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The Damnation Game [Paperback]

Clive Barker
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
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Book Description

1 Mar 1986

Chance had ruled Marty Strauss' life for as long as he could remember. Now at last luck was turning his way. Parolled from prison, he becomes bodyguard to Joseph Whitehead, one of the richest men in Europe. But Whitehead has also played with chance - an ancient game which gave him vast power and wealth, in exchange for his immortal soul.

Now the forces he played against are back to claim what's theirs. Terryifying forces, with the power to raise the dead; and Marty is trapped between his human masters and Hell itself, with just one last, desperate game left to play...

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Product details

  • Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Sphere; New Ed edition (1 Mar 1986)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0751505951
  • ISBN-13: 978-0751505955
  • Product Dimensions: 10.9 x 17.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 173,288 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Clive Barker was born in Liverpool in 1952. His earlier books include The Books of Blood, Cabal, and The Hellbound Heart. In addition to his work as a novelist and playwright, he also illustrates, writes, directs and produces for stage and screen. His films include Hellraiser, Hellbound, Nightbreed and Candyman. Clive lives in Beverly Hills, California

Product Description


Touches of sheer brillance throughout (James Herbert)

Book Description

* Clive Barker's first novel.

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First Sentence
The air was electric the day the thief crossed the city, certain that tonight, after so many weeks of frustration, he would finally locate the card-player. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gore galore for first novel proper 13 Dec 1998
By A Customer
After the success of the Books of Blood,a collection of short stories,The Damnation Game was Clive Barker's first full novel. The story centres on a convict who is given the chance to an early release providing he works for a multi millionaire business tycoon as his personal bodyguard.Though the job seems straight-forward enough,things get more and more terrifying as time goes on,leading the main characters through a paranoid game of cat and mouse and entrails! Readers of Barker's later work will find this book a shock to the system-there's little sublety and though Barker deals with love,sex,death and fantasy in this book,it is with a full in-your-face style. A great read for any-one who enjoys clever,well written horror,but be warned,this book contains some of the most gruesome imagery and characters ever put down on paper.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Place your bets… 30 Jan 2006
By Jane Aland VINE VOICE
Clive Barker’s debut full length novel tells the story of a prison inmate paroled to act as a bodyguard to a millionaire who entered into a Faustian pact in his youth, and now finds himself under attack from demonic forces. Following on from his brilliant Books of Blood short stories Barker doesn’t quite master the transition to novelist with this first attempt, as while the novel boasts a fantastic climax it also contains a great deal of meandering build-up during the earlier stages. The theme of the addiction of gambling is interesting, though the relationship between millionaire Joseph Whitehead and his nemesis Mamoulian is too often vague and unclear, with both characters motivations seemingly wavering throughout the book. At it’s best The Damnation Game provides some exotic horrors and fantastic weirdness, with oddly it’s most successful character being a Frankenstein’s monster-like creature who, despite being a child killing zombie, manages to elicit the readers sympathy just by his dogged refusal to die. Perhaps inevitably as a first novel The Damnation Game is a little uneven, but this is still a very impressive debut.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Take Your Chances... 7 Dec 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Marty Strauss is serving time for robbery. Driven to desperation by his gambling debts, he has been whiling away his time in prison, awaiting his chance to join the free world. This chance comes to Marty sooner than he expects when one of the world's richest men, Joseph Whitehead, offers him the opportunity to become a free man, providing he becomes his personal bodyguard. Deciding that whatever is in the outside world can't be as bad as prison, he accepts the job and finds himself in Whitehead's secluded estate; surrounded by fencing and brimming with guard dogs. It soon feels like he's swapped one prison for another. So, unable to leave the estate, he fills his days by running the course of the estate. This soon leads to him discovering Whitehead's reclusive daughter, Carys, who seems intrigued by her father's new employee.
However, what starts as a mundane, job quickly takes a turn for the bizarre. Whitehead is living in deadly fear of someone; his name is 'Mamoulian', a man who claims to be the last original European, who has terrifying powers; he is able to raise the dead from their graves to carry out his will. Mamoulian is coming to collect a debt from Whitehead, one he will not let him forget...
Personally, I found the basic premise of 'The Damnation Game' to be an intriguing one and having read many of Barker's other works, I found myself eager to read this, his first novel.
It is, at it's core, a Faustian tale, with comments on the decadence of the rich and the avarice of man. It talks often about luck and what creates it, chance is a recurring theme throughout.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Product 2 Jun 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
On of the best authors ever so really enjoyed this book and will definitely be reading more in the future
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4.0 out of 5 stars A decent, dark story 21 Jun 2012
By Ash
I've always been a fan of Barker and this was his first full length novel. The story isn't overly convoluted or as fantastical as some of his works, but as always his characterisation is interesting and the tale is pretty grim. I'd recommend this to anyone into the horror/supernatural genre.
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