Just when you thought this would be just another blog about miniatures and wargaming! Well, I've made it one of my personal goals for 2012 to read more books and "The Keep" was the first one I crossed off my list.
This book was also my first purchase on my new Amazon Kindle And I must say, if you enjoy reading, then you should really consider getting a Kindle. I was hesitant to embrace the technology, but now I'm converted. I no longer have to scour through a bookstore or a library to find that one special book I was searching for. Nope, I just browse the website from my device and download! And no more shelf space issues!
On with the review. The Amazon description reads as follows,
"The keep had stood empty in the Transylvanian Alps for 500 years. No one knew who built it, or why. But on the eve of WWII, German soldiers move in and awaken something - something hungry... "If that doesn't wake the 16-year-old nerd king in you, then I don't know what will! I never watched the 1982 Michael Mann movie. From what I have heard, that's a good thing. The author, F. Paul Wilson, described the movie as "visually striking but otherwise incomprehensible". I expect most of you would be much more satisfied with the book.
The story takes place in the hinterlands of Romania during the early stages of WWII when the German army was conquering the majority of Europe with relative ease. Concurrently, the SS was starting it's campaign to oppress the Jews and any other peoples that were deemed as 'unclean'. This included gypsies, Romanians, Poles, Serbs, Slavs and many others. A company of wehrmacht soldiers are assigned to capture a remote mountain pass which is protected by an enigmatic fortress simply called, 'The Keep'. When they arrive, they meet only the caretakers of the fortress, who insist the Germans leave and soon. After a few nights, the commander sends a desperate message back to Germany explaining that "Something is killing my men." The alleged anagonist can only be described as (bleh, bleh, bleh!) a vampire! Thus, the high command responds by a dispatching a company of SS einsatzkommandos.
A cast of boilerplate characters assemble at 'The Keep' in an attempt to solve the mystery before they are all killed. Without spoiling too much of the story, I can safely say it doesn't end the way you would expect it.
There is something intrinsically satisfying about a story of SS troopers getting royally whupped by a prince of the undead. The beginning of the story drags because the author needs to set the stage but he keeps the story moving. Be warned! This is a horror story at it's base and I was hiding under the covers for a few chapters. Nevertheless, I made it to the end of the book. I recommend this book. It as a quality example of the sci-fi/historical fiction/horror/fantasy/occult/whatever-you-wanna-call-it genre.