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I first read this book over twenty years ago, when it was first released and loved it. I decided that it was time to give it another go around to see if my original opinion of it still held. Well, time has certainly not diminished the power of this book to hold the reader in its thrall. I still love this book, and it remains my favorite book by this author.
As far as horror stories go, this one is definitely up with the best of them. The author has written a riveting page turner with this tautly written, inventive tale. The author has taken some vampire folklore and given it a new twist. In the hands of this master of the horror genre, the quintessential battle between good and evil takes on a new dimension.
In Romania, deep in the heart of the Transylvanian Alps, lies the Dinu Pass. In April of 1941, a small squadron of German soldiers has been ordered to occupy a small, deserted, five hundred year old castle keep at the Dinu pass. From the beginning, Captain Klaus Woermann senses that there is something unusual about the keep. Looking as if it had just been built and inlaid with brass and nickel crosses in every corridor, crosses that the caretaker for the keep exhorts the Germans not to touch, the keep is an architectural oddity.
Soon the games begin, as an unseen force begins murdering his men. Captain Woermann sends a message to the high command. To his dismay, they respond by sending a Nazi squadron of einsatzkommandos under the leadership of SS Major Kaempffer to quell whatever local guerilla activity is, undoubtedly, responsible for the murders. Soon, these death's head troopers begin succumbing to the same fate as their German Army counterparts, and all hell breaks loose.
Enter the ailing Dr. Theodor Cuza, a Romanian Jew and former professor at the University of Bucharest. Although suffering from the ravages of scleroderma, he is ordered by the Nazis to the keep, as he is an expert in the history of the region. It is hoped that he will be able to shed some light on the mysterious keep and enable his hosts to defeat their unknown adversary.
Accompanied by Magda, his daughter, they find themselves confronted with the cruelty of the Nazis, the unexpected kindness of Captain Woermann, and something from their worst nightmares that has them call into question their deepest beliefs. Then, a mysterious red-headed stranger with piercing blue eyes also appears, and nothing is ever the same again.
This is one of the premier horror stories of all time. Bravo!
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on 6 December 2001
We all know Nazis are evil. So reading this book about a group of German soldiers who have to look after a castle (or 'keep') that harbours a monster is enjoyable for that reason. Nazis get killed by a monster.
But there is more to it. F. Paul Wilson has all the cliche's here: the rugged hero, the frigid nursemaid who happens to be a playboy bunny under her heavy clothes, the old teacher in the the wheelchair. But somehow Wilson writes it all so confidently that you believe these characters are real. Plus, like all good horror writers, he leaves the monster in the dark for the first half of the book.
A movie was made of The Keep, directed by Heat's Michael Mann and starring Ian Mckellan and Gabriel Burn. The movie seems to have vanished off the face of the earth despite critical raves. It is probably worth tracking down (which I am currently trying to do) purely to see how they filmed it.
If you're a fan of Stephen King then you will love this book.
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on 28 December 2006
I used to be avid reader of graphic novels but stopped reading them for the last five years. Reading this has rejuvenated my interest in the form. It is the first peiece I have read by Wilson but look forward to reading his novels as the plot structure of this graphic novel was exceptional, with mystery layered upon mystery. The ambiguity of the characters was also brilliant. The end scene was a little disappointing but this was particially due to the level of fevourish anticipation created in the former scenes, and did not ditract from the brilliance of the work as a whole. Would recommend even if you are not a fan of the graphic novel format.
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VINE VOICEon 29 January 2016
I'm a great believer in not judging a book by its cover but in this case I really wish I had. I had heard about this book from a friend at work who had read it many years ago and really enjoyed it, but had not been impressed by the film version. As both were unknown to me and the film seemingly impossible to find, I thought I'd give the book a go. Supernatural monsters aside (even very disappointing ones like this), it stretches implausibility to new heights with one character rowing the length of the Mediterranean in just a few days and every hackneyed character you can imagine, including the academic genius sifting through ancient manuscripts for clues complete with the inevitable beautiful, doting daughter. This book has not aged well and it doesn't have the creepy charm of vintage horror tales. It's repetitive in its structure, the characters seem to have one emotion each and it's badly written. I half expected to read "It was quiet. Too quiet." at any moment. Needless to say I will not be bothering with the next volume
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on 23 August 2000
Until recently this book had been out of print for years so it's good to see Tor reprinting it for a new generation of readers. Wilson has taken the basic Transylvanian legends and created a whole new mythology from them - what's more he does it so well that it seems perfectly believable.
A group of German soldiers in WWII are sent to take up residence in the Keep, only to find themselves being killed off at the rate of one a night. When the SS arrive to investigate, the violence escalates as they race against time to find out what they have released and how to stop it.
Nail-biting tension and genuine chills abound in this book but the horror is kept at a reasonable level and Wilson focuses more on the psychological aspects of being trapped in a terrifying situation. This makes the book more scary than it might otherwise have been. Using the SS as victims is another clever touch. As more of their true purpose is revealed, it becomes hard to distinguish between which is the true monster and you may find yourself sympathizing with the 'wrong' side... I'll leave it to you to determine which side that is.
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on 2 December 2004
The keep is a period horror set in the second world war and the story focuses on a group of German soldiers stationed in an remote, isolated 500 year old keep. Whilst there, they unwittingly unleash an old enemy of mankind imprisoned within the cellar of the keep and soon find themselves been hunted down one by one.
The story benefits from an inspired choice of setting/era, great character stories, a pacey style, a nice creepy feel and a memorable supernatural antagonist.
Downsides are it's never really that terrifying, mostly due to the fact that it's more of an 'action' orientated horror dealing with the fear of been slain by this monster on the loose rather than a physiological horror that gets deep down into your worst fears.
Also, the ultimate explanation for supernatural being is functional rather than inspired. Finally, and although it doesn't ruin the story, the low-key ending doesn't really live up to 400 pages preceding it.
In conclusion, for me, because of those let downs, this is no 5 star master-piece but having said that, the issues don't stop it being a great read and a very entertaining page turner all the way to the end. Furthermore it definitely stands out thanks to its highly original war II setting and characters - and as such I'd have no qualms in recommending it to fans of supernatural thrillers and horror or even anyone even vaguely interested in exploring the genre.
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on 7 January 2012
As far as this book is concerned I shall make it perfectly clear This is what "vampire?" books should be about
None of that soft soapy chic flick Twilight crap but some real horror/terror stuff
Well crafted in terms of characters and plotting that is real page turning stuff
One of the best horror books I've read
Up there with Anno Dracula, 'Salem's Lot and another wee gem(in my humble opinion)Robert R. McCammon's They Thirst. Do you want an excellent read . Get your hands on a copy of The Keep

To the point of this purchase of the above said book ,The copy I bought was from a supplier in Bulgaria and to that end I believe the service was very good
It was ordered in the run up to Christmas and we all know how smooth that can be in delivery times,however I do not feel I was made to wait an inordinant length of time
The quality of the book was very good as well The pages were still relatively still crisp and clean and there was no discernable damage that was noticable
Readability of book:10/10
Quality of service: 10/10
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on 28 February 2014
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 ( the beautifully Magda being ravaged by the mysterious rather horsey smelling Glenn!) resulting in a somewhat boring and pedestrian tale...not recommended!
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on 27 September 2014
F. Paul Wilson weaves a superb tale of good against evil in World War Two Romania while working another spin into the classic vampire story.
If you enjoy a good chiller I can't recommend this enough.
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on 18 February 2013
I came to this through the Michael Mann film of the same name. Set in Romania during WW2 it features a group of German soldiers who are sent to guard the mysterious Keep of the title. They soon find themselves at the mercy of supernatural powers beyond their understanding. The film is often described as a flawed masterpiece and the author of the original novel famously disowned it. Here he contributes an introduction where he describes this version as being the film he wishes had been made! The black and white artwork is very good and the text certainly explains many of the unanswered questions of the film. If you liked the film (despite its faults) then you will enjoy this.
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