"Doppelganger" is a German word meaning "double-goer". In usage, it refers to the ghostly counterpart of a living person. In German legends, the Doppelganger haunt their living counterparts.
In The Fourth Kingdom Karl Helmick's cloning facility is called Doppelganger. Through cloning, the mythological concept of the doppelganger actually becomes reality since the clones are exact replicas of living things.
The Fourth Kingdom is set at a time when cloning actually is the primary means for food production in the United States. German ex-pat scientist Karl Helmick has a contract with the U.S. government to produce exceptional quality beef through animal cloning.
Karl is a strange man of many secrets. He shares his farm with his adopted children--orphans from his homeland whom he has brought to the U.S. to raise and educate. Since Karl has never married, he does not really provide a normal home for these children--life at Doppelganger is strict, Spartan and military.
But children will be children, and Karl's adopted children tell each other that the farm is called Doppelganger because it really is haunted by ghosts. They keep the stories alive to scare each other.
One little boy in particular, Eric, is not afraid of the Doppelganger, or Karl Helmick, or Karl's favorite adopted son, Josef. He sets out to prove to himself and his friend Kurt that they have nothing to fear.
But Eric is about to discover that nothing at Doppelganger is at all as it appears and that the real secrets of the farm are more terrifying than any ghost story.Eric and the Doppelganger