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Hell's Bells: Samuel Johnson Vs the Devil [Hardcover]

John Connolly
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)

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Book Description

12 May 2011

Samuel Johnson - with a little help from his dachshund Boswell and a very unlucky demon named Nurd - has sent the demons back to Hell. But the diabolical Mrs Abernathy is not one to take defeat lying down.

When she reopens the portal and sucks Samuel and Boswell down into the underworld, she brings an ice-cream van full of dwarfs as well. And two policemen. Can this eccentric gang defeat the forces of Evil? And is there life after Hell for Nurd?

Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton (12 May 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1444724940
  • ISBN-13: 978-1444724943
  • Product Dimensions: 14.4 x 22.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 414,141 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

John Connolly was born in Dublin in 1968. His debut -EVERY DEAD THING - swiftly launched him right into the front rank of thriller writers, and all his subsequent novels have been Sunday Times bestsellers. He is the first non-American writer to win the US Shamus award. (For Every Dead Thing). In 2007 he was awarded the Irish Post Award for Literature.

Product Description


His young teen audience will be amused (Financial Times Weekend)

Praise for THE GATES:

'Brilliant. I loved every word of it. John has found a voice that compares favourably with Stephen King and Monty Python which is not an easy trick. The Gates is delightfully horrific and hilarious and will create legions of fans among the living and undead, who will be bloodthirsty for more.'

(Eoin Colfer)

Destined to be another runaway success appealing to both young adults and their parents alike. (Sunday Independent)

Incredibly enjoyable. (FHM)

A demonic, darkly comic tale . . . satisfyingly peppered with science, history and amusing footnotes on everything from St Thomas Aquinas to quantum theory, and will go down well with readers of Eoin Colfer and Lemony Snicket. (Daily Telegraph)

Book Description

Samuel Johnson v. The Devil, Round II. Ask not for whom the bell tolls. Just start running.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A cracking good read - and very funny too 23 Mar 2011
By Ms. R. L. A. Amelan VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Hell's Bells is a book that has a good storyline with the odd unusual twist, plenty of quirky characters and a bent towards educating young and old alike. There are also some similarities with other books which left me with an odd sense of deja vu when I finished the final pages. I also found myself making double-takes when presented with the various moral concepts within the main plot. This does not mean, however, that I did not enjoy the whole experience hugely.

The plot concerns Samuel Johnson and his dog, Boswell, who get pulled into Hell by Mrs. Abernathy, a fiend bent on using him for her own ends (they met in a previous book). Along with Samuel, by mistake, come two policeman, an ice-cream man - complete with his van - and three rather naughty dwarves. The story gives the reader an account of how they all attempt to return home and also a vivid tour of Hell and its innermost workings. The account is extremely engaging, well written and the humour tremendous, so much so that I found myself laughing out loud. I also thought that the tale unfolded sufficiently carefully so that the reader was drawn through the book and the action did not flag.

It is important to say from the start that this story is aimed at children of eight and above. I think, however, that some of the vocabulary would be a little too difficult for the younger ones and many would require input from both adult and dictionary to interpret the text. This does not mean, however, that they would not enjoy the story and the writing style, which is very good indeed.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining read for young and old 24 Mar 2011
By Paul Lynch VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
As with some of the other reviewers, this was my introduction to John Connolly, and I was pleased to make his acquaintance. "Hell's Bells" is written for the pre-teen audience, with plenty of innocent comedy, but touches on some of the larger moral issues that you might not expect to see in a children's book, with a very (unstated, but obvious) Christian emphasis, despite there being no mention of the other side ("God", Heaven, angels, clergy, etc). There are obvious nods to Dante's Inferno and Pilgrim's Progress in the architecture of Hell and the episodic progression of the various characters through Hell; the clearest stylistic comparison would be Terry Pratchett, and yet I am also strongly reminded of Flann O'Brien's The Third Policeman. In particular, I loved the footnotes, with their quirky emphasis on the history of science, and wished there were more of them (I am still thinking about the one involving Marat and Lavoisier).

Connolly has two characters "saved" from Hell, in a way: one through willingness for self-sacrifice which indicates repentance; the other implicitly through his friendship with Samuel. The other characters in Hell remain there, damned by their own attitudes, both devils and souls. The nature of the devils and imps was sometimes used for horror, and at other times for comedy; this is an uneasy mixture, resolved by keeping the horrific devils well separated from the comic ones. Glimpses of the Great Malevolence were scarce, rather like Sauron in the Lord of the Rings, and therefore not entirely compelling as the opposition, leading to the question: if he is mad, then can he really be the Devil?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Engaging and amusing 14 April 2011
By E. Chittenden VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
As is always the case with John Connolly, regardless of whether the book is targeted at adults or children, his stories are engaging. I loved the first children's book The Gates that Connolly wrote. The character of Nurd had me in stitches of laughter, and this book again didn't disappoint. I have to admit, it's a little slow to get going, and all the foot notes tend to be a little distracting. Whatever the case, this story didn't disappoint, nor did the characters.

I'd say this book is for children and big kids alike. With the same writing style as his Bird Parker books, all characters are brought to life and really make the story worth reading.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping, witty, and scientifically plausible. 10 April 2011
By Mad Saint Uden VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I'd never heard of the author so was surprised by the blurb about how much he's sold.

I enjoyed the tone of the book which reminded me of Douglas Adams - talking directly to the reader in an observational manner with bits of humor added. But it wasn't overly sarcastic and I liked the fact that these communications took the form of footnotes - not at all difficult to read, they connected nicely to imply the style of a science book...Which was convenient as there are sporadic modern scientific theories mentioned accurately as part of the plot...That is not to say this is in anyway 'educational' it just that the science mentioned is (currently) correct; and I like that very much in a book, especially one aimed at young people.

To be honest the only reason this is a 'young persons' book is that the lead character is a 13 year old boy. There are few other concessions and as such if you are a willing adult you should get as much out of this as the next 'young' person.

Really engaging from the offset, easy to pick up when you've been distracted by life getting in the way of reading. I would happily read the next one in the series - although I'm not sure there would be any point in reading the previous one other than purely for enjoyment as the plot outcome is known.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars If It's John Connolly, It's A Must Read......
Even though it is meant to be a children's book, I thoroughly enjoyed this next installment of Samuel Johnson. It is a must read.......
Published 1 month ago by Mrs. P, Harvey
5.0 out of 5 stars Move over Harry Potter
Having been a fan of John Connolly since his first Charlie Parker novel I approached the Samuel Johnson books with some trepidation, fearing a new Harry Potter type series. Read more
Published 1 month ago by John O'Donnell
5.0 out of 5 stars Like riding a bike!
Loved coming back to Samuel, Boswell and Nurd. So easy to slip back into the characters and style. Onto The Creeps next!
Published 4 months ago by Mr D H MacKay
4.0 out of 5 stars I didn't like it as much as The Gates
In the second book in the series the action takes part in Hell. The descriptions of Hell and the various demons and monsters are very good. Read more
Published 8 months ago by B. Bampton
3.0 out of 5 stars OK
Samuel Johnson is good,but it was a bit boring. This one was probably the best book out of the two books(HELLS BELLS)
I would reccomend this book to children aged 8-14.
Published 9 months ago by Mr Paul Dowling
2.0 out of 5 stars DON,T BUY THE WRONG BOOK!
I bought this book not realising that I already had it under a different title,THE INFERNALS. If I had returned the book I would have had to pay the postage and consequently ended... Read more
Published 12 months ago by A. R. W. Jarvis
5.0 out of 5 stars Such fun!
Nice to see something different from John Connolly. This is the follow up to 'Hell's Gates' and is just as barking mad as the first one! Read more
Published 19 months ago by Hedge Witch
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant ! (L.Muck age 10)
Really liked this as it was very funny. The descriptions were really good and I could picture it in my head. The skulls with footnotes were pretty good as they explained stuff. Read more
Published 23 months ago by C.Muck.
2.0 out of 5 stars So a sequel then....
Is it any good? Well....if you are an avid reader of authors such as Pratchett, Adams etc, then this is nothing new. However, the re-hashed jokes are funny. Read more
Published on 13 July 2012 by mutlien
5.0 out of 5 stars A really entertaining story for all the family
I got this book thinking it would be enjoyed by my 10 year old grand-daughter - in fact it was read by all the family. A thoroughly entertaining story with engaging characters. Read more
Published on 23 Feb 2012 by A. I. McCulloch
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