Fantasy Book of the Month May 2011: The Keep by F. Paul Wilson

Discussion in 'Fantasy / Horror' started by Hobbit, May 1, 2011.

  1. Hobbit

    Hobbit Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2001
    Messages:
    11,342
    Likes Received:
    70
    Trophy Points:
    183
    The Keep is often seen as a Horror Classic.

    [​IMG]

    It was first published in 1981.

    Wikipedia says:

    Discuss!

    Mark
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2011
  2. ColdSun

    ColdSun The Enigmatic Paradox

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2007
    Messages:
    191
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    51
    One of the best horror novels I have ever read. I purchased the book after watching the movie, which a lot of people didn't like, but for some reason I do. I found the book to be much better than the movie, and explained much of what didn't make sense in the movie. I still have the exact book I purchased back then, sitting on my shelf five feet away.

    The interesting thing is I didn't really know about any of FPW's other books until about five years ago. Who would have thought the characters from The Keep would be the beginning of a story told in so many books, each as good as the first or better? I've been reading his work religiously now for several years.

    If you haven't read The Keep, pick it up. Mystical strangers, Nazis, murders in a remote Keep, and a monster that makes Dracula look like a "Twilight" vampire...
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2011
  3. newfiesailor

    newfiesailor Northlander

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2011
    Messages:
    146
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    " "Something is murdering my men."

    Thus reads the message received from a Nazi commander stationed in a small castle high in the remote Transylvanian Alps. And when an elite SS extermination squad is dispatched to solve the problem, the men find a something that's both powerful and terrifying. Invisible and silent, the enemy selects one victim per night, leaving the bloodless and mutilated corpses behind to terrify its future victims. Panicked, the Nazis bring in a local expert on folklore--who just happens to be Jewish--to shed some light on the mysterious happenings. And unbeknownst to anyone, there is another visitor on his way--a man who awoke from a nightmare and immediately set out to meet his destiny.

    The battle has begun: On one side, the ultimate evil created by man, and on the other...the unthinkable, unstoppable, unknowing terror that man has inevitably awakened."


    How could I turn that down? :)
     
  4. Erfael

    Erfael Lemurs!!! Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 21, 2002
    Messages:
    4,197
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    123
    I agree. I had a busy weekend, so I'm only about 1/4 into it, so no comment yet aside from the fact that the first 1/4 of it read very smoothly.
     
  5. Sipwood

    Sipwood Registered User

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2011
    Messages:
    41
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I thoroughly enjoyed the first two thirds of the book, but I actually found the final third a bit of a let down.

    Before I go any further, what is the etiquette on these book of the month discussion forums? Do I assume that everybody has read it and therefore spoilers are permissable? Or if not, what level of spoiler is permissable (if any). I hate it when somebody on an online forum spoils either a book or a film for me, so I want to be careful that I dont commit the same sin.

    Just in case, more detailed comments below:

    I enjoyed the general set up, nazis in a castle, vampire, strange keep in a creepy pass, I mean what is not to like? However, I felt once the villain got revealed the story lost its way a little. I just didn't really buy into him as a credible character. It then got a little worse when it was revealed that he wasn't a vampire at all, but was some kind of centuries old manifestation of a battle against good and evil. I just didn't believe that such a powerful creature could be kept in the keep against his will once released. And there was no real explanation as to why the sword was the only thing that could kill him, or why it was seperated into two pieces, which just made no sense to me.

    Anyway, gripeing aside, certainly not a bad book, just a bit of a let down to me because I so enjoyed the first part. This is the first book by the author I have read, and I have just ordered a second hand copy of the next in the series (it seems difficult to get hold of in the UK - why ebooks are available in one country and not another is beyond me).
     
  6. Bastard

    Bastard Jack Bauer

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2009
    Messages:
    1,826
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I'm still looking to get me a copy of this, I'm trying to find a good mass paperback version, but having a bit of trouble finding a cheap one. So we'll see.
     
  7. Hobbit

    Hobbit Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2001
    Messages:
    11,342
    Likes Received:
    70
    Trophy Points:
    183
    Yup. Think you've got it. To discuss properly, it's inevitable - you've got to be able to discuss the plot!

    So it's fine, though personally I tend to put it in spoiler tags, just in case. As you have!

    B: It was very difficult to get for about a decade, and older editions are quite expensive! However the edition I've used above was released in the last year or so and should be easier to get.

    Don't know about cheaper, though!

    Mark
     
  8. ColdSun

    ColdSun The Enigmatic Paradox

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2007
    Messages:
    191
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    51
    Why don't you ask The Man himself on http://www.repairmanjack.com? I bet you could find a copy somewhere on there. My son actually has a newer edition, the one pictured in this thread (he picked it up at Borders here in Phoenix). I have the first edition that came out in the 80s.

    Myself, I enjoyed the last part of the book the most. It was unexpected.

    The bad guy not being a vampire but something even worse was very interesting for me. I always liked the idea that some myths and legends were based on facts, and this seems to be a theme in all of FPW's books. In the Repairman Jack books, he encounters many of the "Truth-behind-the-Myth" type creatures. He even encounters the Men in Black many people believe are involved in alien abductions.
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2011
  9. metalprof

    metalprof I should be working

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2009
    Messages:
    196
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Interesting! The Keep was the first FPW book I ever read, and like another poster, I read it after seeing the movie. This was a looong time ago. (And I also like the movie - in fact, it was my first or early introduction to not only Wilson but also Jurgen Prochnow, Ian McKellen, and Tangerine Dream, who are all favorites of mine nowadays.)

    I have no memory of Repairman Jack being in The Keep. Since The Keep takes place in WWII, Jack would be at best a kid, I think. I thought he was introduced in The Tomb, which takes place in more modern times. I know that the events of The Keep (and other characters like Glaeken) later become involved in the Repairman Jack storyline, but was Jack himself really in The Keep?

    (I know, I know, the easy answer is: just re-read it to find out! But I just decided to get started with the behemoth Under the Dome by Stephen King, so I might be involved in that one for a while. :)

    Ken
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2011
  10. Rob B

    Rob B \m/ BEER \m/ Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2000
    Messages:
    10,049
    Likes Received:
    6
    Trophy Points:
    173
    Actually, I think The Tomb introduces Repariman Jack. I'm about 1/3 to 1/2 into the book and no sign of the Repairman yet.

    On to what I think of the book thus far - very compelling. You know Wilson is doing something right if he can make members of the German army during World War II seem sympathetic. So far, the creepiness is in the shadows and the aftermath, Wilson doesn't yet show what did the bad things to the people in the keep, just the results.

    Since the book takes place near Transylvania, the first obvious suspicion to me is/was vampire. The characters even suggest this, but I hope Wilson does something a little bit different. Since a copy of the Necrinomicon is found in the Keep, perhaps he's going to connect either the Keep and/or vampires to the Old Ones of the Chthulu mythos.
     
  11. newfiesailor

    newfiesailor Northlander

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2011
    Messages:
    146
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I think the addition of those creepy/cool sounding books really hopped up my curiousity factor. Nice tactic.

    About 3/5 of the way through and enjoying some qualities; others not so much.

    Not a very deep book; could almost skim it easily if I wanted to and not think I would have missed much.

    Still, what's with those darn crosses? LOL.
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2011
  12. Hobbit

    Hobbit Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2001
    Messages:
    11,342
    Likes Received:
    70
    Trophy Points:
    183
    Apologies. You are quite right: I was misinformed. Repairman Jack cannot be seen in The Keep, as far as I know.

    Is now corrected. I think my brain was thinking Tomb, not Keep.

    Think of it as a Senior Moment!

    Mark
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2011
  13. Loerwyn

    Loerwyn Staff

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2009
    Messages:
    6,209
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I've got an interesting fact about the cover... Or at least I think it's a fact. The castle in Hobbit's image appears to be the very same one as used on the cover for a game called Castles:
    [​IMG]

    I've not heard of this book, nor this series, but it seems slightly Hellboy-ish. I'm a little intrigued now.
     
  14. Jon Sprunk

    Jon Sprunk Book of the Black Earth

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2009
    Messages:
    785
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    51
    I first read The Keep in the mid-80's. And then again after I saw the movie. (I concur that the movie wasn't as good, naturally, but at least it followed most of the book's plot. Vampire was really cheesy, if I remember correctly).

    Anyway, I loved the book. Great, chilling atmosphere.
     
  15. ColdSun

    ColdSun The Enigmatic Paradox

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2007
    Messages:
    191
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    51
    @Rob:

    FPW is a huge Lovecraft fan. The Keep is just part of his overall timeline (from a few book series). I won't give anything away, but you won't be disappointed. At the same time, you need to read the rest of the Adversary and Repairman Jack series to have many pieces that are just put in play in The Keep.

    Down with Rasalom!

    P.S. FPW recently co-wrote a great vampire novel with J.A. Konrath and a couple other guys called "Draculas." It was an action-packed gore-fest with vampires that make Dracula himself look like a character from "Twilight." I think the only way to get it is in ebook format though. I loved it and hope these guys decide to join forces again and continue the story.

    EDIT: I see it is now available in hardcover. The ebook version is only $2.99 though. http://www.amazon.com/Draculas-Nove...1183/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1304642930&sr=8-1
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2011
  16. newfiesailor

    newfiesailor Northlander

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2011
    Messages:
    146
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Slightly off topic. Excuse the mild threadjack.

    That's Bodiam Castle in East Sussex, UK, Cheerwell.

    If you're interested in castles, Cheerwell, I highly recommend Marc Morris's Castle: A History of the Buildings that shaped Medieval England. Great reading, not too technical and presents some interesting stories associated with each building. And of course, it too has Bodiam Castle on the cover. Pretty original fortification, as the huge moat gives the castle the appearance it is placed in the center of a small lake.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2011
  17. Loerwyn

    Loerwyn Staff

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2009
    Messages:
    6,209
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Excellent, thank you for the recommendation, newfie.

    Sorry about the little off-topic bit.
     
  18. Rob B

    Rob B \m/ BEER \m/ Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2000
    Messages:
    10,049
    Likes Received:
    6
    Trophy Points:
    173
    I thought FPW was a fan of Lovecraft and this book really does ooze with Lovecraftian darkness. In other words, Me likey.
     
  19. Snikt5

    Snikt5 www.Ritualofthestones.com

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2009
    Messages:
    85
    Likes Received:
    17
    Trophy Points:
    43
    That's weird I have just read this book without realising it was book of the month.

    I thoroughly enjoyed this story. Like others have said the first half of the book is stronger than the second. However, I really liked the explanation behind the monster and thought the loose ends all came together nicely.

    I was a little disappointed how one of the main POV characters seemed to just stop. I was satisfied with their end but thought it seemed to come to an abrupt end.

    That being said, atmosphere oozes out of every brick and in a world full of vampire tales, this older story comes up trump. I will definitely be checking out the other books in the Adversary cycle.
     
  20. Rob B

    Rob B \m/ BEER \m/ Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2000
    Messages:
    10,049
    Likes Received:
    6
    Trophy Points:
    173
    I finished the book on Saturday and thoroughly enjoyed the novel. I love the deep backstory hinted at for both the monster haunting the keep and his adversary.

    The ending was a bit trite, but it worked for the most part.

    Overall:
    -Great atmosphere
    -Solid characters
    -Believable menace
    -good climax