Overview


Daniella Logan, daughter of a film impresario, is stunned to see a group of robed men performing a ritual above the newly-turned earth of her father's grave. Daniella's father and his friends--politicians, newspaper magnates, highly-paid actors, top-flight surgeons, high-ranking police officials, and many more--are bound by an unholy blood pact that calls for the sacrifice of their first born children. Now, the more she learns, the more Daniella makes herself a target. But she must not be silenced, for she is ...
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Pact of the Fathers

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Overview


Daniella Logan, daughter of a film impresario, is stunned to see a group of robed men performing a ritual above the newly-turned earth of her father's grave. Daniella's father and his friends--politicians, newspaper magnates, highly-paid actors, top-flight surgeons, high-ranking police officials, and many more--are bound by an unholy blood pact that calls for the sacrifice of their first born children. Now, the more she learns, the more Daniella makes herself a target. But she must not be silenced, for she is not the only firstborn in danger, only the oldest.

At the publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management software (DRM) applied.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
A father's betrayal of his child and a heritage of horror on a potentially biblical scale propel the plot of this absorbing new thriller from a leading laureate of terror fiction. Acting student Daniella Logan is devoted to her father, and this adds to her burden of grief when he dies in a suspicious car crash at the novel's outset. The night of his funeral she inadvertently frightens a coven of knife-wielding men away from their inscrutable ritual at his graveside. Daniella's stubborn persistence investigating both events leads to the unsettling discovery that her dad may not have been the man she thought he was and worse, that his surviving friends are inexplicably conspiring to silence her. En route to the revelation of their unthinkable motives, she uncovers an ominous pattern of child deaths in their families, chances on an alternate exegesis of myths of pagan sacrifice encoded in the Bible, and endures a stay in the Greek Islands that turns slowly from safe refuge to menacing imprisonment in the company of one of her father's most dependable cronies. Campbell (Silent Children) tantalizes the reader with irresistible hints of occult machinations, but his true achievement is the depiction of Daniella's hitherto secure world dissolving into a paranoid nightmare where the people whom she depends on most prove the ones she can least trust. The novel's sinister B-movie imagery and sleekly paced frights put a dark gloss on what is ultimately a haunting reflection on the differences that painfully divide parents from children and the intransigence of the older and younger generations. (Dec. 13) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
VOYA
British university student Daniella Logan sees twelve men holding bright objects in their hands while standing over the grave of her recently buried father, Teddy Logan. Her renowned film director father died in a car crash because of his drunk driving, a conclusion that Daniella cannot accept because he never drove when he drank. Teddy's business partner informs Daniella that her father's finances are under investigation, and the local police chief, who also is a family friend, tries to persuade her to forget what she saw at the graveyard. Several puzzling and terrifying events occur—one of Teddy's associates gruesomely is killed, Daniella finds a strangely elaborate knife in her father's grave, she is attacked savagely, the knife and a book titled The Bible Decoded are stolen. They serve to increase greatly Daniella's suspicions and her friends' concern for her well-being. After escaping from a mental hospital into which she is thrust and determining the significance of the book, with the help of a male friend Daniella slowly pieces together the horrifyingly bizarre correlation between her father and his associates and the human sacrifice stories in the Bible. Campbell's languid style of describing every detail of scenery and mannerism reads like a movie script and gives this modern day Perils of Pauline a slow beginning. There is little discussion of sex and only one gritty scene in which the associate's ghastly death is described. The fairly predictable plot offers many hints and clues that allow seasoned mystery or suspense fans to surmise the outcome, and the interesting discussion of the Bible could draw some high school readers. VOYA CODES: 3Q 2P S A/YA (Readable without seriousdefects; For the YA with a special interest in the subject; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12; Adult and Young Adult). 2001, Forge, 432p,
— Brenda Moses-Allen
Kirkus Reviews
Once again, suspense pro Campbell (Silent Children, 2000, etc.) remains masterfully amusing and intriguing-until his final pages. Smart dialogue and warm family detail suck the reader willingly in. Young heroine Daniella Logan, 20, is daughter of film producer Teddy Logan, an American in England who, along with his partner Alan Stanley, runs Oxford Films. Teddy has a row of Oscars for his later films, though he began with horror flicks before turning to "uplift." Daniella, a psychology student, faces the sudden shock of her father's death in an automobile accident, plus the fact that she may inherit his half of Oxford Films when she comes of age at 22-and that Teddy has made some very bad financial moves that may cost her and other possible inheritors (should she die prematurely) possession of the studio. The day he died, her father opened his safe and gave her some money, at which time she spied a strange box-a box that now has vanished, as has a special book behind his desk, The Bible Decoded. Nancy Drew-like, Daniella searches for the lost box and book and then finds out that a number of deaths turn on some gleaming knives, one of which she finds buried on her father's grave-where, moreover, she also found a circle of robed strangers performing some kind of ceremony. As it happens, the title and jacket give away the story's main secret: that several big business magnates the likes of Teddy and others belong to a bloody group that believes the Bible has told them that they will ensure success if they sacrifice their first-born-with knives, if necessary, and on an altar, although some first-borns die in other ways. Since we already deduce most of this, the plot attenuates intotissue-thin melodrama in the last chapters. Still, Campbell's fans will find much to their taste-and Daniella immensely likable.
From the Publisher
"A powerful, original writer." -The Washington Post Book World

"A father's betrayal of his child and a heritage of horror on a potentially biblical scale propel the plot of this absorbing new thriller. Campbell's true achievement is the depiction of Daniella's hitherto secure world dissolving into a paranoid nightmare where the people whom she depends on most prove the ones she can least trust. The novel's sinister imagery and sleekly paced frights put a dark gloss on what is ultimately a haunting reflection on the differences that painfully divide parents from children and the intransigence of the older and younger generations." -Publishers Weekly

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312703561
  • Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates
  • Publication date: 12/13/2001
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 416
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author


Ramsey Campbell has won more awards than any other living author of horror or dark fantasy, including four World Fantasy Awards, nine British Fantasy Awards, three Bram Stoker Awards, and two International Horror Guild Awards. Critically acclaimed both in the US and in England, Campbell is widely regarded as one of the genre's literary lights for both his short fiction and his novels. His classic novels, such as The Face that Must Die, The Doll Who Ate His Mother, and The Influence, set new standards for horror as literature. His collection, Scared Stiff, virtually established the subgenre of erotic horror.

Ramsey Campbell's works have been published in French, German, Italian, Spanish, Japanese, and several other languages. He has been President of the British Fantasy Society and has edited critically acclaimed anthologies, including Fine Frights. Campbell's best known works in the US are Obsession, Incarnate, Midnight Sun, and Nazareth Hill.
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Read an Excerpt


ONE
The smile the young receptionist behind the steel-grey horseshoe of a desk offered Daniella was by no means purely professional. “Can I help?” he said.
“I want to go up and surprise my dad.”
“I’d like that if I were him, but you’ll need to tell me who he is.”
“Teddy Logan.”
“Mr Logan.” The receptionist lowered his head an inch to regard her under his brows, incidentally presenting her with a better view of the wet black turf of his scalp. A drop of gel glistened on the right shoulder of his collarless jacket, which was only slightly greyer than the desk. “You’re his daughter,” he said.
“Right so far.”
“Are you planning an acting career?”
“I’ve done a bit. Does it show?”
“It mightn’t to most people. Nice try, but you missed one detail.”
“Tell me.”
“Mr Logan’s American, and you’d know if you heard him talk.”
“You’re new, aren’t you?”
“Not so new I don’t know how to do my job.”
“He isn’t going to like you doing it this hard. Why don’t you call upstairs and tell him I’m here.”
“Someone’s pitching him an idea for a film.”
“Call his secretary, then.”
“You’re saying you didn’t know she’s gone for lunch.”
“Right, I didn’t. Listen, you’ve been good, but—”
He crooked a finger until she leaned close enough for the scent of gel to oil her nostrils. “What would it be worth for me to say you took me in?”
“Not much. I’m a student.”
“I don’t look as if I need your money, do I? Just company for dinner.”
“I’ve already got a boyfriend.”
“Must be pretty insecure if you can’t accept an invitation for a night out on the town.”
She was wondering resentfully if the accusation was aimed at her when the glass doors admitted a burst of the rumble of traffic on Piccadilly before sweeping it out again. “Any messages, Peter?” the newcomer said.
“Nothing for you or Mr Logan, Miss Kerr.” To Daniella he murmured “That’s his secretary.”
“I know. Hi, Janis.”
“Hi, Daniella.”
The receptionist struggled to maintain a smile as his words began to flee him. “Excuse me, Miss Kerr, this young lady isn’t, that’s to say, is she . . .”
“She’s the great man’s best production.”
“I’m sure. Will you take Miss Logan up to him, Miss Kerr?”
“Happy to,” said Janis, but stayed Daniella with a negligently half-open hand until the receptionist looked up from the clipboard he’d abruptly found interesting. “Even though she’s who she is you’ll need to give her a visitor’s pass.”
“Absolutely. I was just—” Just relieved, Daniella thought, that Janis headed for the lift without waiting for his stumble at an explanation. He shoved the visitors’ book across the desk for Daniella to sign and crouched off his seat to hand her a plastic badge. “Sorry,” he pleaded in a whisper.
“I believe you,” Daniella said as Janis restrained the lift on her behalf. The box of mirrors full of images of Janis—tall, elegant, sallow, ebony-haired as a film in glossy monochrome—and of herself—slim enough, face too round to be really interesting, small nose that annoyed her by appearing to want to look cute, blonde hair in which last month’s rust was lingering—had barely closed its doors when Janis said “Any problems with our new boy?”
Daniella remembered how she’d had to search for a summer job—how hard it was for so many people to find work. “No,” she said.
Janis snapped open her suede handbag to touch up her black lipstick. “So what brings you to town?”
“I was supposed to have lunch with my mother, only one of the companies she looks after, their computers crashed this morning. I was on my way out when she called, so I thought I’d use my ticket anyway.”
“I know Mr Logan will be glad you did. Stop him brooding over whatever’s on his mind,” Janis said as the doors revealed the London offices of Oxford Films.
A carpet greener than grass after rain led along the wide blue corridor. Framed posters from the fifties showed suited people accompanied by slogans that grew less discreet as the decade progressed, until by its end they were promising horrors in bright red before discovering sex for the sixties and seventies. Nana Babouris’s face appeared on some of them, and occupied more space as the posters abandoned sex to become steadily braver and weepier. Two posters for Help Her to Live—Nana beaming as she lost a wheelchair race to her adopted daughter for the British market, Nana lifting her high above the child’s chair for America—guarded Janis’s door, and Daniella recalled using up a boxful of tissues when, at ten years old, she’d watched the film. She grinned wryly and dabbed at her eyes as she followed Janis into the office.
Janis sat behind her wide thin pine desk and tugged her charcoal skirt over her darkly nyloned knees as she thumbed the intercom. “Mr Logan? I thought you’d want to know your daughter’s here.”
His response was audible through both the speaker and the connecting door. “I’m on my way,” he shouted and flung the door open to stride out, his white shirt bulging with his stomach but not quite straining at its buttons, his arms and his bright blue eyes wide, his bushy eyebrows crowding creases up his high forehead all the way to the temples that used to boast more of his grey hair. He hugged Daniella and rubbed her spine until he yanked her T-shirt out of her jeans, and she did her best to match his fierceness, however overstated she’d begun to find it recently. “Good to see you too,” she gasped.
“That isn’t the half of it. You’re a picture.” With some reluctance, as if he hadn’t finished assuring himself she was there, he left off hugging her and led her by the hand into his office. “Say, you can be the audience,” he said.
Beyond the window flanked by posters a bus without a roof passed soundlessly, its sightseers turning their backs on the Logans with a movement so unified it might have been choreographed to gaze across Green Park towards Buckingham Palace. Fat bags of soft black leather sprawled on the tubular frames of chairs in front of and behind her father’s massive antique desk. A man with a briefcase gripped between his gleaming coaly brogues sat perched on the edge of the chair facing the desk as though he was afraid to relax. “Isaac Faber. He wants to make movies,” her father said. “Isaac, meet my only child.”
The man sprang up to shake her hand, nearly tripping over the briefcase, and sat again at once. His scalp was only slightly hairier than his unshaven chin. His pudgy youthful face was doing its best to be ready for whatever came next, and she felt sorry for him. Her father sat on a couch and patted the portly cushion beside him, and said as she joined him “Try and sell my daughter. She’s your target audience.”
“It’s,” Isaac Faber told her, “well, as I was saying, it’s about searching for a myth.”
“Who’s doing that?”
“That’s right. I mean, it’s interesting you ask. I was thinking while you fetched your daughter, Mr Logan, it could be a knight, Arthurian, he could be. Brought to life by magic or he’s been in like suspended animation till people need him again.”
“That part sounds better,” Daniella’s father said.
“He sets out to look for others like him,” Daniella was eagerly informed, “but he can’t find any, so he goes searching for what people believe in like they used to believe in the Holy Grail. And he finds the world’s more savage than it was the last time he was alive. The only myths left are success and wealth and power, and people will do anything to get them.”
“Sounds pretty true.”
“But would you pay to watch it?” her father said.
“I don’t know,” she had to admit.
“Sounds like no to me. There’s your answer, Mr Faber, from a young lady who goes to the movies every week. People need myths to live by. That’s why The Flood broke records. My daughter and her friend Chrysteen saw it twice.”
He was directing a thumbs-up at the posters for the film, the ark balanced on a dripping mountain-top beneath a rainbow, the column of Oscars—best cinematography, best effects, best original song (The Engine Of My Heart: “No oars, no sails, just the engine of my heart . . .”) all dwarfed by the image in the clouds of Shem (Daniel Ray) embracing Sarah (Nancy Hilton). “We fancy Daniel Ray,” Daniella said.
“That’s what movies are about, Isaac, giving people what they want, not what you think they ought to. Lots of animals and fart jokes for the kids, and romance for the ladies, and action for us men, and spectacle for the family, and wonder on top of it all to send everyone out feeling they’ve been somewhere they want to go back.”
“I thought you might want to consider investing some of your profits in a movie that could earn you a different kind of award.”
Daniella’s father grew monolithically still, as he did on learning she’d behaved in some way he thought wrong. Whatever she might have dreaded he would say to Isaac Faber, it wasn’t “Want to teach me about investments too?”
“Only—”
“Some of the television companies have public money to risk is what I hear. Try them. Now if you’ll excuse us, it’s been too long since what’s left of my family had a talk.”
Isaac Faber grabbed his briefcase and stared at it until he was out of the chair. “Thanks for your time,” he said, his attention shuttling between his listeners, “and your advice.” He closed the door with a painful gentleness before making a rapid escape. “What a monster,” Daniella’s father said.
“I didn’t think he was that bad.”
“Not him. Me.”
“You were only doing your job. You’re still my usual dad.” Nevertheless he’d given her the chance to ask “What’s the matter?”
“What should be?”
“I’d say you had something on your mind.”
“Plenty of room for it.” When the quip didn’t turn her gaze aside he said “I guess, I guess I just don’t understand how anyone could think I’d care to put my name anywhere near the kind of message that guy wanted to send. Maybe you can tell me what I must be doing wrong.”
“Nothing I know about.”
He reached out to her with the hand that used to sport his wedding ring, but refrained from touching her. “I wish you’d told me you were coming.”
“Don’t worry, dad, I wasn’t trying to catch you out.”
“At what? How do you mean?”
“At nothing. That’s my point.”
“I meant Mr Faber could have waited and we’d have had lunch,” he said, tramping to his chair behind the desk. “So how’s your work shaping up?”
“I like having to act and not just being a waitress.”
“Your university work, Daniella.”
“Good.”
He rubbed his forehead, but the creases stayed as deep. “You didn’t need to get yourself a summer job. You could have come home to me and had more time to study.”
“I don’t need more time, honestly, and I want to earn a bit. You always said how hard you had to work to get a break.” She could have added that she valued her independence, but she knew that wouldn’t please him. “I thought you’d be happy I got a start in life.”
She didn’t expect to see his eyes grow moist and turn upwards as his hands closed into fists on either side of his gold pen standing tall in its golden holder. She could only assume he was growing nostalgic. “Anyway,” she said, “don’t you want me to use my student house when you bought it for me?”
“Make the most of it, yes. I know you’re doing that, even if you could ask your tenants for more rent. I know they’re your friends, but that’s all the more reason to do business properly with them.” He drew a breath that reddened his face and blurted “Listen, Daniella—”
He could hardly have been inviting her to hear the footsteps that became audible just as the door was edged open. “Teddy, we need to talk,” the newcomer declared. “Oh, hello, Daniella.”
He was her father’s partner Alan Stanley, and she didn’t believe he hadn’t known she was there. He stalked past, lanky and stooped and round-shouldered, bestowing scents of soap and after-shave and deodorant on her, and leaned down to grip the edge of her father’s desk. “It’s been long enough,” he said.
Her father lifted his hands as though to seize his partner by the lapels and pull him conspiratorially close. Instead he muttered “I’ll be with you in a minute.”
“Don’t let anything prevent you.” Stanley laid his gaze on Daniella as he retreated to the door. “Please,” he said.
Her father seemed anxious, but not to stand up. “Will you wait till I’m through?” he said to her, barely a query. “Then I’ll drive you back and we can talk. No, you’ll be bored waiting.” He turned to the safe and typed the combination fast as a stenographer. “You go shopping and be back in let’s say two hours.”
“Thanks, dad, but . . .” As he lifted out a wad of twenty-pound notes she saw a slim white wooden box at the rear of the safe. “What’s that?” she said.
“My wad for emergencies.”
“Not the money. The box.”
“Nothing.” His face appeared uncertain whether to grow pale or red as he shut the metal door. “How much shall I give you?” he said, hurrying around the desk.
“As much as you want, only dad, I’m not going to be able to stick around that long. I have to get back to meet someone this evening.”
“Someone.”
“Right, someone I know.”
“With a name.”
“Blake.”
“Which end of the someone is that?”
“His front. His first name.”
“You don’t know the rest of him?”
“Of course I do. Blake Wainwright.”
“Have I heard of him?”
“I’ve only known him a few weeks. He’s okay.”
“You think you can know a person in that short a time? I guess it depends how you mean knowing.”
“Not the way the Bible does.”
“Don’t, either, if you care whether I sleep nights. You won’t thank me for saying this again, but it isn’t like it used to be when I was your age and you could go to a clinic if you had to. These days sleeping round can kill you, and let me tell you your mom and I never did. Never slept with anyone till we were married.”
His concern for her had grown even more stifling since her mother had divorced him. She saw him waving notes at her like a fee for keeping herself pure, which seemed almost as demeaning as the reverse. “Maybe I won’t either,” she said with some resentment.
“I pray it’s more than maybe. Keep faith with me over that at least. You’re enough of your own person to have that respect for yourself. This Blake of yours, you can’t know if he’s been with anyone else, can you? Even if he says he hasn’t.”
“Believe it or not, I haven’t asked.” She saw her father preparing to worry the subject further, but she’d had a good deal more than enough. “I thought you had to talk to Mr Stanley,” she said.
“I have to talk with you.” For a moment he looked paralysed by the conflict, only the skin around his eyes moving, and then he snatched a sheaf of notes off the wad. “Take this anyway,” he said, planting the money in her hand. “It’ll help you keep me in mind. Spend it however you like.”
It must have been at least two hundred pounds. He threw the rest of the wad in the safe, which he shut again so fast she scarcely glimpsed the white box. “You don’t have to give me this,” she said. “It wasn’t why I came.”
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