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Once Audio CD – Abridged, Audiobook


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Product details

  • Audio CD: 3 pages
  • Publisher: Macmillan Digital Audio (4 May 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0230528538
  • ISBN-13: 978-0230528536
  • Product Dimensions: 12.5 x 2.3 x 14 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (188 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,208,366 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

James Herbert was not just Britain's number one bestselling writer of chiller fiction, a position he held ever since publication of his first novel, but was also one of our greatest popular novelists. Widely imitated and hugely influential, his twenty-three novels have sold more than fifty-four million copies worldwide, and have been translated into over thirty languages, including Russian and Chinese. In 2010, he was made the Grand Master of Horror by the World Horror Convention and was also awarded an OBE by the Queen for services to literature. His final novel was Ash. James Herbert died in March 2013.

Product Description

Amazon Review

Once is the latest in the welcome new phase of James Herbert's career after he distanced himself from the straightforward "horror" tag afforded to him by earlier novels such as the Rats trilogy and cannily reinvented himself as a writer with considerably more psychological insight and elegance of style.

Trading on a grotesque reinvention of fairy stories, Herbert has his protagonist Thorn Kindred encountering witches, goblins and demons, and being obliged to turn to some very strange sources to save his soul. The new ambitiousness of Herbert's writing may be found in the underpinning of the narrative here: this is a grim and persuasively realised spin on Nietzsche's epigram: "When fighting monsters, beware of becoming one yourself." But long-time readers needn't worry about a lack of grisly chills: Herbert is too fine a writer not to keep us permanently on the edge of our proverbial seats. And he's better than ever at orchestrating his fear-filled climaxes, so that there is a carefully worked out structure to the book that never has the stop-and-start jerkiness of the early novels. Rather in the nature of Sondheim's musical Into the Woods, fairy tale motifs are exploded and reconstituted in this dark and erotic fable. After reading Once, fairy tales will never seem the same again. --Barry Forshaw --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

'...this memorable novel is a true classic' - Publishing News; '...an apocalyptic vision' - Independent; 'Britain's topselling horror master is at his chilling best again in this disturbing page-turner' - Liverpool Echo; 'There is not a moment in this book when the reader cannot fail to be moved as well as horrified as the tale unfolds' - Books Magazine; 'A humane and inspiring tale' - Glasgow Herald --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By I Weltch on 15 May 2002
Format: Paperback
I expected a 'SCARY' version of a fairy-tale but what I actually found was an 'ADULT' version of a fairy-tale. Adult being sexual content rather than the thrills and chills of a good horror read. 'Once' had all the usual fairy tale content, the good witch (actually a mermaid type girl), the evil witch, who, to Herbert's credit, was in fact deliciously evil and the good elf who helps our hero. I was expecting more from an author of such brilliant novels as 'Creed' and 'The Dark' but I was disappointed by the fact that the sexual content seemed to overpower the storyline.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 16 May 2002
Format: Paperback
I don't think James Herbert is a good writer. His prose is unwieldy and his characters lifeless. However, he is often a good storyteller, and he has a talent for creating macabre horror set-pieces, for example the man pecked to death by his racing pigeons in "The Fog".
Every so often though the James Herbert Fiction Machine throws a wobbly and we get something like "Once". The premise, that fairies really do exist at the bottom of the garden, is interesting enough, but the story gets lost among endless descriptions of the countryside and the inclusion of laughable attempts at erotic scenes does nothing to help.
My advice is, give it a miss.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Alan Toner on 28 Feb. 2013
Format: Paperback
As big a fan of James Herbert as I am, I have to say that I was immensely disappointed with Once. I mean, for me, this book was a BIG leap down from the high peaks of the traditional explicit blood and gore with which he first sprang to fame, and as a result, the book suffered very badly. And why oh why was this more of a fairy story than a horror one? At times I just felt like I was reading something from out of a Brothers Grim or Hans Christian Andersen story. This book could have been so much better, if only he had omitted the fairies and replaced them some real, nasty, more adult-orientated demons or monsters.

Horror Stories
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 6 Nov. 2001
Format: Hardcover
I have never been a great fan of James Herbert, only liking a few of his books, but this is a great read. It offers that quaint English charm that often appears in JH's books making you wish you could visit these places of which he writes and also helps you to relive the stories of your childhood. It is not as scary as I would have liked it to be, but I am glad I read it as it has reminded me what a joy it is for a child to believe in these things and I will make sure that my son gets his fair share of fairy stories when he is old enough to understand. I also thought that it was a nice surprise to see pictures in the book, which are greatly drawn. The immagination can only go so far and sometimes needs a push in the right direction! All in all, I would reccomend this book to anyone, be they a horror fan or otherwise. It is scary enough for all the non-horror fan's but with just enough for the horror reader.
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By FAMOUS NAME VINE VOICE on 24 Mar. 2009
Format: Hardcover
I do not as a rule read 'contemporary' fiction, and so when I purchased this, I must not have realised this, but have been swayed by its fantasy element. Though having heard of him, this was my first and possibly last purchase by James Herbert.

Whilst being of no literary masterpiece or classic prose though, this was extremely readable, since I kept going well past the point where I may have otherwise put it down for the reasons mentioned. The chapter 'twentieth' I really got lost in - in a magical way and it made a lasting impression upon me. The morning I finished reading this particular chapter, I looked out of my bedroom window (I live in the Shropshire countryside where this novel is set) and across the garden, and saw two birds hopping along the lawn; I immediately became their size and realised that the daffodils with their bobbing yellow heads they passed must have seemed like tall trees to them! It prompted me to contemplate the world from their perspective. Powerful stuff indeed!

In total contrast to this superbly written chapter, the chapter 'twenty-third' was by far the worst I was to read - it seemed to bear no relation to the actual story, and simply seemed to have been added as a mere 'thrill' for those men who are forever fantasising about two women getting it on together. ( I wonder how many 'straight' writers would have written the same piece about two guys!?) I am not a prude, and do not have a problem with this kind of writing - in the right place or novel, but I found this repulsive and not at all 'erotic' from any viewpoint, which I think was perhaps the author's intention in a perverse sort of way, and consequently it spoilt the whole book for me... It was at this point that I came closest to giving up on this read.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Eclipse on 6 Aug. 2006
Format: Paperback
What a shame as I was really looking forward to reading it, I'm interested in wicca, magick, faeries and also big James Herbert fan so this book seemed to be right up my street, unfortunately not! At first it held my attention and had some interesting characters but as the story unfolded I found myself wishing the book to end. The only thing that made me smile was the welcome return of Rumbo!! I am still a huge fan of Herbert but not of this particular book.
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Format: Paperback
James Herbert may claim to be the crown Prince of horror, but on evidence of this novel he certainly is not the King of fantasy. This is a misjudged book that tries to blend horror, fantasy and erotica. That's right erotica. The story of a stroke victim returning home to the secluded cottage in the woods only to be bombarded with witches and fairies should be solid fantasy. And it is, just not wizard and warlock fantasy. Putting to one side the dodgy sex scenes the book is not that great anyway. The plot takes a long time to get going and the pace alters inexplicably for the final 50 pages or so. The adult scenes only add to the overall negative aspects of the book.

Hidden within the book are some decent moments and Herbert remains a skilled writer. His romanticised style works well in a land of goblin and fairy folk, but less so in the world of men. Character wise he does create some intriguing people with the witch in particular being well written. However, with only 5 or 6 people in the entire book there is not enough interaction to call a story. `Once' is a strange novel that is structured poorly and has intermittent embarrassing scenes. Having read a few of Herbert's other books I do know that he is a good writer and that he does not normally delve towards the carnal. I hope that this book remains an anomaly and not a new direction.
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