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12 Monkeys

Written By:Elizabeth Hand - 1995

  • 12 Monkeys - Elizabeth Hand cover


A novel by Elizabeth Hand Based on the motion picture screenplay by David Peoples and Janet Peoples

The time: 2035 A.D.

The place: Post-apocalyptic Philadelphia

The hero: A desperate convict from a subterranean high-security prison

The mission: Travel back to the past to discover what killed the world

James Cole is doing twenty-five-to-life in an underground prison when he is offered a mission that could wipe out his sentence. A group of government scientists are sending him back to the past to discover the source of a deadly virus that laid waste to the world as we knew it. His first trip back mistakenly lands him in 1990—and in a mental hospital. Here he meets a psychiatrist, who, alarmed by his prophetic warning of the world's fate, believes him to be insane. Also questioning his own sanity, Cole attempts to unravel the apocalyptic nightmare. His only clues are a haunting childhood memory and a series of cryptic symbols of an unknown group, the Army of the Twelve Monkeys.


Army of 12 Monkeys

When she looked up, Cole was standing there above her in the blue-tinged darkness. He no longer looked merely insane, or even dangerous. With his bloody face, eyes staring grimly at her, and the cheap pistol gripped in his immense hand, he looked positively lethal.

"Are you hurt?" he asked, shoving the gun into a pocket. He sounded as though it pained him to talk.

Kathryn stumbled to her feet. "Uh, no. Yes—" She glanced down quickly at her torn skirt, blood threading along the cuffs of her blouse.

He wasn't listening.

He pulled her down the hall, past another lurid crimson circle with its crude grinning monkeys. Ahead of them a faint glimmer of light showed through the murk, giving a sanguine glow to the trail of spattered red paint the stretched before them.

"You didn't have a gun before, did you?" Kathryn asked, her voice dead.

"I've got one now," Cole replied, and dragged her toward the light.


A nerve-shattering thriller, based on the Universal Picture starring Bruce Willis, Madeleine Stowe, and Brad Pitt.