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Adversary Cycle Books In Order

Publication Order of The Adversary Cycle Books

The Keep (1981) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Tomb (1984) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Touch (1986) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Reborn (1990) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Reprisal (1991) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Nightworld (1992) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Peabody-Ozymandias Traveling Circus & Oddity Emporium (2007) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

“The Adversary Cycle” also known as the “Nightworld Cycle” is a series of novels by Paul F. Wilson the American author that has made a name for himself writing in almost every genre imaginable. Born and raised in New Jersey, Wilson spent much of his childhood and youth watching horror movies, Soupy Sales, listening to Alan Freed and Chuck Berry, reading Heinlein, Bradbury, and Matheson, and poring over comics like E.C. and Uncle Scrooge. Given his varied interests he has published works in just about every genre ranging from religious, political, and medical thrillers, a Christmas book, young adult, horror, fantasy, and science fiction. However, with more that 100 short stories and over fifty novels to his name, he is best known for the “Repairman Jack” series of novels that is a spin off of the “Adversary Cycle” series. All the novels of the “Adversary Cycle” series of novels have made the New York Times bestselling lists. The author has won many awards over the years including the Bram Stoker Award in 1999 and the Inkpot Award from the San Diego Comicon. The “Adversary Cycle” series debuted with The Keep that was first published in 1981 to much popular acclaim that it was made into a movie by the same name in 1983. Wilson currently lives in Jersey Shore where he spends his time penning his next bestseller and haunting eBay for weird Daddy Warbucks and strange clock memorabilia.

With something of the “Agent Pendergast” or “Charlie Parker” series, the Adversary Cycle shaped the horror and thriller genre for much of the 1980s. The series incorporates horror and thriller in the different narratives with horror taking the lead in one novel and thriller in another. Wilson writes of mysterious and menacing creatures and of heroes who live for justice and fairness in their society. The crux of the novels is more like that of Travis McGee adventure that combines contemporary and urban fantasy with horror to make for dark plotlines and characters. The antagonists have dark intentions yet have very well-developed supernatural powers that will leave the reader in a quandary as to who to root for. The narratives feature the supposedly good guys in the mold of the SS and German soldiers of The Keep or the likes of Jack of The Tomb who confront ancient forces of evil that intend to destroy them. Wilson shifts gear to go for the thriller in “The Touch” when a doctor just like Repairman Jack gets a chance at doing good through healing but it comes with terrible consequences. What makes these novels so great is the theme of the payoff between doing good for society even as that act may result in the rebirth of evil ancient entities that may cause harm to that very society.

The Adversary series of novels debuted in 1941 “The Keep” that saw when a strange and dark evil was unleashed among a group of German soldiers stationed in the Romanian wilderness. Over the course of the series, the novels incorporate a range of characters whose lives are influenced by the ancient evil either falling to its strange power or joining in arms against it. In the fifth novel of the series “Reprisal”, the Adversary rises again and is now in a quest to revenge against all and any that tried to destroy him. The first three novels may be read as standalones given that they for the most part have independent story lines and different characters. However, they introduce characters that appear in the last three and hence these last must be read in order if they are to be understood. While the author never originally intended to link the first three, when he was plotting reborn, he saw that the evil in the first novel could somehow fit in all the books. It could have been a subconscious link up but the link of the ancient evil force in all the novels makes for a gripping and involving read that culminates in the explosive sixth title “Nightworld”. While the six novels are the “Adversary Cycle” series, there are several other short stories and novels that tie into its world. For instance, the second novel of the series The Tomb resulted into a spin-off that has become Wilson’s most popular series, The Repairman Jack series.

“The Keep” is the thrilling first novel of the Adversary Cycle series of novels by Paul Wilson. The opening scene of the novel starts with a Nazi commander in a Transylvanian Alps castle getting a cryptic message saying “something is killing my men”. The officer dispatches an elite SS team to go investigate the bizarre happenings that soon runs into something terrifying and powerful. Silent and invisible, the enemy takes out one soldier a night and leaves in its wake a mutilated and bloodless corpse that sends terror throughout the camp. In a panic, high command brings in a Jewish man who happens to be an expert in local folklore to try to find out just what is happening. Unknown to the camp another man just woke up from a terrible nightmare and is now finding his way to the camp where he hopes to meet his destiny. The battle is between an unknowing, unstoppable, and unthinkable terror and an ultimate evil power brought forth by man.

“The Tomb” is the second novel of the series that features an “Equalizer” type of character that dropped off the grid to live outside the system. He feels that he does not owe the system anything and does not bother to pay taxes. However, that does not mean that he is an immoral or unethical person, but just that he loves doing things the way he feels like. His mother had been killed in unclear circumstances that had left him with a strong sense of justice that leads him to try to help anyone he feels is unfairly treated. He is his own man, strong and independent which makes him quite a great character and fun person to follow around. Regardless of the cost to himself, he is always looking to fix even the things that may seem unfix-able. He starts out as a rookie on matters supernatural but over the course of the novel, he gains experience and understanding becoming an excellent fighter of anything that goes against his values and moral ethics.

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