I've become a big fan of F. Paul Wilson's "Repairman Jack" novels over the last several books for both the overarching story and the eponymous main character. But how can Wilson handle something as horrible as the attacks on the World Trade Center? In Ground Zero, Wilson manages to play with the Truther movement and make it interesting yet avoids giving it any actual credence. That takes talent in a writer, and it makes this book an excellent novel.
A decade after the horrific events of September 11, 2001, the world is going crazy. The dark plot that Jack has been fighting seems close to fruition, and the pieces are falling into place. In the meantime, Jack's childhood friend Weezy Connell has joined the 9/11 Truther movement, piecing together little facts and discrepancies that seem to lead to an inevitable conclusion: the true story of 9/11 has not been told yet. She posts her conclusions anonymously on the Internet, but somebody knows who she is. In desperation, she calls Jack, not knowing that he is the same Jack she knew all those years ago. Jack finds himself immersed in the Truther movement and discovers that they have no idea how far off they are while still being right. What's really behind 9/11 - and many other recent events - is part of a war millennia old, a war that may be catching fire again soon.
While Ground Zero delves deep into the Truther movement, Wilson ties everything into the mythos that he's created, with the Adversary, the Lady, and other beings from the dawn of time caught up in their ongoing struggle and catching us up in it as well. Wilson avoids the conspiracy cliche that "the government was behind it all!" Instead, he goes deeper into the motivations behind the terrorists themselves, revealing them to be as much pawns in the game as anybody else.
The events initiated in By the Sword begin bearing fruit. Wilson has said that he has two more books left in the series (he graciously warns readers at the beginning of the book that he's not going to be tying up stories as he did in the past, since he is leading up to the ultimate book), so this is to be expected. The war hits home for Jack as one of his eternal benefactors takes a major hit from what began in the previous book. The pursuit through New York City at the end of this book is breathtaking as you sense Jack's desperation to stop the seemingly unstoppable.
The only thing that brings Ground Zero down is that it spins its wheels trying to catch everybody up on the story behind the series. There are portions of the book where nothing really happens, harming the pace of the novel.
When things do pick up, though, they really kick into high gear. Wilson's plotting and prose are wonderful, making the wait for the next novel almost excruciating: the hallmark of a great writer.
Ground Zero is a must-read. While you can certainly understand things well enough if this is your first book, I recommend against that. Check out at least the previous two books before picking this one up. You'll be richly rewarded.