Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Thursday, July 7, 2011


Jack:  Secret Vengeance by F. Paul Wilson

I came late to the Repairman Jack novels but found myself instantly hooked.  In short order, I devoured first eleven books in the series as well as Wilson's novels in The Adversary Cycle.  Then came the slow and impatient wait for the author to publish more of this literary crack cocaine.  As Wilson began reaching the end of this series, some angel of God must have told him that I went to bed each night muttering, "More Jack.  More Jack..."  Wilson announced that he was writing a trilogy of young adult novels that would take Jack back to his beginnings as a fourteen year old boy living on the outskirts of the New Jersey Pine barrens.  Jack:  Secret Vengeance is the final book in that trilogy.  After this, there is only the penultimate Jack novel The Dark at the End and a greatly revised Nightworld, which will cap both Jack's saga as well as The Adversary Cycle.

     The concept behind the books is The Secret History of the World.  It seems that there has been an ongoing cosmic clash between two forces, one evil and the other disinterested.  It's a type of chess game with entire worlds as pawns  The adult Jack is drawn into this battle little by little until he is one of the main players in the war.

     None of this is really known to young Jack, although he has witnessed some strange things in the Pine Barrens.  His friend Louise (Weezy) is formulating a theory that there is a secret history of which most people are unaware.  Mrs. Clavering, a nice but somewhat odd woman who has a three-legged dog, appears at strange times.  Near Jack's home lies the Ancient Septimus Fraternal Order, a mysterious lodge whose title "ancient" is not lip service.  A Piney girl named Saree seems to have strange powers.

     At the start of the book, Weezy has had a big-time crush on Carson Toliver, a handsome and very popular senior, the star of the high school football team.  The crush went south during the one time Weezy was in Toliver's car with him and Toliver attacked her.  Weezy managed to get away, virginity intact, but Toliver began to claim otherwise.  Soon it seemed the entire school  was calling her "easy Weezy".  Weezy is so embarrassed that she is staying home from school, refusing to leave her room. 

     Jack has a sense of justice and of loyalty.  Toliver must suffer for what has has done to his friend.  Weezy must be purged of her feelings of shame and embarassment.   Jack hatches a plan to destroy Toliver's image. He finds ways to get into the other's school locker a begins leaving things.  But when Toliver opens the locker each time, there are additional -- strange -- items that Jack had not placed there.  Odd things continue to occur in the Barrens.

     Along the way, Jack continues to discover things about himself that will form the adult Repairman Jack and, for the first time, meets his future friend Abe.  Although each book came read on its own, it's better to read the Young Jack series in order.  Since I was familiar with Repairman Jack, it was a pleasure to pipck up the threads in these books that would lead to the adult series.  Highly recommended.

     I have heard rumors that Wilson might write a series of novels depicting an "older" young Jack.  I certainly hope so.  With only two books left to read, I really need to see more Jack crack in the future


1 comment:

  1. I'm with you, Jerry. I eagerly wait for each Jack book and was happy to see this series. A slightly older Jack group would be balm for the addicted.

    I resist the higher priced cemetery dance editions. Nice, but that would prevent me from picking up some other "necessary" book.