Atticus Finch is racist in 'To Kill a Mockingbird' sequel

“Since Atlanta she looked out the dining car window with a delight almost physical.”

And so the first chapter of Harper Lee's highly anticipated second novel ever begins.

"Go Set a Watchman" is set in the south in the 1950s during the Civil Rights Movement.

It picks up 20 years after Harper's Pulitzer Prize winning American classic "To Kill a Mockingbird."

Atticus Finch and his daughter Scout are back in 'Watchman' but they've changed.

Finch, an attorney who defended a black man falsely accused of raping a white women in 'Mockingbird,' was revered as a champion of justice and tolerance...until now.

According to early reviews of 'Watchman,' which Lee actually wrote first, Atticus Finch is a portrayed as a racist in his latest years.

The New York Times says in the book, he is a man who once attended a KKK meeting and makes derogatory statements about black people.

Readers like Noah Cooper, who count 'Mockingbird' as a favorite, aren't happy.

“It’s kind of like heartbreaking in a way” Cooper said. “It really puzzles me; I can’t even believe that would happen because he stood up for African Americans.”

On Twitter, reaction has been sharp.

Actress Mia Farrow wrote: “Atticus finch a racist?! Oh Ms. Lee how could you? In all of fiction, few were as respected and loved.”

Publisher Harper Collins even issued a statement in response to the early reviews saying:  "The question of Atticus’s racism is one of the most important and critical elements in this novel, and it should be considered in the context of the book's broader moral themes."

But controversy breeds curiosity and so the plot twist isn't likely to disrupt sales of the book. A manuscript of which just surfaced earlier this year. And which Amazon says is among the most pre-opened books ever.

As for Harper Lee, don’t expect to hear any explanation from her. The 89 year-old author is a notorious recluse and hasn't granted an interview in decades.