Fans are freaking out over the death of a major character in the book's first chapter

By Tara Fowler
Updated July 10, 2015 03:50 PM
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Harper Collins

SPOILER ALERT: Do not proceed if you don’t want to know a major Chapter 1 spoiler.

Harper Lee‘s highly anticipated Go Set a Watchman is just days from release – but fans are already freaking out over the death of a major character in the book’s first chapter, which was published online Thursday.

The novel, a follow-up to the reclusive author’s famed To Kill a Mockingbird, centers on Jean Louise, a.k.a Scout, who returns home to Maycomb, Alabama, from New York City to visit her ailing father, Atticus Finch.

But an important person is missing. That’s right, Jem Finch, Scout’s devoted older brother, is dead. “Jean Louise’s brother dropped dead in his tracks one day,” Lee, who penned the book in the 1950s before To Kill a Mockingbird, writes in passing.

Readers are outraged by the death of the beloved character, taking to Twitter to vent about the revelation.

Let’s hope other fan favorites are more fortunate.

The unedited manuscript of Go Set a Watchman was discovered in a safe deposit box last August by the author’s lawyer. HarperCollins (also the publisher of Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird) received the text from the writer’s agent.

When the new novel was announced in February, Lee said in a statement, “I am humbled and amazed that this will now be published after all these years.”

Go Set a Watchman, which is Lee’s second book ever, hits shelves Tuesday.