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The Keep (Adversary Cycle #1)

3.98  ·  Rating Details  ·  13,293 Ratings  ·  481 Reviews

“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. Invisible and silent, the enemy selects one victim per night, leaving the bloodless and mutilated corpses behind to terrify its future victims.

When an elite SS extermination squad is dispatched to solve the problem, the me

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Published July 1st 2010 by F. Paul Wilson (first published 1981)
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Sherry Lamb The Novel reveals at the beginning that it looks like a castle but is too small so it was classified as a keep. Later, the professor in the novel says…moreThe Novel reveals at the beginning that it looks like a castle but is too small so it was classified as a keep. Later, the professor in the novel says that it is not a keep; it is unique; the professor says it was called the keep probably for lack of a better name. That is all that I see which is in the book. Probably F. Paul Wilson thought the title: The Keep was better than the title: The Unique Structure which had No Name.(less)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Dirk Grobbelaar
He was dead. And yet not dead.

I’ve long been meaning to read The Keep. It is the first in the Adversary Cycle, and ties in with the (later) Repairman Jack novels. I have also seen it mentioned on numerous top-ten lists pertaining to Vampire Horror (although, to be fair, the author is very specific about the nature of his antagonist – but this is spoiler territory so I won’t go there).

So, does it live up to expectation?

Something in that air caused the hair on his arms and at the base of his neck
David Sven
Apr 27, 2014 David Sven rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
It's Castle Wolfenstein - Zombie Nazi edition! 'Donnerwetter!' did I hear you say? 'Not mitt ze Shweinhund Zombies again!'

Just kidding...almost. There are Nazis in a Castle - or rather a Keep, in Romania, in the Transylvanian Alps, and there is something undead inside, and our story is set in 1941.

The SS take over an abandoned haunted Keep. The SS unwittingly let something loose in the Keep. The SS start dying horrible deaths - and Nazi's being turned into chunky bits is always a good thing. I c
Scott Sigler
Nov 07, 2015 Scott Sigler rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Such a fun book. Vampires and Nazis — what could go wrong? An isolated keep full of ne'er do-wells from the Third Reich, but oh man do they get their comeuppance at the hands of a very old bro who is pissed as hell that someone be all up in his hizzouse.

The only knock on this book is the dated damsel in distress plot line, the unbelievably beautiful woman who, for most of the book, is little more than a cowering, confused lass that can't come to grips with the reality in front of her. This ain'
Oct 17, 2011 Lou rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wilson is a skilled story-teller who knows how to write a good plot and intertwine a story with healthy mix of terror romance and history.The story is about The Keep an intriguing fortress where one by one men are murdered by a mysterious being. The victims are german soldiers, I found myself backing the perpetrators blood thirst of ridding The Keep of the invaders of Romania, but there seems to be a more sinister purpose to what is taking place. Thoroughly enjoyed the story highly recommend it, ...more
Feb 03, 2010 Becca rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, novels
This is one of the worst books I have ever read. A friend recommended it to me, and against my better judgment, I took a copy with me on vacation. The writing style is very cliché - it feels like he has taken whole sentences from other horror writers and strung them together to create this work. The plot is forseeable, the characters are cheesy and annoying, the story seems to be rooted in pseudo-history...not quite accurate enough to seem like a real era, and not quite fantastical enough to tra ...more
Mar 26, 2011 Cy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Uncle Randy
Dec 10, 2008 Uncle Randy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Read and re-read, a really good vampire story set in WW2. There was a sourcebook out that gave more backstory to this tale, also worth reading but nearly impossible to find. This is part of a series of books which didn't appear connectd at first, but were brought together nicely in the end with a fantastic 5th book. Worth noting all 5 books stand alone nicely for those who don't like to read a series. While Repairman Jack was introduced in these stories, it was only in the last few, and these ar ...more
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja)
I was glad that I went into this book unaware of many of the plot elements. It made for a more exciting read. Despite this, I was still surprised as things turn out to be not as they seemed. I liked F. Paul Wilson's writing voice. It's erudite and sophisticated. He did his research about WW2 and what was going on in Europe at this time. The aspects of the Nazis' treatment of the Jews and the Gypsies made my heart hurt. I can't and never will understand such barbarity, cruelty, and inhumanity. Mr ...more
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"

Rating = 3.49 stars

This is a sort of Lovecraftian historical fiction, if you will. Or even if you won't.
Romania, 1941. The Nazis encounter an ancient entity almost as evil as themselves. Only a Jewish scholar and his daughter and a mysterious red-haired man can save them.

I liked this older work better than Wilson's Repairman Jack novels, which tend to be overlong and feel repetitive after you've read a few of them.
Ranked among the best horror novels of the twentieth century, and credited with shaping the landscape of that same genre through the 80s, it's hard not to be a little disappointed with what is on offer in The Keep. The set-up is quite good, with something unleashed from its hold in an abandoned keep stalking the German soldiers that have taken over said structure in the midst of WW2. For about a third of the novel, Wilson keeps the pace rattling along nicely, as the thing from the crypt murders ...more
Feb 23, 2015 Priit rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ma tõesti tahtsin, et see raamat mulle rohkem meeldiks. Idee on ju lollikindel – natside sõjaväeüksus asub postile Transilvaania mägikindluses ning nendega hakkavad juhtuma üleloomulikud ebameeldivused. Sellest lihtsast ideest saaks luua niivõrd vinge loo, ent autor piirdus kahjuks vaid keskpärasega.

Stoori on nagu mõni Allo! Allo! stsenaarium: natsid kutsuvad end päästma mustlastega semmiva juudi soost professori ning tema kauni neitsiliku tütre. Süžee kulgeb muidu õuduslugude traditsioonilist r
Apr 18, 2016 Matthew rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, 2015, vampires
I have to say that after reading The Keep i was pretty darn disappointed. I actually liked the book, which is why it got three stars from me. SS Nazi troops in an old spooky castle being terrorized by an unknown ancient evil(the cover of my copy gives away the monster) sounded great to me. The Keep was filled with many potentially great themes that could have been explored, but it ended up feeling like F. Paul Wilson was brainstorming awesome ideas and then tossing them away. His writing style d ...more
Cheryl Landmark
Dec 05, 2011 Cheryl Landmark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mr. Wilson did an admirable job of mixing history, horror and romance in a gripping, chilling tale of a monster haunting a mysterious keep in the mountains of Romania during World War II.

The cast of characters really made the story what it was. Underneath the German uniform, Captain Woermann was really not a bad man. He disagreed with the policies and actions of Hitler and the SS and tried to atone for his own failings. Major Kaempffer of the SS, on the other hand, was a truly sadistic and bruta
Dec 19, 2007 Mark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: vampire fans wanting something new
Shelves: horror
This is the first book in "the adversary cycle" series of novels. It doesn't end on any kind of cliffhanger, though, so it can definitely be read on its own.

The Plot
There are basically 2 forces in the universe: Chaos and light. Both forces have their own agents. In "The Keep", we meet 2 of them.

It's 1941 in Europe. The Germans have invaded Poland and are extending into Romania. A German regular army company has been ordered to occupy a keep in a mountain pass in Romania because it has a good vie
Trev Twinem
This book was a disappointment to me. I was hoping that the idea of a no of SS troops billeted in the aptly named "Keep" would be the recipe for a great story. However this never developed and the usual battle of good v evil occurred mixed in with a rather odd love story, resulting in a somewhat boring and pedestrian tale...not recommended!
Nancy Oakes
Jan 22, 2009 Nancy Oakes rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
first in a series called The Adversary Cycle

The Keep is a high kind of "mini-castle" set in the mountains of Romania. The story takes place before America's entry into WWII.

A detachment of German army soldiers is sent to the keep, which is situated so that anyone coming or going through a certain pass which leads to the invaluable Ploesti oil fields can be spotted. The first night there, there is a grisly and strange death. A few days later, an SS squad under the leadership of an overzealous com
Mike (the Paladin)
I read this book some years ago (I seem to say that a lot). I ran across it on the "Best Heroic Fantasy" list. I wouldn't really rate it "Heroic Fantasy"...anyway.

Is the villain really the "proto-vampire"? Is the hero maybe as bad as the villain? These and other questions will be answered...but you need to get through it to the end. It's not a bad book but I've read a lot better.

Th two main characters are linked together,immortal since what we are told is the first age of the world. One evil the
Nandakishore Varma
Feb 01, 2016 Nandakishore Varma rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
I remember this book terrifying me when I read it in the early eighties. However, the horror is all reserved for the early chapters - towards the end, it becomes more of a thriller.

This one is really old-fashioned. A centuries-old evil and its centuries-old nemesis fighting it out in a Transylvanian castle during the Nazi occupation. There is also a Jewish exorcist (well, folklorist, actually) and his beautiful daughter in the mix.

If you love vintage ghost stories, this should be your cup of tea
Benjamin Thomas
Feb 10, 2015 Benjamin Thomas rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, world-war-ii
I came to this novel a little differently than most people. I have read all 15 of the Repairman Jack novels over the last several years, (not counting short stories and the prequel histories), not realizing that the Adversary Cycle should really be read in parallel. So when I finished The Dark at the End I decided I needed to hold off on Nightworld until I had completed this other group of five or six novels. That way I will be ready for the final climactic novel at the end where both series cul ...more
Aug 07, 2010 Steve rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, horror
To date, the best Wilson I've read. Pretty creepy story where the bad guys (the Nazis) meet a really bad guy -- or thing, in a castle located in the Balkans. The setting is damn near perfect. I think the story suffered a bit at the end when Wilson shifted gears to throw a bit of a curve ball at the readers expectations. I don't think that was needed, but overall a minor complaint.
May 13, 2010 Stephen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, horror
This was my first foray into Wilson's "Secret History of the World" and it fueled my interest in reading more! The book flows easily and keeps the reader guessing until the very end. Highly Recommended!
Mar 26, 2015 Alondra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
3.5 Stars

Book blurb:

"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.

My thoughts...

For those of us looking for a t
Apr 21, 2010 L rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My son encourages me to read Wilson's work. I tried, and cannot do, the Repairman Jack stuff--too violent & too vigilante (even if he is on the side of goodness and light). This did not go the same "abandoned" route. In fact, instead of hitting the dance studio last night I sat home reading! I'm torn between a 4 and a 5, in the horror genre, so I'm rounding up.

Interesting tale. Wilson gives us three levels of evil. There is the banal evil, in the form of the German military captain; he's ap
Christopher Hivner
The Keep has a cool premise. A garrison of German soldiers during WWII are sent to occupy a small, oddly constructed keep in Romania. The first night there, two of the soldiers, in an attempt to steal a gold cross, disturb the keep's only occupant. In the following days, they don't make it through the night without a soldier being killed. An SS regiment is sent to stop whatever is going on, but men continue to die. There is also great tension between the SS commander and the German army commande ...more
Jun 26, 2009 Jesse rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of dark fantasy and historical fiction
This book would have been a solid 4 for me, had it not morphed from one story type into another at least 2 (maybe 3) times. It starts off as a kind of pastiche of three authors: H.P. Lovecraft, Robert E. Howard, and Clark Ashton Smith. This is the part of the book I enjoyed the most, when there was an unknowable horror stalking the titular keep. We had an old academic brought in to try and figure out why people are dying, and some books from Lovecrafts Cthulhu mytho's are found. Add to this mix ...more
May 24, 2011 Jason rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, read-2011
I think this book might have been a much more entertaining read if read when it was first released. Today, F. Paul Wilson's The Keep feels like a hundred different books I've read. Which isn't to say that this is a bad book. I gave it two stars in accordance to what Goodreads define each star to mean. Two stars is "It was okay". And that's what's wrong with this book. It's just okay. There's nothing great or new here. The characters are all familiar. It is, however, an interesting take on vampir ...more
Apr 27, 2012 Isidore rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Although Wilson cites an "obvious debt" to Lovecraft and Clark Ashton Smith in the book's acknowledgments, there is no sign here of either writer's world-view or literary craftsmanship; I suppose he is referring to his perfunctory and irrelevant mention of various Mythos tomes. If Wilson resembles any of the old Weird Tales crew, it would be Seabury Quinn.

I am puzzled by the enthusiasm others feel for this flatly-written, predictable, and crudely melodramatic novel.
Emily Crow
Actual rating: 2.5 stars

I'm a little miffed at this book for not being the story it could have been. It had such an awesome beginning, with Nazis being picked off one by one in a creepy deserted keep...apparently by a vampire. The commander sends a message stating "Something is murdering my men," and is soon joined by an SS troop and their loathsome major. This had such potential to be a creepy, claustrophobic horror story of the kind I adore.

Instead, about halfway through, the story changes ab
Reread in 2010. Nazis and evil entities duking it out in a 500 year old castle in the Romainian mountains...what more do you want from a quick-read thriller? This novel pre-dates the current spate of vampire/evil-entity novels by about 20 years, and is at least as good. But, if your looking for character depth, historical accuracy, sophisticated plot line, then your reading should take you elsewhere. Wilson is a kind of poor-mans King, or even Koontz.
-Aunque el pulp se vista de seda...-

Género. Narrativa Fantástica.

Lo que nos cuenta. En la Segunda Guerra Mundial, un destacamento de soldados alemanes destinados a un paso de montaña en los Cárpatos durante la primavera de 1941 está viendo morir de forma inquietante a sus hombres entre los muros de la antigua posición fortificada en la que se alojan. Tras la petición de ayuda del oficial al mando, se dirige al lugar un oficial de las SS con refuerzos, pero también irán allí un erudito hebreo que
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Goodreads Librari...: Incorrect book cover 3 20 Mar 19, 2015 07:11PM  
Was anyone else rather disappointed by the genre shift near the end? 9 91 Jan 22, 2015 10:48AM  
Night of the Livi...: April 2013 Selection: The Keep 1 4 Jan 04, 2014 12:48PM  
the keep 3 51 Jan 02, 2013 12:40AM  
Other Books by F. Paul Wilson 8 66 Jun 04, 2012 05:56AM  
  • The Wolf's Hour
  • Vampyrrhic
  • Books of Blood: Volume Three (Books of Blood #3)
  • Ghoul  (Special X, #2)
  • The Traveling Vampire Show
  • Dark Hollow
  • All Heads Turn When the Hunt Goes By
  • The Store
  • Children of the Night
  • The Wolfen
  • Graverobbers Wanted: No Experience Necessary (Andrew Mayhem #1)
  • The Sentinel
  • The Light at the End
Francis Paul Wilson is an author, born in Jersey City, New Jersey. He writes novels and short stories primarily in the science fiction and horror genres. His debut novel was Healer (1976). Wilson is also a part-time practicing family physician. He made his first sales in 1970 to Analog and continued to write science fiction throughout the seventies. In 1981 he ventured into the horror genre with t ...more
More about F. Paul Wilson...

Other Books in the Series

Adversary Cycle (6 books)
  • The Tomb (Adversary Cycle, #2) (Repairman Jack, #1)
  • The Touch (Adversary Cycle, #3)
  • Reborn (Adversary Cycle, #4)
  • Reprisal (Adversary Cycle, #5)
  • Nightworld (Adversary Cycle, #6)

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