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Literature / The Adversary Cycle

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The Adversary Cycle is a seven-novel horror series by F. Paul Wilson. It runs parallel to the Repairman Jack series. It contains the following books:

  1. The Keep
    • This was made into a (poorly received) movie in 1983.
  2. The Tomb (Also a Repairman Jack novel)
  3. The Touch
  4. Reborn
  5. Reprisal
  6. Signalz
  7. Nightworld

The Adversary Cycle series contains examples of:

  • Actually Not a Vampire: The main antagonist in The Keep is an Atlantean sorcerer/antichrist, but he pretends to be a Wallachian nationalist vampire in order to persuade an old professor to help him, and fakes a set of weaknesses different from his real ones.
  • All Germans Are Nazis: Averted by Captain Klaus Woermann, a grumpy anti-Nazi German officer.
  • And I Must Scream: In The Keep, this is implied to be the fate of Rasalom's victims. He can control the bodies of those he kills, and we see that Woermann is still conscious and thinking after being killed by Rasalom. Woermann even frantically tries to do something, anything, to stop the way Rasalom is using him but is helpless to so. As such, when Rasalom goes all Night of the Living Mooks toward the end of the book, there's a chance that every single dead soldier is desperately trying to resist being forced to kill their friends and fellow soldiers and is completely helpless to stop what they see themselves doing.
  • The Antichrist: Rasalom is actually much worse than this, but religious people often mistake him for it. Also, in Reborn, a group of religious people think Jim is the Antichrist after learning that he's a clone.
  • Apocalypse How: Rasalom's goal is to achieve a Class 6, wiping out all indigenous life on Earth and replacing it with Otherness creatures. The actual outcome is a severe Class 1 (human die-back) to Class 2 (civilization collapse), with total annihilation for Hawaii.
  • Big "NO!": Subverted as Rasalom is only pretending he's been defeated to Mind Screw his Arch-Nemesis.
  • Black-and-Grey Morality: In The Keep, it's Rasalom vs. Nazis. Guess who's worse. Also, the Otherness vs. the Ally in general. The Ally isn't evil for the sake of being evil, but it certainly does horrible things. However, Earth needs the Ally to win because the Otherness would be much, much worse.
  • Body Horror: Many cases, but one of the most notable ones occurred with Danny Gordon in Reprisal.
  • Buried Alive: Danny Gordon in Reprisal.
  • Collapsing Lair: Explained as being due to the Big Bad using his magic to counteract the laws of physics. When he dies, nature reasserts itself and the underground cavern starts to collapse due to the weight of the ground above.
  • Cosmic Horror Story: The Ally doesn't care about humanity; it protects Earth simply because the Otherness wants the planet, which is just another piece in their endless struggle for some unknown cause.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: The entire plot of the appropriately named Reprisal is Rasalom's revenge on Bill for almost causing Carol to have a miscarriage when she was pregnant with him by refusing to have an affair with her. The goodness of him refusing to break his vows as a priest did this, so it wasn't like Bill almost killed him on purpose. Rasalom responds by ruining Bill's life, mostly by committing horrible atrocities on the people close to him. Rasalom seems to do this a lot.
  • Dystopia Justifies the Means: With the Otherness.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The Otherness, whose sheer scale (Earth is at most a tiny secondary backdrop to its greater conflict with the Ally) puts the "Cosmic" back in Cosmic Horror; some of the things spawned from it also qualify.
  • Fetch Quest: In Nightworld the protagonists have to assemble a sword of the kind used to defeat Rasalom in The Keep, using the broken parts of prior magic artifacts. This is made more difficult than usual given that The End of the World as We Know It is happening and giant flesh-eating monsters are roaming the earth gobbling up anything that moves, including aircraft.
  • Fold-Spindle Mutilation: The death of Alan in Nightworld, jammed into the gap under a door so the Otherness vermin can't get in.
  • Giant Flyer: Repairman Jack is flying through an ash cloud over the Pacific Ocean when he suddenly thinks they're flying too close to the ground, only to see a Giant Eye of Doom staring back at him from a titanic flying leviathan several miles in diameter. Another protagonist heading over the Atlantic has a leviathan swoop down on their jet, which escapes by flying close to the water then banking hard at the last second. The creature's huge wingspan causes it to clip the water and crash as it tries to follow.
  • Gravity Screw: The "gravity holes" in Nightworld, which cause anything within them to float upward inexorably. They first affect humans, then cars, then buildings, then an entire city bridge.
  • Joisey: Apparently, New Jersey is an annex of Lovecraft Country.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Hank Thompson decides to wait out the end of the world in a secure location, only for his van to be stopped at a roadblock run by members of his own Kicker cult. He's shot, robbed of everything he has and abandoned for the night creatures.
  • Lethal Harmless Powers: The Dat-tay-vao in The Touch, while normally a healing power, can work in reverse if someone gets in the way of the person who has it.
  • The Night That Never Ends: Nightworld has the threat of this trope, as every day the sun inexplicably rises later and sets earlier than the last.
  • Night of the Living Mooks: In The Keep Rasolom controls the corpses of the dead soldiers, and at one point uses them to slaughter all of the Germans still alive in The Keep.
  • Only the Chosen May Wield: In Nightworld the protagonists reforge a magic sword that's their last chance to defeat the Rasalom. Repairman Jack is the obvious candidate to replace the aging Glaeken who's wielded it in the past, but Jack balks at an eternity of servitude to the Ally, and so offers everyone else in the room a chance. The sword fails to respond to them, so Jack bites the bullet and grasps it...only for it to fail to respond to him either. Turn out only the original hero (who hasn't died and therefore can't expect Jack to Take Up My Sword) is acceptable. After a millennium or so of service Glaeken definitely doesn't want to start all over again, but the sword rejuvenates him as the young warrior he was, and so Glaeken gets a chance to take out his frustrations on the Big Bad.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: Subverted. Rasalom isn't a vampire, but he's happy to pretend to be one in The Keep. That said, he is described as an Abstract Eater/Emotion Eater who feeds on war, death, pain, misery, and all such negative things, so he's not that different from being a "psychic vampire" as such creatures are sometimes called.
  • Perpetual-Motion Monster: Sealing Rasalom up for five hundred years doesn't seem to have diminished his power in the slightest, although he does wake up hungry for victims' pain.
  • Religious Horror: In The Keep, Dr. Cuza discovers that Molasar is afraid of crosses and of the name of Jesus, but ignores the Judaic prayer. This hits Cuza hard, as he takes it as a suggestion that Christianity is right, while his own Judaic faith is wrong. Actually, the trope is intentionally invoked by Molasar. He doesn't fear Christian holy symbols either, he just fakes it to shake Cuza's faith and subvert him to Molasar's cause.
  • Sea Sinkhole: Played for horror in Nightworld where portals to Another Dimension open, sending nightmare creatures swarming across the Earth. Some of them open in the open ocean, swallowing ships and creating vast whirlpools during the day and reversing at night into mile-high fountains of water, littering islands with dead fish and... other things.
  • Shoot the Hostage Taker: Jack in Nightworld when a kicker has a knife by Gia's throat.
  • Sdrawkcab Name: Molasar's surname is actually "Rasalom" backwards. No word on whether this also applies to his given first name, Radu, in which case his really real name would be "Udar Rasalom."
  • Significant Anagram: Rasalom is cursed to only be able to identify himself with his True Name, or failing that, anagrams of it.
  • The Unmasqued World: Nightworld has a global revelation of the reality of the supernatural. Having the sun nearly go dark forever, releasing godawful monsters to stalk the increasingly-long nights, while bottomless pits open up and start eating the landscape, would sure convince me.
  • Walking Wasteland: Carol in Reborn when she is pregnant with the reincarnation of Rasalom.
  • Waterfall into the Abyss: Played for horror in Nightworld. Portals to Another Dimension have opened sending nightmare creatures swarming across the Earth. Some of them open in mid-ocean, creating vast whirlpools during the day and reversing at night into mile-high fountains of water, littering the ground with dead fish and...other things.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: During the holocaust in Nightworld Rasalom protects the building Glaeken is living in because he wants his Arch-Nemesis to witness the full horror of his failure (the destruction of civilisation, and the sight of Rasalom at his full strength) before inflicting a long and painful death. He's so confident he actually lets them assemble the Sword of Plot Advancement despite knowing all about their Fetch Quest.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Rasalom tells his minions that if things go according to plan he won't be contacting them. They all get killed by the creatures he unleashes on the world.

Alternative Title(s): Adversary Cycle