The Secret History of the World

I have a new reading challenge! (Yes, I know I’ve failed spectacularly at every reading challenge I’ve ever tried, but this one is different. You’ll see!)

The fast majority of F. Paul Wilson’s books deal with what he calls ‘The Secret History of the World.’ I first stumbled into this secret history in 1985 when I borrowed The Keep from the library. Subsequently, I did not sleep for two weeks. It was the scariest book I’d ever read and, to this day, I still feel the chill of it.

Several years ago, a friend of mine kept insisting I read Repairman Jack.

“Who?” I asked.

“Totally cool. You have to read The Keep first.”

“I read that in high school. I’m still having nightmares.”

“The rest of the series is even better.”

Over a period of three years, my friend wore me down and I bought The Keep to reread. Then Audible offered Cold City (Repairman Jack: The Early Years, #1) as a daily deal and I snapped it up—partly because I love audio books and partly so I could tell my friend I’d finally started the series. Cold City (and the rest of the Early Years trilogy) is amazing and one of the most entertaining audiobooks I’ve ever listened to. Narrator Alexander Cendese gave Jack a voice I immediately connected with and his Abe has stayed with me through every Repairman Jack novel I’ve read since. I immediately sourced hardcovers of the trilogy for my shelf, then started collecting and reading the rest of the Repairman Jack books.

I had a vague idea of the secret history while reading, but knew I was missing bits and pieces because I hadn’t reread The Keep, or read any more of the companion series, The Adversary Cycle. When I mentioned this to my friend, he cheerfully told me about something called ‘The Secret History of the World.’ One Google search later, a new reading challenge was born. Because I like to track things, I’m posting it here on my blog so I can update as I go along.

Reading Order

(copied from

The Past
“Demonsong” (prehistory)
“The Compendium of Srem” (1498)
“Aryans and Absinthe”** (1923-1924)
Black Wind (1926-1945)
The Keep (1941)
Reborn (February-March 1968)
“Dat Tay Vao”*** (March 1968)
Jack: Secret Histories (1983)
Jack: Secret Circles (1983)
Jack: Secret Vengeance (1983)
“Faces”* (1988)
Cold City (1990)
Dark City (1991)
Fear City (1993)
“Fix” (2006) (with J.A. Konrath & Ann Voss Peterson)

Year Zero Minus Three
Sibs (February)
The Tomb (summer)
“The Barrens”* (ends in September)
“A Day in the Life”* (October)
“The Long Way Home”+
Legacies (December)

Year Zero Minus Two
“Interlude at Duane’s” (April) ** / +
Conspiracies (April) (includes “Home Repairs”+)
All the Rage (May) (includes “The Last Rakosh”+)
Hosts (June)
The Haunted Air (August)
Gateways (September)
Crisscross (November)
Infernal (December)

Year Zero Minus One
Harbingers (January)
“Infernal Night” (with Heather Graham)
Bloodline (April)
By the Sword (May)
Ground Zero (July)
The Touch (ends in August)
The Peabody-Ozymandias Traveling Circus & Oddity Emporium (ends in September)

Year Zero
Reprisal (ends in February)
Fatal Error (February) (includes “The Wringer”+)
The Dark at the End (March)
Nightworld (May)

* available in The Barrens and Others
** available in Aftershock and Others
*** available in the 2009 reissue of The Touch
+ available in Quick Fixes – Tales of Repairman Jack

I’ve coloured the titles I’ve read blue. As you can see, I’ve a long way to go, but there is no deadline for this one. I simply want to have a list of progress to update and share.


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