The Damnation Game

( 28 )

Overview

There are things worse than death. There are games so seductively evil, so wondrously vile, no gambler can resist. Amid the shadow-scarred rubble of World War II, Joseph Whitehead dared to challenge the dark champion of life’s ultimate game. Now a millionaire, locked in a terror-shrouded fortress of his own design, Joseph Whitehead has hell to pay. And no soul is safe from this ravaging fear, the resurrected fury, the unspeakable desire of...

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Overview

There are things worse than death. There are games so seductively evil, so wondrously vile, no gambler can resist. Amid the shadow-scarred rubble of World War II, Joseph Whitehead dared to challenge the dark champion of life’s ultimate game. Now a millionaire, locked in a terror-shrouded fortress of his own design, Joseph Whitehead has hell to pay. And no soul is safe from this ravaging fear, the resurrected fury, the unspeakable desire of...

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Editorial Reviews

Philadelphia Daily News
From its brilliant opening to its shocking conclusion, [this] is a compelling work.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Barker has generated acclaim and controversy with his dozens of shorter works published in the six ``Books of Blood.'' His rather long first novel is often engrossing, often disturbing and depressing. Horror mavens who enjoy violence and harrowing imagery will find plenty of both here. But there is more to The Damnation Game than gore. This story of a supernaturally powerful man who can resurrect the dead probes the many varieties of corruption: of the flesh, of ideals, of civilization. The world Barker depicts is controlled by immensely powerful men motivated solely by self-interest. His charactersJoseph Whitehead, captain of industry; his defeated, addicted daugther, Carys; his increasingly frightened bodyguard Marty Strauss; the demonic, perhaps immortal Mamoulian; and Mamoulian's puppet, the disgusting ``Razor-Eater'' Breerare original and memorable. The story, loosely based on Shakespeare's Tempest, is goodnot exactly a pleasurable read in the usual sense of the word, but always interesting. (June 5)
Library Journal
``I have seen the future of the horror genre, and his name is Clive Barker,'' Stephen King has written. Fortunately, this first novel (Barker has published short story collections) more than bears the weight of King's praise. Barker is a better writer than King, and his characters are just as interesting. Set in modern Britain, the story thrusts a flawed ``innocent''parolee Marty Straussinto an epic conflict between wealthy Joseph Whitehead and Mamoulian the Cardplayer, a centuries-old creature with whom Whitehead had struck a bargain to obtain his wealth and power. Whitehead reneges, and the resulting struggle is played out primarily on his fortress-like estate. Barker's excellent writing makes the graphic, grotesque imagery endemic to current horror fiction very effective. Highly recommended anywhere horror fiction is popular. A.J. Wright, Anesthesiology Dept., Univ. of Alabama at Birmingham
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780425188934
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 11/28/2002
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 448
  • Sales rank: 221,572
  • Product dimensions: 4.27 (w) x 6.91 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Clive Barker

Born in Liverpool in 1952, Clive Barker has written and produced a number of Grand Guignol plays, including The History of the Devil and Frankenstein in Love. His volumes of short fiction, Books of Blood, earned him immediate praise from horror fans and literary critics alike. He won both the British and World Fantasy Awards, and was nominated for the coveted Booker Prize, Britain’s highest literary award. His bestselling novels include The Damnation Game, Imajica, The Thief of Always, The Great and Secret Show, and Everville. He also created the now-classic Hellraiser films, as well as Nightbreed, and Lord of Illusions.

Biography

Nothing ever begins....Nothing is fixed. In and out the shuttle goes, fact and fiction, mind and matter woven into patterns that may have only this in common: that hidden among them is a filigree that will with time become a world.

It must be arbitrary, then, the place at which we choose to embark.

Somewhere between a past half forgotten and a future as yet only glimpsed."

And here is as good a place as any to begin with Clive Barker, the author of strange and scary stories such as the novel that begins above, Weaveworld. Barker is probably best known as the creator of the Hellraiser franchise -- which began with the novella The Hellbound Heart; later became the 1987 horror classic that Barker directed; and was then a comic from 1989-1994. He accomplished the print-to-film-to-comic trifecta again with Nightbreed, the film version of which was released in 1990.

Barker drew attention with his early '80s story volumes, Books of Blood. His first novel, The Damnation Game, not only put him on a par authors such as Stephen King but earned praise from those same authors. He is widely admired for weaving into his scary stories complex themes about human nature and desires.

In addition to crafting his signature novels, a chilling amalgam of horror, sci-fi, and fantasy, Barker is an accomplished artist. (His comic Ectokids is in development as a movie project at Nickelodeon.) He has also written for children -- a fact that surprises readers familiar only with his disturbing adult oeuvre. But, in fact, his children's tales (The Thief of Always, Abarat, etc.) are among his most imaginative.

No matter what his audience or medium, Barker's stories are effective because it's clear that he takes his work, and his genre, very seriously -- and expects the same from his audience. In an interview with Barnes & Noble.com, he told us "[Fantasy and horror] liberate us into a world in which our frustrations and our repressions can take an exoticized form, rendering them more safely and also, if we dare, more approachable."

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    1. Hometown:
      Los Angeles
    1. Date of Birth:
      October 5, 1952
    2. Place of Birth:
      Liverpool, England
    1. Education:
      Liverpool University
    2. Website:

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 28 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(17)

4 Star

(6)

3 Star

(2)

2 Star

(2)

1 Star

(1)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 29 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 27, 2012

    i love a read that makes you take the book to the trash bin outs

    i love a read that makes you take the book to the trash bin outside when
    finished and put it in with a very heave concrete block on the lid and
    run inside and try to forget it! This is it!. One more of his is
    Weaveworld!!!!! Can not find books like that any where any more!. Love
    your work!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 26, 2012

    it's a good book.

    it's a good book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 16, 2011

    ZZZZ

    Sitting on my bookshelf, I have dog-eared copies of "The Hellbound heart," and "The Books of Blood" which includes one my favorite short stories: "The Forbidden," aka CANDYMAN; so when I read Neil Gaiman's review on Joe Hill's stunning novel "Heart Shaped Box, " he name-dropped this..."the best debut horror novel since Clive Barker's 'The Damnation Game.'"
    So I hurried to B&N and purchased TDG. In short, that was the last time I took a Neil Gaiman recommendation seriously. This book didn't move me, and dragged its literary feet in the muck of boredom. What a disappointment.
    If you wanna know who the true heir to Stephen King is...it's Joe Hill, his son.

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  • Posted March 12, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Eh...

    It was an okay book. I forced my self to finish The Damnation Game book. I love Clive Barkers other books but this one was a miss for me.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 26, 2004

    Awesome

    I hope they do make a movie out of this!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2004

    Execellent Book

    I'm usually a Stephen King fan, but I decided to give this one a try, I'm glad I did! This book had me on the edge of my seat, it was scary and suspensful. I would definately read more of Clive's work!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 8, 2003

    What? This is what no one could explain?

    I read all these reviews about this book after i heard that Barker planned on making a movie out of it. He was talking about how he wanted to make some serious scary movie like The Exorcist, and not just some tongue-in-cheeck teen slasher. I read all these reviews people wrote about how there's no way they can describe what this book is about, but it's simple. Guy named Jo Whitehead, right? He plays a card game with the mysterious and notorious Card Player named Mammoulian back in Russia right after WWII. But the thing is, no one has EVER beat The Card Player. Whitehead ends up beating him. years later, there is a guy named Marty who just got out of prison and is doing work for whitehead. Whitehead is now rich in England. As Marty stays with WHitehead for a few months, he witnesses mysterious and frightening things around the house. He soon comes to discover that this is Whiteheads ancient foe coming back to reclaim his game. I gave this book four stars because, first off, it wasn't scary, it was just suspensful and over-the-top with it's macabre grossness. There's nothing wrong with a little gore, but this is just filthy. Without saying too much, there's one scene in particular that has to do with a dead body, and is rather offensive and disturbing rather than scary.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2002

    A NIGHTMARE MARATHON

    THIS BOOK DEFENITELY IS NIGHTMARE MARATHON. MADE ME WANNA HIDE THE BOOK AND NEVER READ IT. EVERY WORD KEEPS ME AWAKE.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 1, 2000

    When you get more then you bargained for...

    Of course the prisoner would want to be released from his sentence, but did he know what the deal truely entailed? Slowly over time, a darker world came to greet him, and this place now seemed like a different kind of prison...

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 10, 2000

    A Stunning First Novel

    I've been a Clive Barker fan for years, and one of the first books I read of his was The Damnation Game. At the time, I didn't get all that I could out of the reading. When I reread it recently, the depth of the book really hit me. Clive Barker has reshaped the horror genre and proven that it does not just have to be gore and shock value. Even at the times this book approaches this the most, it is apparent that it is much more. Truly a classic that I would place among the likes of Faust and The Tempest.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2000

    BARKER MAKES WRITERS LIKE KOONTZ AND KING LOOK LIKE SATURDAY MORNING CARTOONS

    THE DAMNATION GAME is truly a well written book . MR. BARKER uses his literary skills to surpass ALL other writers' by his use of thorough and interesting characters , a more than complete and interestingly horror-filled storyline , and an overly pleasing end. ALL OF CLIVE BARKER'S BOOKS COMPILE THE BIBLE TO WHICH I BOW DOWN TO.

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    Posted October 22, 2008

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    Posted May 8, 2010

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    Posted November 5, 2008

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 12, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 15, 2011

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    Posted July 23, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 30, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 21, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 19, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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