American Gods by Neil Gaiman
American Gods is Neil Gaiman’s fourth prose novel, and it covers many of the same themes found in his extremely popular The Sandman graphic novels. The central premise of the novel is that gods and mythological figures exist because people believe in them. However, many of these mythological figures are losing their power, as many modern Americans choose to worship new entities, such as money, fame, technology, and drugs. The main character, Shadow, has just been released from prison, only to find that his wife and his best friend have been killed in a car accident, leaving him entirely alone in the world. He becomes the bodyguard for a mysterious conman, Mr. Wednesday, who becomes his mentor as he begins to discover the mythological world that exists side-by-side with normal reality. Readers need not know world mythology to become enthralled by Shadow’s journey — they may even be spurred to learn more about Americana and the myths and legends of both the native and the immigrant populations.