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Johannes Cabal the Necromancer [Paperback]

Jonathan L. Howard
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
RRP: £8.99
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Book Description

4 Feb 2010

The start of a fantastic new series.

Johannes Cabal has never pretended to be a hero of any kind. There is, after all, little heroic about robbing graves, stealing occult volumes, and being on nodding terms with demons. His purpose, however, is noble. His researches are all directed to raising the dead. For such a prize, some sacrifices are necessary. One such sacrifice was his own soul, but he now sees that was a mistake - it's not just that he needs it for his research to have validity, but now he realises he needs it to be himself. Unfortunately, his soul now rests within the festering bureaucracy of Hell. Satan may be cruel and capricious but, most dangerously, he is bored. It is Cabal's unhappy lot to provide him with amusement.

In short, a wager: in return for his own soul, Cabal must gather one hundred others - in one year.

One year to beat the Devil at his own game. And isn't that perhaps just a little heroic?


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Johannes Cabal the Necromancer + Johannes Cabal: The Fear Institute (Johannes Cabal 3)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Headline (4 Feb 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0755347854
  • ISBN-13: 978-0755347858
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 179,602 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jonathan L. Howard is a game designer and BAFTA nominated scriptwriter of some twenty years experience.

He's been a novelist since 2009, débuting with the darkly humorous "Johannes Cabal the Necromancer." Since then the sequels "Johannes Cabal the Detective" (2010) and "Johannes Cabal: The Fear Institute" (2011) have also seen print.

A new Cabal novel is set for publication in late 2014.

2012 saw the publication of the first novel of his Russalka Chronicles trilogy, "Katya's World," a YA science fiction story that takes place on the dangerous and unforgiving ocean-covered world of Russalka. The first sequel, "Katya's War," was published in 2013.

2014 saw the beginning of the "Goon Squad" project, an ongoing story of mismatched superheroes, published in monthly episodes.

Jonathan L. Howard lives with his family in the English West Country.

Product Description

Book Description

Will appeal to fans of Terry Pratchett and Tim Burton

About the Author

Jonathan L. Howard is a game designer, scriptwriter, and a veteran of the computer games industry since the early 'nineties with titles such as the 'Broken Sword' series to his credit. He lives in the United Kingdom with his wife and daughter.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A damn near perfect book 8 Feb 2010
Format:Paperback
Johannes Cabal, a brilliant scientist and notorious snob, is obsessed with raising the dead. Tormented by a dark and harrowing secret, he travels to the fiery pits of hell to retrieve his soul, long ago sold to the Devil. Satan, incredibly bored and hungry for a challenge, proposes a little wager: Johannes has one year to persuade one hundred people to sign over their souls or he will lose his forever. To keep things interesting, Satan generously throws in a traveling carnival to help Johannes collect on the bargain. With little time to lose, Johannes raises a crew from the dead and enlists his brother, Horst, a charismatic vampire, to be his right-hand man. Once on the road, Johannes and his troupe of reprobates cause mayhem at every stop. But are his tricks enough to beat the Devil at his own game?

From the blurb above, so far this book sounds like Tom Holt, or Terry Pratchett, or any other comedic fantasy author, right? No, definitely not! Jonathan L. Howard infuses Johannes Cabal the Necromancer with flavours from other authors and from films, but the book as a whole is unique and very, very funny. It has the same gruesome humor as Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas, but remains distinctive through the use of snappy one-liners and characters you'll love to hate.

The pacing is perfect. We start with an entertaining visit to Hell (a bureaucratic nightmare, with a pen-pushing clerk as a doorman). Then, the plot kicks into a higher gear and sweeps through a year of thrilling adventures as Johannes Cabal attempts to win his wager with Satan by running a twisted carnival. Howard gives us a sample of Cabal's attempts to collect souls, but doesn't overdo this aspect of the novel.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Strangely Brilliant 13 Jan 2012
Format:Paperback
I can't really extend my review past the two words I used in the title - this book is quite simply strange yet brilliant.

The book is cast with a bizarre set of flawlessly moulded characters straight out of a Tim Burton fairy tale, but Howard's clever descriptions and hooking plot lines really showcase his mad troupe of personas. Johannes Cabal himself is the perfect anti-hero: slimy and cheap enough to hate, but witty and clever enough to love.

The plot itself is simple enough, but is astutely intercepted with snippets of sheer genius. Howard strikes the perfect balance of a strong, clear yet humourous plot line. At times it will have you crying with laughter, and screaming at the ink in fury at others, but the overall result is a well-crafted and brilliant read. A must read for any fantasy lover, or a great place to start for those new to the genre!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Uniquely charming 13 Sep 2011
By Sam Woodward TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
After reading The Fear Institute at a frantic pace, I picked this up straight away & read it in a matter of days. And now I'm speeding my way through book 2, unable to put that down either!

In times past, the infamous necromancer Cabal sold his soul to Satan in exchange for knowledge - knowledge to further his researches into conquering death. He has since found that owning a soul is necessary for his work, so somewhat dispassionately makes a further deal with the devil - if he can get 100 people to sign away their souls within a year, his own will be returned to him. And just to make things interesting, Satan provides him with an infernal carnival to help tempt the unsuspecting. This would be a wretched task for anyone but since Cabal's moral compass no longer points North, it's easier for him than most people - but Satan's determined not to make it too straightforward.

This charming book brings to mind a darker, more adult Terry Pratchett, combined with some very thorny ethical dilemmas. Like a vampire, it weaves a seductive charm but after a while, throws some unexpectedly thorny moral dillemas your way. Funny & thought-provoking with an iconic main character, this book is difficult to put down & constantly entertaining, with a couple of subtle references to H.P. Lovecraft - hints of things to come in book 3, which is set in a world realised by the master of eldrich fiction. It's unique, darkly amusing & very compelling.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars witty jack vanceish novel 13 Oct 2010
By jw1951
Format:Paperback
I thought that this was an amusing and clever supernatural comedy. The hero, if that's the word, pits his wits (with varying degrees of success) against a variety of antagonists, including the Devil himself, and deals with a variety of perplexing situations. Jack Vance's Cugel the Clever is maybe the original of the Cabal character, with Vance's "Eyes of the Overworld" surely being the defining novel of this type, but Johannes Cabal is a good imitation, nearly matching Cugel for cynicism, and the book isn't without depth, including pathos, or even tragedy, which Vance doesn't really do. Highly recommended.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Treat 18 Mar 2010
Format:Paperback
What an unexpected find this book was! I admit I got it as a bit of an afterthought when selecting my latest pile of fiction - as I don't often browse in the 'fantasy' genre - but this was the stand-out book amongst my varied purchases. Many authors have either a good story, good characters, or a good grasp of humour, but it's rare to find all three in the same place - Johannes Cabal the Necromancer has them in spades.

Engaging, intelligent, witty, dark, light yet not shallow, clever and memorable. More fun than a ride on a train full of evil carnies!

My main hope now is that there will be many more Johannes Cabal books to come.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars light hearted frippery
A good book for those looking to pass time and not have to think too hard. Great late evening read
Published 5 months ago by Way ahead
3.0 out of 5 stars Soulless but he still has a heart...... in a Britt way!
A great read of an unpredictable anti-hero. A cyprt dwelling vampire brother, a carnival designed to steal souls! A wager with Satan himself? Read more
Published 8 months ago by Miss GJ Bennett
5.0 out of 5 stars Strangely attractive
Johannes Cabal is arrogant, bad tempered, intolerant, supremely selfish,...and almost any other unpleasant trait you care to name... Read more
Published 8 months ago by MR ALASDAIR G FORBES
5.0 out of 5 stars Not for me but~
Bought this book for my daughter for christmas,not my cup of tea but she loved it,just wish she would stop going on about it.
Published 12 months ago by Tony Wilson
5.0 out of 5 stars very funny
races along at lightening speed. I read this quickly, couln't put it down!
Wanted to read it again almost straight away.
Published 13 months ago by badger
5.0 out of 5 stars Despicable Him
Johannes is a despicable character in many ways, but entertainingly so. No, he's not the "charming villain" as this particular villain comes from an almost entirely emotionless,... Read more
Published 14 months ago by Magnus Hølvold
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the most entertaining books I've read in recent years.
All I can say is "buy this book", you won't be disappointed. Full of quirky characters in surreal situations, this is a well written, dark but full of humour, debut.
Published 15 months ago by Steven C ASHFORD
1.0 out of 5 stars Unreadble formatting.
I found the formatting in this Kindle book made it unreadable.

Everytime there was a new paragraph there was a large gap between paragraphs, it was very unsual. Read more
Published 22 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars The perfect mix of the macarbe/humor
I began this book with an open mind, by page 5 I was laughing while been dragged into my love of horror, magic, demons and the devil. Read more
Published on 4 Mar 2012 by Mr. T. Dure
4.0 out of 5 stars Satirical horror at its best
I enjoyed this book, probably because it appeals to the more depraved area of my psyche. This is a very inventive piece of writing and the characters - almost all grotesque - are... Read more
Published on 12 Feb 2012 by Jack Murphy
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