Great horror movies weren't the only reasons 1981 was a great year! In this great year, we also got the all-time greatest horror books that you've probably never heard about. Yes, we got such films as My Bloody Valentine, An American Werewolf in London, Friday the 13th Part 2, and more, but personally, I feel the best part of this year is The Keep. nce there is no book review section on HorrorBid (are you listening, BooMan?), I'm posting this in Horror Movie Talk. I first decided to buy The Keep after I saw the more publicly-known film based on the book (which you should really see). I got the book from a used book store, and lets just say it's almost falling apart I've read it so often nce then.
The Keep F. Paul Wilson Book Review
The book is about Captain Woermann, a member of the German Army, asgned to guard the Dinu pass in Romania while staying in an ancient keep, which is filled with nickel and brass crosses embedded in its walls. One night, a private finds a cross that is made of lver and gold. Thinking there's more behind it, he removes the block it is embedded in, and gets his head ripped off by an ancient evil that he has set free by removing the block. The evil begins killing other members of the German Army in the keep, and it always strikes at night. The einsatzkommandos are called in, headed by Major Kaempffer, Woermann's natural enemy nce the Great War.
As the killing persts, the two are forced to call in the ill and wheelchair bound Dr. Theodore Cuza and his daughter Magda, who are Jewish and know more about the keep than anyone else. They are told to find out what's killing their men, or else they will be sent to a concentration camp in Ploiesti. Theodore has an encounter with the evil entity, who goes by the name of Molasar. Cuza befriends Molasar, due to their common hate for the Germans. Molasar plans to exit the keep and destroy the Nazi party, just as soon as Theodore hides a talisman in the mountains that is the source of his power. However, a stranger who goes by the name of Glenn rides into the village, and seems to know more about the keep than he's letting on. Magda falls for Glenn, and soon becomes his lover,as Molasar grows stronger and heals Cuza of his illness. Who is truly good? Who is truly bad?
I just want to express right here and now that F. Paul Wilson is the greatest author EVER. He manages to be very descriptive, but not bore the reader to death with a full page of descriptions. I was immediately held captive by the book, and I did not want to let go until the epic concluon. Things introduced in the flow of the story that you feel have little importance to the story turn out to have important meaning (just what is the deal with those crosses?), and the story has more twists than a box of Twizzlers. The majority of the novel is Gothic horror (very well-done Gothic horror at that), and it also seems to be part fairy tale. When you get down to it, it's just your standard good vs. evil tale, but it manages to make the book better.
While the horror elements were great, the thing that really makes the book something to write home about more than once is the depth the characters have. They're not all shells waiting to get their throats ripped out, their genuine, believable people. Woermann and Kaempffer's rivalry is credible, and the dialogue between the two never feels stiff or unrealistic. Magda and Theodore's father/daughter relationship also is well-written, and you can almost feel their emotions when Glenn comes into the picture. Magda and Glenn's romance is as wholesome as you can get, and it adds a whole layer of depth to their love than in the movie. In fact, the book is so realistic in terms of historical events and supernatural forces that I wouldn't be surprised if it had been written during World War II!
If you can't tell how much I love this book, let me put it this way: Take the greatness of The Shining, add in some Highlander, and multiply the greatness of those two things by infinity. That's how good The Keep is. Even though there's some very scary and creepy scenes of Gothic horror, it has a childhood innocence to it that's hard to find in a lot of books. Like I said, it's almost like a bedtime story made for adults that will captivate you from start to finish, never letting go for you to stop and catch your breath. It's always toying with your emotions and moral beliefs: How far should you go to obey your father? Is new love more important than your parents? The characters have a real depth to them, and the descriptions author F. Paul Wilson provides mply must be seen to be believed. It's fast-paced, seriously entertaining fun, and it gets the highest of ratings from me. If you conder yourself a fan of the horror genre, The Keep is not to be missed. And while you're at it, check out that sweet movie!