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Hell Train [Paperback]

Christopher Fowler
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
RRP: 7.99
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Book Description

5 Jan 2012
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 journeying 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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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Solaris (5 Jan 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 190799243X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1907992438
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 335,492 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Christopher Fowler was born in Greenwich, London. He is the multi award-winning author of thirty novels and ten short story collections, and the author of the Bryant & May mystery novels. His first bestseller was 'Roofworld'. Subsequent novels include 'Spanky', 'Disturbia', 'Psychoville' and 'Calabash'. His books have been optioned by Guillermo Del Toro ('Spanky') and Jude Law ('Psychoville'). He spent 25 years working in film.

He recently wrote 'Red Gloves', 25 new stories of unease to mark his first 25 years of writing. His memoir 'Paperboy' won the Green Carnation Award, and is being followed by a new volume, 'Film Freak', in April 2013. Other new books include the dark comedy-thriller 'Plastic' and 'Invisible Ink: The Mysterious Case Of The Disappearing Authors'.

He has written comedy and drama for BBC radio, including Radio One's first broadcast drama in 2005. He writes for the FT and the Independent on Sunday, Black Static magazine and many others. His graphic novel for DC Comics was the critically acclaimed 'Menz Insana'. His short story 'The Master Builder' became a feature film entitled 'Through The Eyes Of A Killer', starring Tippi Hedren and Marg Helgenberger. In the past year he has been nominated for 8 national book awards. He is the winner of the Edge Hill prize 2008 for 'Old Devil Moon', and the Last Laugh prize 2009 for 'The Victoria Vanishes'.

Christopher has achieved several pathetic schoolboy fantasies, releasing a terrible Christmas pop single, becoming a male model, writing a stage show, posing as the villain in a Batman graphic novel, running a night club, appearing in the Pan Books of Horror, and standing in for James Bond.

His short stories have appeared in Best British Mysteries, The Time Out Book Of London Short Stories, Dark Terrors, London Noir, Neon Lit, Cinema Macabre, the Mammoth Book of Horror and many others. After living in the USA and France he is now married and lives in King's Cross, London and Barcelona.

Product Description

About the Author

Based in London, Christopher Fowler is the multi-award winning author of more than thirty novels, including the lauded Bryant & May mystery novels. In 2010 alone he has been nominated for eight national book awards.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All aboard! All aboard! 29 Dec 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
All aboard indeed for the latest from Christopher Fowler.Hell Train is like having all the best moments from the Hammer /Amicus films in book form.I don't want to give the plot away but half way through this book there is a chase sequence that had me turning pages almost faster then I could read.I found myself nearly reading this book in one sitting so engrossed had I become with the fates of the chracters and the situations that they found themselves.It even had me rooting for minor characters who's story looked a foregone conclusion.

The story has all the elements you would wish to find in a good chiller,dark atmospheric enviroments, a feeling of unease creeping into the events throughout,well drawn characters you care about ,the right amount of gore without becoming torture porn but adding to the feeling of threat,and don't start me on the Conductor or the other one beginning with B,( I PROMISE NO SPOILERS.)

The story, like the train on which the unsuspecting protagonists board moves along at a cracking pace.This is truely a genuinely thrilling and chilling read .Not to be missed.

Arkangel .let the train bring the pain.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Huge fan 2 Feb 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I love the Bryant and May stories and decided to try this by the same author, I was not disappointed, a nice Gothic horror tale of mystery and suspence. a good read on my kindle.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Horrific Hammer Homage 5 Jan 2012
Hell Train starts with an intriguing premise. American screenwriter Shane Carter has left Hollywood and come to the UK during the `swinging sixties', when Hammer Films are at the zenith of their popularity. He is given the opportunity to write a script for the studio. It is the story of the Hell Train, The Arkangel, he writes and this forms the main body of the novel.

I don't want to give away too much plot detail but suffice to say that the four main protagonists fall nicely into the well-established stereotypes you would expect to find in many Hammer films. Just remember that Hell Train is meant as a homage and everything will make perfect sense. There is the innocent wide-eyed female villager, the womanising army deserter, a weak willed vicar and his over-bearing wife. Each character has their own secrets and flaws and these are revealed as the story unfolds. This is where a novel gets the opportunity to excel over the visual medium of film. Readers get a deeper glimpse into the motivations of the characters. We get to learn more of their back story and their reasons for boarding the train the first place.

Interspersed throughout the main narrative we get a few occasional jumps back to Shane as he continues to write. I have to admit the first time this happened I was so engrossed in the goings on aboard the Arkangel this caught me completely off guard. Kudos to Christopher Fowler, I had all but forgotten that this was a story taking place within the confines of another story. It was also an unexpected and pleasant surprise to have the likes of Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee appear in cameo. The suggestion of their proposed roles in the Hell Train movie was a particularly nice touch.

Hell Train is a visceral love letter to Hammer Films.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Top notch horror with a nostalgic twist 2 Jan 2012
By Gareth Wilson - Falcata Times Blog TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Kindle Edition
Christopher Fowler is perhaps best known for his Bryant and May Detective series so I was a little apprehensive when I discovered that he was writing a horror story for Solaris, not that I doubted that he could do it, but when an author is established in one genre, it is often hard for the reader to adapt to them in another.

That said, I really shouldn't have worried as a lot of the skills utilised in the crime genre translate wonderfully to the horror. As usual with Christopher's writing you have top notch characters, solid prose and of course when added to an illustrious history of British Horror Giant, Hammer, then it's a tales that's as gripping in the bound form as the celluloid was for me growing up.

Add to this, a few magical twists alongside an identifiable authorly voice which will leave the reader in no doubt about what a treat this title is with the odd sleight of hand trick. Cracking.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
During World War II card sharp Nicholas Castleford, who is on the run for fraud, ends up on the wrong train, at the wrong time, at the wrong town of Chelmsk, an uncouth town where he discovers the luscious county flower, the blonde Isabella. As foreign troops close in on Chelmski, Isabella learns she may be mutilated by her husband and his friends so that she won't cheat on him, and so that she won't be raped by the advancing foreign troops.

Well, this is the last straw, Isabella decides to decamp the backward Chelmski with the womanizing slick Nick, and in desperation they get on the wrong train, a ghost train called "Arkangel" that only shows up on midnight at Chelmski once per year. And they aren't the only ones, also getting off the wrong train, and then being forced to get on the Hell Train are the unhappily married Thomas and Miranda Wellesly, a pair who will provide stark contrast to Nicholas and Isabella.

Then as the couples realize that they are trapped on the train they can't get off of, the poo does a mighty fine job of hitting the fan as all of the people on the train will be subject to trials that will try their souls from zombies, killer insects, plague, vampires, and (maybe) a personal representative from Satan himself. There is the realization amongst the survivors that the peasants that populate the train may already be dead, and have to relive their damnation over and over again for eternity. This is while the living must bet their souls in a game in which Satan forever wins, all in the hope that maybe this time things will be different.

This is a story within a story within a story.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Hammer Horror fun
“Imagine there was a supernatural chiller that Hammer Films never made…” This takes that enticing prospect and builds on the conceit brilliantly, with Shane Carter - a screenwriter... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Mark West
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
Christopher Fowler scores another hit.
Great book up there with his best .I.e sparky ext.
Next book for me will be his novel plastic
Published 6 months ago by gordon craig
4.0 out of 5 stars Not Bryant and May!
I bought this because I had very much enjoyed the Bryant and May books. This book is very different but very clever!
Published 7 months ago by Clarissa
5.0 out of 5 stars A tour-de-force
Intelligently written, clever and perfectly horrifying. Of course it's a take on 1950s horror movies, but don't be misled by the cover. This isn't camp. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Annette Baca
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully entertaining
Christopher Fowler is yet again an entertaining read. It's hard to put down,totally diferent than Bryant and May novels but an interesting read
Published 11 months ago by mayanguy
4.0 out of 5 stars Ok
Readable but not as "dark" as I was expecting. However, it was an ok read, relatively engaging and I finished it !!!
Published 14 months ago by chris Dearden
5.0 out of 5 stars well written
Keeps you guessing,and is well paced,with good characters. The action is well written,and you want to keep turning the page.
Published 15 months ago by Diana Adams
1.0 out of 5 stars Poor
I really wanted to love this book. It sounded almost perfect for my tastes, but sadly I didn't enjoy it at all. Read more
Published 16 months ago by david
3.0 out of 5 stars Fat controller runs out of steam
Hammer films, the romance of travelling by steam train; what could possibly go wrong?

Well, quite a lot, it seems. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Mikey C
5.0 out of 5 stars They don't make 'em like this anymore
Fowler's rip-roaring yarn is truly the Hammer film that time (and, sadly, the development executives) forgot, with enough camp to fill Glastonbury Festival, plenty of claret to... Read more
Published on 24 Jun 2012 by Frazer Lee
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