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Hell Train

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Overview

Four passengers meet on a train journey through Eastern Europe during the First World War, and face a mystery that must be solved if they are to survive...Bizarre creatures, satanic rites, terrified passengers and the romance of travelling by train, all feature in this classically styled horror.

Imagine there was a supernatural chiller that Hammer Films never made. A grand epic produced at the studio’s peak, which played like a cross between ...

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Hell Train

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Overview

Four passengers meet on a train journey through Eastern Europe during the First World War, and face a mystery that must be solved if they are to survive...Bizarre creatures, satanic rites, terrified passengers and the romance of travelling by train, all feature in this classically styled horror.

Imagine there was a supernatural chiller that Hammer Films never made. A grand epic produced at the studio’s peak, which played like a cross between the Dracula and Frankenstein films and Dr Terror’s House Of Horrors...
Four passengers meet on a train journey through Eastern Europe during the First World War, and face a mystery that must be solved if they are to survive. As the ‘Arkangel’ races through the war-torn countryside, they must find out:
What is in the casket that everyone is so afraid of?
What is the tragic secret of the veiled Red Countess who travels with them?
Why is their fellow passenger the army brigadier so feared by his own men?
And what exactly is the devilish secret of the Arkangel itself?
Bizarre creatures, satanic rites, terrified passengers and the romance of travelling by train, all in a classically styled horror novel.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The affection of British Fantasy Award–winner Fowler for classic Hammer Films horror movies pays off in this intricately recursive tale of terror. In London, 1966, American writer Shane Carter is given less than five days to come up with a script for Hammer’s next Peter Cushing vehicle. Given only the vague guidance that the plot should have something to do with a train, Carter finds an old board game called Hell Train. The narrative shifts to a story within the story, as an unnamed young girl ignores the warning message on the same game, and then to the conceit of the game itself: a disparate group of desperate people in 1916 Carpathia board a mysterious midnight train to an unknown destination. Fowler (the Bryant and May series) neatly incorporates many of the Hammer studio’s trademarks: “young lovers, fearsome creatures, a dire warning, rituals and curses, and dreadful consequences.” The shocks never stop coming, bolstered by crisp writing and well-defined, sympathetic characters. (Dec.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781907992445
  • Publisher: Rebellion
  • Publication date: 12/27/2011
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 335,057
  • Product dimensions: 4.16 (w) x 8.54 (h) x 0.89 (d)

Meet the Author

Born in Greenwich, London, Christopher Fowler has written for film, television, radio, graphic novels, and for national newspapers. He is a regular columnist for both UK The Independent on Sunday and the Financial Times. Fowler is the multi-award winning author of more than thirty novels and ten short-story collections, including the lauded Bryant & May Peculiar Crimes Unit mystery novels. In 2010 was nominated for eight national book awards.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 21, 2012

    For Horror Film Fans

    Review
    The Story:
    Early on while reading this story, it seemed like there was an awful lot going on in this story that didn't always fit together. First we start with a fascinating look at Hammer Studio in the 60s, just as their decline from the top of the horror film industry is beginning. Then on to this strange interlude with the girl and the board game. Then the game becomes the actual story, set during WWI in Eastern Europe and following an English married couple, a con-artist Londoner, and a peasant girl facing an imminent marriage and the invasion of her town by soldiers. By chance (or is that Fate?) all four end up onboard the "Arkangel," a train that at first seems normal, albeit unlikely, and then slowly reveals itself as demonic. This story is occasionally interrupted by chapters returning to the scriptwriter. The ending, however, begins to tie it all together, where the little girl with the game board is integral to the people on the train and the scriptwriter uncovers his own little mystery.

    Once I finished the book and began thinking back to the early chapters, more facets became clear. Such as how instructions given to the scriptwriter show up through the story. Or how faithful to old horror movies the story is. And that I could see the characters Lee and Cushing would relish playing. What at first seemed a strange cobbling of different tales became a collection that tells a deeper story about the golden age of horror films. And I love it when books become better each time I think about them.

    The Writing:
    I knew the writing would be good, because I'm a fan of Fowler's Bryant and May PCU series and I enjoy his writing a great deal. I was not disappointed. I was drawn into each aspect of the story, even when questioning their relevance, and Fowler does a great job building suspense and then exploding it across the page in a horrific showdown of good and evil.

    Recommendation:
    I don't typically read horror as a genre, though some books I enjoy cross over into that genre. I picked up "Hell Train" because I've enjoyed Fowler's other books, and because it was set in WWI, which is a period I've studied. What I was happily surprised to find was a book that went beyond horror and WWI and into the business of movie-making in the 1960s. Having a husband and several friends who are connoisseurs of horror movies, I've seen a number of old Hammer films, and it was fun to envision actors from those films in the roles of characters in the book. I loved the homage paid to the old age of horror, which is still one my favorite periods of films. And I love that I continue to see depth in the book when I think about it even a week after having finished reading it.

    For horror enthusiasts, especially those who love the old B-movies, I heartily recommend this movie. To anyone with an interest in the film industry of old, this is a fun read. Even WWI enthusiasts will find the setting unique. And if you like trains, well, the train is one of the most fearful characters in this book. Think Maximum Overdrive on rails. Pun intended.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted March 15, 2012

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    Posted October 13, 2012

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    Posted February 2, 2012

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