Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Book Evaluation: The Tomb (1984)

The Tomb by F. Paul Wilson is a book of multiple series. It is the second book of a series called The Adversary Cycle and the first book of the Repairman Jack books.

Now, if you have never heard of F. Paul Wilson, The Adversary Cycle, or the Repairman Jack books, you are certainly not alone. I only found out about the author and his books completely accidentally. The story is worth telling because I think it goes a long way to the actual review. I was in Cheyenne, Wyoming a few years ago and went into a used book store. While there I found three books by F. Paul Wilson. They happened to be the first three books of his Repairman Jack series. I didn't read them while I was there and once I got home, I put them on my shelf and there they stayed for the better part of two or three years. Last year I was bored and wanted to read something... anything... and I saw this book entitled The Tomb. I looked at the cover and read the back of the book and it seemed interesting. So, I started reading it.

As I read the book it spoke to me. Its writing wasn't anything special, and I'm pretty sure stories like this one have been done before... the overarching series story even eventually comes out as sounding like a plausible Batman series of novels, which I'm not saying is bad, but this first book came off as entirely plausible... well, except for the supernatural elements...

Anyway, the plot is incredibly interesting, delving into Indian mythology and British history all at the same time. The Rakoshi are surprisingly tense and well-done antagonist characters, and the whole plot has an air of mystery and supernatural thrills to it that not many other novels that I have read have at all. It is wholly different from anything else out there and so incredibly well done that I'm surprised and awed that it is better known. I loved the novel, the story, the characters, and the settings. The boat scene at the end was one of the best written things I've read in years. And Jack's relationship with Gia is both heartbreaking and beautiful all at the same time, eventually culminating in something wonderful for both characters... a beautiful kind of soul-mate love, which I approve of in general.

The main character, Repairman Jack, although usually he just goes by Jack, no last name, seems to be a genuine antihero. He sometimes does very bad things, but usually for what he deems to be some greater good. At the beginning of the novel he's living his job, which is something like an urban mercenary who also happens to be living without any government notice at all. He has no Social Security Number, no solid last name, uses a ton of aliases. He has cars and apartments in other peoples' names, most not even in existence. he also has very few "friends"... with most of the people he knows being acquaintances of some sort or another... most of whom Jack doesn't like very much.

The other characters in the novel are Abe Grossman, an obese Jewish black-market weapons salesman, Julio, a tough bartender, and Gia, Jack's ex-girlfriend, who wants nothing to do with him ever since she figured out what he is... and what he is is a highly trained killer.

The novel has many instances of pop-culture as well... that may sound random, but Jack is a aficionado of old movies, mostly terrible ones. This goes a long way when Jack finally starts seeing some of the supernatural stuff that's happening and wondering if it's all real... and comparing them to old movies and such.

It's an intelligent, cultured, and enjoyable novel the whole way through. The rest of the series varies in quality, but this first book is absolutely fantastic and worth reading if you happen to be a fan of horror, the supernatural, detective stories, adventure stories, or anything like any of those things.

Anyway, I love this novel. It is in my top favorites of all time. I suggest that everybody take a look at it because it is so worth reading.

1 comment:

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