioned on his headstone while the latter is widely considered the first modern detective novel.
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