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Once Mass Market Paperback – Jan 2003


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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; First THUS edition (Jan 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765343509
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765343505
  • Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 2.9 x 17.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (175 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,848,619 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

11 of 12 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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2 of 2 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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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Paul J. Stephen on 10 Oct 2001
Format: Hardcover
James Herbert is a great story-teller. An author who I always look forward to reading.
A friend of mine says his story are often very 'twee' and British, and it has to be said this follows the previous novels like The Magic Cottage, Haunted, etc etc very well. The old fashioned ghost stories are certainly a genre of the past when looking over the new horror releases and it is refreshing the James comes along every year or so to gives us another fix.
Not his best really but a solid interesting and spooky tale with the undertones of an adult fairy story. Sexual in nature, with portions taken from his other works... but he writes such a fine yarn that you are taken along at pace. The haunted woods , mansion , cottage are all here, and sewn together with a needle full of witchcraft.
If you've read his other stuff you know what your getting... if not try The Fog or the Rats trilogy first.
Recommended!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By mallorca on 18 Jan 2013
Format: Paperback
having been given the secret of crickley hall at xmas, iborrowed this, but it's like chalk and cheese. this is not so much stuff and nonsense as smut and nonsense.i am not prudish, but i just found it rather an odd combination. also, the constant lyrical descriptions of scents, colours and tame creatures in the wood became tiresome after a while.the actual plot buried in amongst this is not too bad, however, but i feel it could have been better handled. i have ash on order, so hope i shll not regret it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By M. Cooper on 17 Mar 2011
Format: Paperback
Ooer missus! I wasn't expecting that! Describing the sex scenes in this book as graphic would be the understatement of the century. Not one for your granny (it all depends, of course, on the granny in question), but then "there's nowt as queer as folk"; or, in this case "faeriefolk". Maybe this should have been published by Star Paperbacks (the well known "adult" line).
Not a bad read at all; though I raised an eyebrow at at the writer's description of Nightingale song in the book's Shropshire setting (the species hasn't bred in the county for over 30 years), and the observation of Red Deer stags in full antler, at the same time of year (Nightingales have stopped singing, and packed their bags for Africa months before the stags acquire antlers).
"You sad, old pedant!" I hear you say; but, regardless of the subject matter, one would hope that authors undertake at least a modicum of research in the hope of creating a convincing scenario. The unseasonal antler issue could, I suppose, be a result of all the all the hormones knocking around this country estate. After all, everyone else seems to have "the horn", why shouldn't the stags? Furthermore, while we're still on the biological side of things: Why is it always the poor old corvids (crow family) that get cast as the agents of evil in this sort of stuff? I long for the day when I can read about "Demon Chaffinches".

Rant over. Buy it, read it, and enjoy it.
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11 of 13 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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20 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Elizadoolittle on 22 Nov 2001
Format: Hardcover
I have been a die hard fan of James herbert since I was 11 years old, The first book I read was "The Fog", since then every book he has written has been bought, borrowed and even stolen! His whole collection of thrilling horror adorn my bookcase,all in original condition,lovingly taken care of,re-read at least half and dozen times each. In short, I think he is the greatest horror writer ever and I respect him enormously for keeping me awake and on the brink of nightmares after reading his books.
So imagine my excitement when ONCE came out, immediantly I seized it, (paid for this time!- a present) in Hardback, not wasting time, I read the whole thing in an afternoon.
I was very disappointed. What can I say...it had a familiar ring to it, Herbert wrote, the fantastic "The Magic Cottage", ONCE was a watered down version.
Both have a Magical Cottage with strange things happening, while the occupier tried to figure out what was going on and what was going "bump in the night", both showed the "good" and the "bad" slowly emerging out of the woodwork. Both have a Forest. Both feature the Baddie being defeated. This did not feel like Herbert usual sharp rivetting style at all.
Instead it felt like a Writer who has writers block, and is desperately grabbing at old stuff and trying to churn it into new and Modern.
Inshort: RE-cycled. To read one review who compared him to JK Rowling is an insult to an Old Fan of Herberts.
The book is Pretty, illustrations will never be replace our imagination, and all I felt that effect acheived was just to reassure me that it wasn't as horrible as my imagination pictured!
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