Full Circle.

F. Paul Wilson has worn several different hats in his career as a writer. He broke into publishing in the world of science fiction. With his landmark novel, The Keep, he established himself as a major horror talent. Later, Wilson became known as a thriller writer, mostly in the medical thriller subcategory. Later still, as he rejuvenated his Repairman Jack character, some people thought of F. Paul Wilson has a writer of urban fantasy fiction.

It all gets a little silly, doesn't it? F. Paul Wilson is a writer. His fiction encompasses all of the above pigeonholes, and more. Especially the intertwined Adversary Cycle and Repairman Jack books.

I got on board pretty early. I grabbed a copy of The Keep from the library back in the wee years of the 1980's. Immediately I became a huge fan of Wilson's work. And in the ensuing years I have never missed one of his books. And I have never been disappointed in anything written by F. Paul Wilson. I wish I could say that about all the writers I began reading in those days.

For those who've been living under a rock for the last twenty or so years, Nightworld is the culmination of the mythology that Wilson has been chronicling since he wrote The Keep. Though I have a pretty good idea that he had no idea it would lead to all of this when it was first published. The Keep ended up being the first in The Adversary Cycle.

The Adversary Cycle is a vast, epic story of two forces struggling with each other, in which the Earth is a battleground. It's far too complex for me to elaborate on in a brief review, and to be honest, the whole thing gets pretty dizzying to me. Now that I'm done reading them all, I feel like starting back over again.

Going back to 1984, Wilson's novel, The Tomb, introduced his most beloved creation: Repairman Jack. Jack is a average-looking guy who lives beneath the system. He makes his money by "fixing" peoples' problems. The kind of problems one does not contact the authorities about. Not just a mercenary, Jack fights injustice when he can. Survival and anonymity are among Jack's strongest instincts, but he also has a strong moral code.

Wilson ended his Adversary Cycle in 1992, with a novel called Nightworld, and he moved on with his fiction. But as with Repairman Jack, fate had other plans in store for F. Paul Wilson.

Wilson revived the Repairman Jack character in some short stories, but that wasn't enough for fans who demanded more. So, in 1998, F. Paul Wilson brought Repairman Jack back, with a novel called Legacies. After that, more novels featuring Jack followed, as Wilson began to integrate the character into an ambitious reworking of The Adversary Cycle.

Some readers disliked the way Wilson was rewriting his own mythos, but most of us, I think, have been overjoyed to have all of these new books that feature the Repairman Jack character that we love so much. It's been a long, fun ride. Fifteen books in all.

And now we face the end of the story that we love so much. The "heavily revised" version of Nightworld has just been published. It is essentially the same story, but it's much more fleshed out. And also more satisfying. Though I did miss the Joe Bob Briggs Doomsday Movie Marathons in the old Nightworld.

All the Repairman Jack/Adversary Cycle books and stories are page-turners, but Nightworld is probably the most gripping and suspenseful, and emotionally devastating. Nightworld is also probably the darkest, both figuratively and literally, novel that F. Paul Wilson has yet published. You'll be shocked at some of the diabolically horrific things he comes up with in Nightworld.

And now it's time for fans to bid a teary-eyed adieu to Repairman Jack. Well, not until Wilson gives us two more books that feature Jack's early days in NYC. After that it's all over. That is, if the fans allow it. If Arthur Conan Doyle was forced to bring back Sherlock Holmes after he thought he was done with the character, perhaps F. Paul Wilson will write about Repairman Jack again at a later date. Either way it doesn't matter. I will follow him wherever his literary muse takes him. As should you.

Review by Mark Sieber

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