Trade Hardcover 1st Edition
Author(s) F. Paul Wilson Country United States Language English Series The Adversary Cycle Genre(s) Horror, Thriller novel Publisher Hodder & Stoughton Publication date 21 May 1992 Media type Print (Hardback & Paperback) Pages 384 pp (first edition, hardback) ISBN ISBN 0-450-53665-3 (first edition, hardback) OCLC Number 26933169 Preceded by Reprisal
Nightworld is the sixth and final volume in a series of novels known as The Adversary Cycle written by American author F. Paul Wilson. First published in 1992 by New English Library in England (May) and Dark Harvest in US (August). Nightworld completes The Adversary Cycle, which consists of six books: The Keep, The Tomb, The Touch, Reborn, Reprisal, and Nightworld.
F. Paul Wilson has indicated in his latest Repairman Jack novels that Nightworld will be heavily revised for its reprinting in 2011/2012 to include the events currently happening in the Repairman Jack series.
Rasalom returns in reincarnated form to transform the Earth into unrelenting hell. Rasalom is shortening the daylight hours and letting loose a plague of ever-more-fearsome flesh-eating monsters that prey on the world's populace during the ever-lengthening nights. Whole communities turn on one another; riots break out over food; gangs wage war on the public; and Rasalom grows ever stronger as he feeds on the ever-increasing chaos, violence and terror.
The only one who can possibly stop the horror is Glaeken, an enfeebled old warrior who has battled the Adversary across the millennia. Too weak to fight alone, Glaeken gathers together a select band of people to assist him, among them a young boy with mysterious powers, a 150-year-old Hawaiian woman with magical necklaces, a semi-catatonic scientist with a mystical connection to Rasalom, and an all-too-human vigilante named Repairman Jack.
So supremely confident is Rasalom of his eventual victory that he spares Glaeken for an especially gruesome fate and allows him to pursue his desperate plan to save the Earth so that Glaeken's ultimate failure will become both Rasalom's greatest victory as well as Glaeken's - and humankind's - most tragic final defeat.
Glaeken's only hope in defeating Rasalom and reversing the planet's descent into madness is to forge another power-sword out of the widely scattered materials that remain of his first two mystical weapons of Light. To do this he sends a two-man team to Romania to collect as many fragments of the second sword as possible. Another two-man team is dispatched to Maui to collect two very special necklaces containing material from the first power-sword ever to be created many millennia ago before Glaeken himself became the only surviving, reluctant torchbearer for the Legions of Light on this planet.
The raw materials are finally gathered together and then forged into a new power-sword by a peculiar collection of specialists hiding out in a shack on the northeastern shore of Long Island in the little hamlet of Monroe. What remains now is for the weapon to be imbued with the ancient, sentient power that resides in the young boy Jeffy and then, finally, for the power-sword itself to choose a new champion whom it deems worthy of engaging the Powers of Darkness as embodied in the evil Rasalom.
The manner in which the new hero or heroine is to be chosen is very strongly reminiscent of the way in which Arthur was chosen by Excalibur to be a worthy successor to his father, Uther Pendragon. The choice ultimately comes as a great surprise to many readers because of the shrewdly roundabout way in which the author lets the little drama play out.
The warrior who is finally selected engages Rasalom in his deep, dark lair where he lies waiting for the completion of his transformation into the reigning creature of terror on Earth. For the second time in a mere 50 years the champion for the Legions of Light gets into a serious bind and only prevails in the end because of major assistance from the throngs of mere mortal humans anxiously awaiting the outcome on the surface.
Connections to Lovecraft
The author shows the influence of American horror legend H.P. Lovecraft in this book, especially in his description of the two cosmic forces which are conflicting over the earth. In keeping with Lovecraft's precept of an amoral cosmos, the "Forces of Light" are in fact not humanity's allies but merely the enemies of "Forces of Darkness". In one passage Glaeken implies that the power of Light would destroy the Earth instantly if it was actually a valuable trophy to the Darkness, implying instead that the Darkness's empowerment of Rasalom and the consequent apocalyptic horror which nearly snuffs out all Earthly life is really of trifling importance in the grand scheme of things.
Wilson allows his imagination to run wild in creating a variety of horrific entities which issue from the Dark Dimensions through vast holes opened in the Earth's surface; these creatures can only issue forth during the increasingly prolonged nights, either returning to their holes near daybreak or (in the case of the Sky Leviathans) simply circling the globe to avoid the narrowing window of sunlight.
- Chew Flies - The most prolific of the horrors described in the book, the "Chew Flies" (as young Jeffy dubs them) are flying creatures, vaguely resembling anglerfish, whose large mouths are filled with glass-like teeth. The teeth tend to fall out when the creature is struck, and the characters form makeshift swords by attaching scavenged Chew Fly teeth to wooden sticks in order to defend themselves.
- Stab Flies - Appearing at the same time as the Chew Flies but somewhat less common, the "Stab Flies" (again named by Jeffy) have no mouth, but their head is formed into a large, hard proboscis with which they can impale a victim in order to extract blood to feed upon.
- Glob Flies - Similar to the Chew Flies, the Glob Flies have a shapeless gelatinous head which oozes acid.
- Jelly Blobs - Tentacles masses which drift lazily in air, bristling with stinging feelers.
- Crawlers - These creatures resemble jet-black millipedes the size of a man, but are carnivorous and reproduce by laying eggs in human bodies (in the manner of numerous types of flies which parasitize caterpillars). The remarkably tenacious Hank Treece finally meets his end at the hands of a "queen" of these creatures after escaping seeming death three times in preceding chapters.
- Sky Leviathans - Titanic creatures who inhabit the night sky and fly around the world to stay ahead of the sunrise, they are not concretely described but are large enough to swallow a passenger airplane whole.
- Rasalom - The ancient sorcerer responsible for the onslaught of Darkness spends most of the book in a cave deep within the first of the immense pits which opens in Central Park (they do not actually lead down into the Earth, but rather into the Dark Dimensions). In the final scene, he emerges only partially transformed, into a huge beast with several gangly arm/legs and a central body with at least one vast eye.
F. Paul Wilson's The Adversary Cycle series The Keep (film, graphic novel) | The Tomb | The Touch | Reborn | Reprisal | Nightworld
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