Life hasn’t been easy for Jonas Hellemyr. He is twenty-five years old and lives with his sick mother. Jonas’s own existence is defined by pain due to the violent migraines he has suffered since he was a child. He is a law student but works in construction on the side in order to make ends meet. One day while toiling on a job site, he miraculously survives what should have been a deadly accident – and in an instant his world is turned upside down.
Jonas learns that beings called Descendants live among us, and he is one of them. They look like ordinary people, but they have heightened abilities. Descendants have always existed, hiding in plain sight, and people have always found ways to explain them: in the olden days we called them witches, now we call them insane. Some rule us in secret while others scrape by at the very bottom of society. Some, like Jonas, don’t even know what they are.
When everything he has known turns out to be a lie, Jonas is forced to face a new reality: who is he and what does he come from? His survival sets strange events in motion and he is thrown into a power battle with high stakes where his life proves to be a pawn in other people’s violent schemes.
Meanwhile, a hard-pressed Descendant named Viveca Eldh discovers that someone is murdering the weakest among them: newborn babies and homeless people. Why? Eldh, who is haunted by the loss of her own child many years ago, sets out on a mission to save those who can still be saved. When Eldh and Jonas’s paths cross in an electrifying denouement, they realize that everything is connected and some things are worth dying for.
Firstborn is a roller-coaster ride of a thriller that unfolds at break-neck speed: car chases, robberies, and exhilarating adventures play out in a contemporary Stockholm that is at once familiar and completely new. But at the heart of this taut and beautifully written novel is the story of a young man trying to come to terms with his true identity. By skillfully treading the line between social realism and heightened reality, Alexanderson has written an exceptionally topical book that, through the lens of an imagined world, deals bravely with issues of alienation, corruption, and power in our own time.
“A name to remember. […] Filip Alexanderson’s debut Firstborn is like Harry Potter for adults.”
“Suggestive, dark, and different. An actor with the Royal Dramatic Theatre, Filip Alexanderson is used to stepping into people’s lives, to interpreting different perspectives and emotions. Here he uses words instead. His debut is a terrifying, pulsing, and high-pace thriller. Completely fantastical and yet I buy the concept. Among us is another, hidden world, with creatures with their own hierarchies, societies, and power struggles. Speaking bedrock, wars fought with children as weapons. But most of all, familiar human emotions of sorrow, love and yearning.”
“Filip Alexanderson is good at building up questions regarding Jonas’ identity, and has constructed a conceptual world of his own, far from the run of the mill horror characters. […] Filip Alexanderson weaves an intrigue that may be too complex. But it doesn’t matter: his writing is so captivating I have to keep reading.”
Dagens Nyheter (SE)
“Alexanderson has written an imaginative tale full of rich characters and secret organizations. […] It’s a skilled craft. […] Firstborn is perfect for film adaptation.”
Skånska Dagbladet (SE)
“A really captivating and thrilling debut!!!”
Jennies boklista, blog (SE)