Marty Strauss, a gambling addict recently released from prison, is hired to be the personal bodyguard of Joseph Whitehead, one of the wealthiest men in the world. The job proves more complicated and dangerous than he thought, however, as Marty soon gets caught up in a series of supernatural events involving Whitehead, his daughter (who is a heroin addict), and a devilish man named Mamoulian, with whom Whitehead made a Faustian bargain many years earlier, during World War II.
As time passes, Mamoulian haunts Whitehead using his supernatural powers (such as the ability to raise the dead), urging him to complete his pact with him. Eventually Whitehead decides to escape his fate after a few encounters with Mamoulian and having his wife, former bodyguard, and now his daughter Carys taken away from him. With hope still left to save Carys, Marty Strauss, although reluctant to get involved in the old man Whiteheads deserved punishment, decides to get involved and attempt to save the innocent gifted addict from being another victim to the damnation game.
New cover art by: Christian Francis/Awesome Monkey UK
©1985 Clive Barker, Ink (P)2014 David N. Wilson
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"Yes...an oldie, but a goodie!"
Read this book awhile ago and thought why not...Ill take a listen to it, too. I was not disappointed...a good author shines through. Narration is good, not great but doesnt get in the way.
"Awesome release, I am a happy man!"
Hard to say, I began my love of reading as a young teen with Stephen King and Piers Anthony, some Dean Koontz, etc. But when I first read Barker, I thought to myself, "You can do that?!?!" I can't express in words alone how please I am that Crossroads Press is releasing new audio versions of Mr. Barker's works, first the Books of Blood (excellent and highly recommended) and now The Damnation Game. Thank you Crossroads Press and Audible!!!
Hard to say again, none of the characters are really that likable. Yet, each brings their own personality and flavor to the novel. The novel is very much a story of regret over life decisions. I think we all have some of those, so each character can be identified with to some extent. The only purely evil character in the book must be Anthony Breer, the last of the Razor Eaters, truly as disgusting and vile a character as I have ever read in a novel.
I actually liked his Whitehead as well as his Mamoulian. He expressed early Whitehead's cleverness well as well as his later cowardice and regret and yet he never took me over into complete sympathy (of which Whitehead really never is a truly sympathetic character), so I think Mr. Vance nailed him. I liked the odd, slow drawl he gave Mamoulian, it made him seem ancient and "Old European".
No, but there are some parts that are just downright creepy. Going through the whole story knowing that Breer is "not what he seems" (don't want to spoil anything here) while Breer doesn't even realize what is happening was genius. And just when we think we know how messed up Breer is, BAM! we get to see Mamoulian's basement and what lurks there... Barker hit it out of the park there. The descriptions of the nihilistic emptiness of "the void" is actually pretty disturbing in some respects, it makes one wonder about death and emptiness. The book definitely has it's moments.
This was Mr. Barker's first foray into a full novel and it differs somewhat from his Books of Blood short stories. The I gave everything only four stars because to get a five stars from me must mean it was some of the best I have ever read. I think this novel really merits maybe four and a half stars but not quite five because of one simple reason, it is quite long and I don't know that it really needed to be that long. Again, I think this was because it was his first novel, really nothing else. As well, I enjoy Mr. Vance, but some of the voices I recognized to be very similar to his reading of Tigana y Guy Gavriel Kay. That was just slightly off-putting to me, but I do believe Mr. Vance was the right narrator for this novel. His English accent matches very well to Mr. Barker's works. Other than that, I highly recommend The Damnation Game for any connoisseurs of the horror genre. You really can't go wrong with Clive Barker. Now, I await Weaveworld!
"Great Story Abruptly Ended"
Lived the story and the narrator...an amazing tale, and well worth the purchase. I felt it ended a little abruptly, but then again I guess it's rather difficult to end a story. I will be listening to this again.
"Fantastic story that leaves you wanting more"
I am very picky with my ratings, and normally I want review unless impressed or repulsed. This story is certainly the former! I read it years ago and was impressed by both its narrative flow and its plot. There are certain scenes that, if you're squeamish, you won't get through but it loved it, not because of its grotesques nature, but because Clive Barker didn't shy from it! The ending is suddenly, and leaves you screaming for more. Very good!
The narrator is probable the best I've ever heard! His voice is cultured and calm, but with clear emotion. Each character has been given a different cadence of speech, and he has even attempted each accent! While not perfect in this regard (the German in particular) you can tell each character without the need of the narrative supplying the name! He is fantastic! I will definitely search for more of his narration!
Clive Barker is one of my all-time favorite authors. He goes places no horror writer has ever gone and it's shocking, harrowing, and sometimes really beautiful. If you're a fan, you'll love it. If not, you're sure to become one.
"Damned If You Do"
Ooh, that's a tough one. It would really boil down to a personal preference for the listener/reader. The book, of course, resonates right off the page even to this day. I have a ratty, old paperback sitting on my shelf that I read passages from as I listened to this Audible edition, and I got sucked into it well through that experience. That said, the production value of this audiobook is remarkable, and does a great service to one of the best debut novels in the history of the horror genre.
Marty Strauss is a captivating character in his own right, but Mr. Whitehead, his employer, manages to steal the show through much of the novel. Seeming fitting when you consider Whitehead is known as the Thief. The pathetic gambler is damned as the book begins and his attempts to evade his fate only serve to amplify his already retched existence.
While I wouldn't exactly call it my favorite, it certainly burned itself into my brain, and that is the truly horrific and fateful encounter between Whitehead and Mamoulian's hulk of a minion, the Razor Eater himself, Anthony Breer. What little humanity remained of Breer, and it's doubtful there was any, is gone, washed away in a bloody scene that leaves both men irrevocably damaged. If the seemingly eternal torture doesn't haunt you after reading it, you may want to question your own humanity.
A Hell of a Gamble.
If accustomed to Barker's later works, The Damnation Game may feel somewhat jarring in the graphic nature of its subject matter. If you have a weak stomach or thin skin, you may be more wounded than wowed by this novel.
"Finally....thank you Audible!"
Hearing the unabridged version after reading the novel years ago.
The Faustian bargain of Whitehead, the rogues gallery of Barker's characters. they all play off each other well, and give you just enough background to flesh out the creepy cast.
Yes, on The Books Of Blood series, he gave a very good performance. Very well done narration and characterization of the various characters.
Yes, and no. This is my favorite Baker story, so I always love this one, but this is the first time I have been able to hear the unabridged version, versus the fully dramatized abridged version from Warner Audio.
...hint hint...please Audible...can you get the Warner Audio/Sound Editions dramatized version for us Audible listeners...pretty please? That is one of the best dramatized stories I have ever heard, personally. As far as I know, a digital version of this does not exist...I had to make one for myself from my original cassette tapes. I would love to have the dramatized/abridged version on Audible...for me that is my Holy Grail of audio books...other listeners would love it I believe.
The combination of Colin Fox's excellent narration along with a wonderful voice cast, and full music soundtrack and effects is why I hope that can be available on Audible some day, to compliment the unabridged version.
"not so much a "horror" as a.........."
.......... very well written thriller/suspense.
The narrator, Simon Vance, took ME a little getting used to. Once I got used to him I found his performance very enjoyable. He was able to bring each character to life.
Tho this is my first read/listen to a Clive Barker audio book, I did get to know his genre thru Hellraiser series, which I totally luv.
Mr. Barkers characters seemed to be well developed. The story as well as the characters drew you in, you were able to understand and able to relate to them.
The basis of the story, with out giving anything away, centered around a wealthy man that hired a prisoner to be his bodyguard, that fell in love with the man's daughter who had strange yet interesting abilities. Of course you also have the man that's behind everything and his henchman. I can not actually him a "bad" man, since you can actually understand his reasons for what he did. The book is not nearly as confusing as you may think my description is, lol, I promise.
The story is leisurely paced, it keeps your attention very well. It kept my attention so well, I found myself thinking about the characters even when I wasn't listening, making me lustre while I was driving, lol.
There wasn't anything outright sexual, as far as graphically is concerned. No real foul language, if any. No real blood and gore. The entire book was a great "listen". I'll probably listen to it again another time.
Thank you for reading my review, I hope you enjoy the book as much as I did.
"A classic revisited"
I enjoyed listening to this performance even more that my first read. Excellent narrator and excellent story.
"Intersting but overly gruesome."
People who like gruesome descriptions of maiming and decomposition.
Some images I didn't want in my head.
All the gruesome descriptions.
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