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Nightworld: A Repairman Jack Novel (Adversary Cycle/Repairman Jack) Hardcover – May 22, 2012
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“Simply put, Nightworld is F. Paul Wilson's masterpiece.... Highly recommended.” ―SFRevu
“Sci-Fi, horror, crime: it's hard to define Wilson's tale since it cannily incorporates all genres and, as always, the pivotal point is the inimitable Repairman Jack, one of the most original characters ever introduced to readers. ” ―RT Reviews, 4 1/2 stars on The Dark At the End
“Repairman Jack is one of the most original and intriguing characters to arise out of contemporary fiction in ages. His adventures are hugely entertaining.” ―Dean Koontz, New York Times bestselling author of Strangers
“A canny mix of sci-fi paranoia and criminal mayhem. Bloodline starts fast, keeps the accelerator down, and defies you to stop reading.” ―Entertainment Weekly
- Publisher : Tor Books; 1st edition (May 22, 2012)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 400 pages
- ISBN-10 : 076532167X
- ISBN-13 : 978-0765321671
- Item Weight : 1.35 pounds
- Dimensions : 6.49 x 1.4 x 9.47 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,347,250 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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So this is it. This was the novel I'd heard a lot about. I may have started with The Keep, but I knew that this was the book where the End Times hit. I knew it was going to get dark and ugly, and we'd have an Avengers-style meeting of protagonists come together to stop it. Was it worth the slog of the last three novels? Is it an epic horror tale in its own right? Did he get it right?
In short: barely, yes, and not entirely.
Wilson gets the action going right away this time, and from beginning to end you know the crap is hitting the fan. He juggles mutliple characters coming back from mutiple stories, and the whole thing feels like a real epic conclusion to an entire literary universe. All told, it's an ambitious outing, and if I had read the Repairman Jack novels I bet I would have been altogether satisfied.
But I didn't read them. Again, I didn't think I had to. And much to my surprise, not only did I not get answers to a few lingering plot points from Reprisal, I encountered serveral characters and references to events that were obviously from the Jack novels. It wasn't enough to confuse me, but it certainly lowered the impact of the story in places. This is often what happens in crossover event stories, so you learn to accept that either you read the tie-in books or you just let it go. Still, I was surprised at how reliant the story was on Repairman Jack plot points, as Wilson had apparently rewritten Nightworld to accomodate his successful Jack novels.
Also, Wilson skimped on the epilogue. I'm a believer that the longer your series goes, the more important it is to wrap things up in a nice epilogue, give your characters some decent closure. He didn't really do justice to some of the characters he dragged back into the fray.
So in the end, I don't regret my time with Wilson and the Adversary Cycle, but it's clear to me that the path to truly enjoying Wilson's fictional universe was through Repairman Jack. As such, I have to say that the ultimate litmus test for whether it's worth the trip will depend on whether you like Jack and his stories. If you do, then you're probably find the Adversary Cycle a worthwhile journey. Otherwise, you might want to look elsewhere.
Rasalom, the ancient sorcerer from the “First Age of humans,” is back with a vengeance! His reincarnated form transforms Earth into a merciless hell. Rasalom shortens the daylight hours, turning our planet into a “Nightworld.” A plague of fearsome flesh-eating monsters preys on the world’s populace whenever darkness falls. Riots break out over food, gangs wage war on the public, and Rasalom grows stronger as he feeds on the increasing chaos.
“Nightworld” is F. Paul Wilson’s Adversary Cycle, an apocalyptic finale. Repairman Jack and Glaeken search the world for miraculous items needed to stop the hideously transformed Rasalom while gathering a reluctant legion of surviving characters from the previous novels for a last stand.
If I could give “Nightworld” 6-Stars, I would. Don’t miss this one.
Top reviews from other countries
It is possible now to see this as part II of The Dark at the End (Repairman Jack) - and so we have an extended and expanded version of the original "Adversary" series, that focuses more on Jack and his connection to everything. Finally we understand what place "Munroe" village has in the secret history, for example.
If you have followed the series and are hooked, then this book is gripping reading and in fact, almost compulsory reading. Anybody else is best warned off and pointed to an earlier point in the timeline. The atmosphere here is bleak and hopeless - the outlook for every character is totally depressing. But what Wilson explores is how we all find meaning and the will to go on, when we know there is no realistic hope. What is it about human beings that keeps them going and keeps them optimistic?
For some of the characters it is other people who keep them going - but inevitably for some, they have to find the strength within themselves and that is the main dynamic running through the action in this part of the story. We get some really horrific scenes and the descriptions of a Lovecraft-like dystopia will probably be the most obvious characterisation. But in a way, this is more like Michael Moorcock's idea of chaos and law acting out across the multiverse.
As human beings we are beset by the vagaries of a chaotic world and we have to find our own order in a universe that gives up no clues as to meaning. What is more noticable in this revised version of events, is the idea of God and the Heavens abandoning us. We are here in a world, where it's just us against the chaos and futility. Bill is the main character who has lost his faith, but throughout this book, all of them realise that they are on their own and have to find a solution within themselves and cannot rely on support from elsewhere.
In summary, fans will find more of what they have already enjoyed about this series and will be happy with the extended explanations and integration of Jack and his family within the final conflict. Of course there are going to be more and we already see prequels like Cold City (Repairman Jack) on the horizon - but this is a satisfying conclusion.
`Nightworld' is where it all ends. What began with `The Keep' and was continued through a number (one could almost say innumerable) `Repairman Jack' novels is tied up and finished in this novel. In it we say goodbye to a number of favourite characters (both good and bad) and some which should never have been allowed into print. It's a good novel, but a novel of two-halves.
On the plus side this is a fine end to the Adversary Cycle/ Secret History of the World Cycle which has taken up the more recent Repairman Jack novels (inc. the Young Repairman Jack novels). Praise where praise is due, the sheer readability of these novels has kept me returning to F. Paul Wilson year-on-year, as a new novel in the sequence is published.
As in all good horror novels the characters aren't too overdeveloped* (we never get a look into the inner lives of most of them), rather the novel is events driven, yet they have become well known to us over the past few years. It also has Rasalom (aka. The Adversary, Sara Lom, Rafe Losmara, Sal Roma: the possibilities are endless - let the reader understand), perhaps one of the most ridiculously bad baddies in recent years. It is the perfect read for a long journey home. The ideas are also interesting: Chaos/ Gravity Holes, airborne Leviathans, creates from the chaos realms etc. There is also Wilson's ability to understand and write about society on the edge, of what humanity might be like were the rules of society suddenly to disappear, though one cannot help but think that this has more to do with his right wing political philosophy (Libertarianism) than it is necessarily to do with his creative spark.
On the negative side: What F. Paul Wilson has never done well and which hasn't been improved in the rewrite is the twee nature of Jeffy and the Gia/ Vicky relationship. In what should be the darkest of horror novels, charting the end of civilisation as we know it, these two bring light and insufferable childish niceness so that when they appear, my heart immediately sinks. Whilst the latter is (unfortunately) integral to the plot, I do wish the former had remained a thought in Wilson's head or had been edited out at an earlier stage in the cycle.
There is also the problem of the constant and often near indecipherable Americanisms which litter the text - yes Wilson is an American author, but American authors seem to get stuck on Americanism which makes their novels appear provincial to those who live on the other side of the Atlantic and thus who don't share their product driven society. I appreciate that Wilson is an American author, but at times it seems that the novel is being used one longer commercial break, so constant is the product placement. (I don't care what brand of "beer" Jack drinks, or that he uses a Glock as opposed to a H&K or a Smith and Wesson; such information is superfluous and detracts from the text. English, even American English, is a versatile language, it does not need to limited to popular brand names.) The use of Yiddish idioms by Abe Grossman is, however, more understandable, it fits within his character framework, rather like a Englishman in foreign climes this tendency has become more and more pronounced as the novels progress. What it does mean though, is that if someone does not understand the American/ New Yorker idiom, it can be very difficult to understand exactly what it being said.
Finally, too much time has been wasted finding places for earlier characters from the Repairman Jack/ Adversary cycle, characters whose presence add little/ nothing to the text other than to have a walk-on part, these characters seem to have been included merely to remind us of his earlier work (and perhaps to encourage us to re-read them). One has to wonder if it is an attempt to get us to go back and read his back catalogue, in a similar way to that of `Repairman Jack: By the Sword' was an attempt to re-launch his earlier novel `Black Wind'.
Does the world need a new and expanded version of `Nightworld'? Yes and no. YES, because it updates the novel to bring it into line with the recent Repairman Jack/ Secret History of the World corpus. This series of novels have taken the story well beyond the scope of the 1992: there are new characters, Rasalom has been explored and expanded as the role of Jack. It also reassigns parts of the story to other (newer) characters, whilst others find themselves pretty much written out of the text.
NO, because the novel does not go far enough in some ways. It is too much an expansion of the 1992 novel, it retains too much of the original and it doesn't extend the novel so much as expand it - all that takes place, takes place within the scope of the original novel. One can't help but think that if Wilson had taken the opportunity to rethink and rewrite the novel a much better novel would have emerged from this process. What we get is a larger (sometimes bloated) version of the original - Abe Grossman would no doubt be proud!
In spite of my criticisms on style Wilson remains one of my favourite writers, one to whom I can return again and again.
Coda: Naturally you are not going to begin reading F. Paul Wilson's work with this novel. If you are new to it (and this review hasn't put you off) then start with `The Keep' and go from there, you won't be disappointed.
* 'Dracula' is perhaps one of the most famous and most read horror novels in history, yet in terms of literature it is very badly written, with little or no character development, yet it remains one of the most important and most read books in its genre.
Note that FPW has now essentially re-told the adversary cycle plot from the perspective of his most popular character Repairman Jack who was introduced in "The Tomb". This series of books are generally more entertaining and lighter in tone (due mostly to Jack's colourful personality and his ability to always keep control) and now appear to be changing the plot considerably from the original story. For this reason this book will soon be re-released with major revisions. I'll certainly be getting the new version.
Lovecraftian horrific monsters. Compelling terror. Jack good in a tight corner. Very good shoehorning overall of too many characters. A number of naive bad guys meet an appropriately gruesome death... sadly, but fair, some of the good guys meet a grim death also. Many dramatic fight scenes. The end of the world was very inventive.
Sometimes the shoehorning of the characters doesn't quite work. The Hawaiian sidestory takes Jack away for too long, and is too much of a distraction from the mega events taking place elsewhere. Rasalom's conversation seemed a bit trite for a world ending entity. What was he going to do when everybody had been eaten? Could have done with more world collapsing scenes, and the authorities attempts to restrain the bad things. Humanity rolls over a little easier than it would.
Both Gia and Sylvia in particular (shame she wasn't eaten) betray a level of stubborness that is in fact out right stupidity in the face of the evidence. It felt jarring. The heroes were too passive for too long. This was true in the last two Repairman Jack novels. It was clear Rasalom should have been taken on much earlier, Glaeken's passivity was never fully explained. The sing a happy song bit at the end... hmm would have left it out. Finally (and perhaps most importantly), plotline dropped, there was lots of evidence in previous novels that some force was affecting Jack, that he was the Heir... all that been suddenly dropped made no sense.