Reprisal (Adversary Cycle#5) By F.Paul Wilson
**** 1/2 Tor 412 pages
It is interesting to read the fifth book in a series and think to yourself upon finishing it that it wasn’t like any other novel you can remember. Reprisal is a very unique horror novel, that is one of the most heart-breaking a devastating reads you’ll ever have trouble putting done. Wilson has created an effective novel that’s terror is built on the back of strong characterizations. It can’t be stated enough because it goes over the heads of many horror fans, but a horror story can’t be effective unless the characters are worthy of our concern. That is one of the main reasons Reprisal works.
The supernatural plays a part although a lot is left unexplained. The connection to the greater series is there but for the most part the story could stand alone. You are better off having read The Keep and certainly Reborn because Reprisal is a direct sequel.
There are two moments of absolute horror that are so brutal it makes your skin crawl in this novel. It is not monsters attacking anyone, or a slasher with a big knife. Reprisal explores the concept of what makes a person evil. It does it by putting it’s characters through an emotional grinder as much as anything physical. Although there is plenty of physical horror abound.
It is the story of a man named Will Ryerson, he has a secret past that haunts him. He can’t stand anywhere near a landline phone without it ringing. On the other line every time is a child, begging for his help, begging to be saved. At the same time his friend the nerdy math professor Lisl, has met a new man named Rafe. Thanks to his name, readers of this series know that this man is “The One” who is the earthly manifestation of the evil Otherness. Rafe has taken an interest in Lisl, he wants to corrupt her at every turn.
Reborn the last novel in the series had an Omen/Rosemary’s baby feel to it. The series is still building the end of the world,or at least a battle over the world, but this novel that a nice personal detour. It explores a very personal petty-ness to the otherness trapped in human form.
Reprisal is another notch up, after the power of Reborn this novel takes an unexpected path but is building the series toward the end. Wilson as always creates novel with intricate plot and twists and turns. Wow. Great read.
The story line involving Danny Gordan is one of the most disturbing things I have ever read. To imagine torture being done to a boy, who cannot die. Who despite everything the doctors try feels and experiences everything. The fact that he survives decades being buried alive is really, truly awful. The scene where father Bill unearths him is hard to read. Amazingly well done.
I like that Wilson leaves much unexplained. How or why does Danny survive everything? We can guess that the otherness did something to him? But what? What did it do to the adopted father, whose body was left empty? Not explained, and I like that. The otherness is beyond our scope. Love it.