WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS
In the spring of 1941, a German Army commander stationed in a remote castle high in the Carpathian mountains sends the following message to his superiors: "Something is murdering my men." That something is an ancient and evil creature named Rasalom, who was inadvertently released when a strangely shaped silver cross was removed from its resting place. Rasalom cannot be seen or heard, but can suck all the light and warmth from a room, select his victim in the darkness, and leave a bloodless, mutilated corpse.
Captain Claus Woermann and Erich Kaempffer, the aforementioned commander and the aggressive SS officer sent to solve the problem, have only one thing in common, their mutual dislike. They realize, however, that the situation is slowly getting beyond their control. Seeking answers, they summon Jewish historian Dr. Cuza and his daughter Magda to the castle. Also on his way to the Keep is Glaeken, an immortal warrior who has battled Rasalom over the centuries.
One of Wilson's finest novels, if not the finest (it's a tossup between this and Black Wind for me), The Keep (which earned an entry in Horror: 100 Best Books) is the first installment in the author's excellent Adversary Cycle, a Lovecraftian take on the Christian Apocalypse; the series also includes The Tomb, The Touch, Reborn, Reprisal, and Nightworld. The book was instigated/inspired by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro's novel Hotel Transylvania, which featured Count St.- Germain, a sympathetic vampire as its protagonist. Wilson contended that vampires are parasitic, evil creatures, unworthy of sympathy. Intrigued by the notion of a vampire pretending to be an ally, Wilson added the premise that the "vampire" was also pretending to be a vampire, concealing his true, more horrible nature. Thus was born Rasalom, a cosmic villain who thrives on human misery.
Although ostensibly defeated and destroyed at the conclusion of The Keep, it's hard to keep a good evil being down--Rasalom has appeared in subsequent Wilson novels, most notably in later installments of Wilson's above mentioned Adversary Cycle, and in the author's ongoing Repairman Jack series, which is set between the events which take place between the novels The Tomb and Nightworld.