The Light is the Darkness and over 2 million other books are available for Amazon Kindle . Learn more
FREE Delivery in the UK.
Only 5 left in stock (more on the way).
Dispatched from and sold by Amazon.
Gift-wrap available.
The Light Is the Darkness has been added to your Basket
+ £2.80 UK delivery
Used: Very Good | Details
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: Ships from the USA. Please allow 2 to 3 weeks for delivery. Ex-Library Book - will contain Library Markings. This copy shows very minor wear. Never settle for less.
Trade in your item
Get a £0.49
Gift Card.
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

The Light Is the Darkness Paperback – 30 Jan 2013

See all 3 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition
"Please retry"
"Please retry"
£7.36 £7.08
£12.51 FREE Delivery in the UK. Only 5 left in stock (more on the way). Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.

Frequently Bought Together

The Light Is the Darkness + The Croning + The Imago Sequence and Other Stories
Price For All Three: £34.49

Buy the selected items together

Trade In this Item for up to £0.49
Trade in The Light Is the Darkness for an Amazon Gift Card of up to £0.49, which you can then spend on millions of items across the site. Trade-in values may vary (terms apply). Learn more

Product details

  • Paperback: 216 pages
  • Publisher: Arcane Wisdom (30 Jan. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1935006142
  • ISBN-13: 978-1935006145
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.2 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 481,645 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, and more.

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5 stars
5 star
4 star
3 star
2 star
1 star
See both customer reviews
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
An action and violence-packed occult conspiracy potboiler, The Light is the Darkness follows modern-day gladiator Conrad Navarro in his investigation into his FBI agent sister's mysterious disappearance in Mexico and his family's own twisted, tainted history, shaped as it is by sinister occult rituals and illegal genetic experimentation. By turns outrageously pulpy and disturbingly dark, Barron populates his nightmarish world with evil scientists, corrupt CIA agents and venal billionaires, spinning a globetrotting yarn that simultaneously functions as a fabulously bleak tale of cosmic horror and dread.

Well known for his previous work in the Lovecraftian space, Barron continues to push the possibilities of the genre, combining a richness of character with a deft use of language that marks him as one of the more remarkable practitioners of the modern weird tale.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Another excellent story from Laird Barron. It's not my favourite story of Laird's that I've read but this is a great first novel. I liked the use of the interludes that helped to keep this short novel tight & compact without loss of substance. I don't see any connection in this story to his 'Old Leech' mythos but it does touch on the 'Order of the Imago'. I've yet to read the acclaimed 2nd novel from him, 'The Croning' but I do know that The Croning does link in with other stories that are contained in his collection, 'Occultation'. However, The Light Is The Darkness is a great cosmic horror novel that contains themes from other genres and I highly recommend it.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 37 reviews
14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Illumination.. 24 Sept. 2012
By Addison Phillips - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is my first encounter with one Laird Barron and I'm sitting here of a Sunday afternoon, wrung out at having just read this dark little fable in all of its hyper-articulate glory. I lapped it up, I devoured it, and was left, deliriously, wanting more.

The basic premise and idea you'll have gleaned from the summary. Our protagonist, Conrad Navarro, earns his bread in some modern, secret gladiatorial combats. And he's searching for his missing sister. And that gives you about as much sense for the flavor and texture of this novel as saying that Huck Finn has some good practical guidance for Mississippi river navigation.

I keep trying to find something to really compare this too. Perhaps closest would be Roger Zelazny's works: there is an element of Nine Princes in Amber or maybe Isle of the Dead. There are glimpses of Corwin's hellride or the emergence of something more than human (and yet somehow less human) within the body of our erstwhile hero. And the slyboots humor of Conrad. Here's a bit of flavor from about midway through:

"Your father had other plans for you. Alas, his breakdown and untimely demise derailed everything he'd worked to accomplish. He would not approve of your Quixotic pursuit of Imogene. She became embroiled in his vendetta with the forces of darkness, as it were. No sense following her into oblivion."

Conrad said, "You talk a lot for a guy on oxygen."

But at the same time, despite my enjoyment of Zelazny, this book is somehow more than that. Equal parts black fantasy, 60's spy thriller, and Lovecraftian mythic darkness. No holds barred and, despite all the well-realized and wild action so-very-fully realized, there is a sense of so much more moving around just out of view. Barron's writing is cinematic, but he's got a lot for you to be thinking about. And Conrad is as much pinned down and splayed out for us like a particularly frightening butterfly as he is our confidant and guide on this trek. You feel your teeth sharpening as you read.

The ending was less than I'd hoped. But then, the book was so much more than I'd expected. And all in all it averages out to five stars. Nice.
18 of 23 people found the following review helpful
A Pageant of Horror 7 Jun. 2012
By B. Henderson - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In The Light Is the Darkness, Laird Barron weaves a Byzantine story around one simple, central conflict: A brother must find his lost sister. The tension that unravels from there as Conrad Navarro finds clues in a variety of exotic locales all while Barron sheds more light on the family's history and their sudden, dysfunctional spiral into chaos all because younger brother, Ezra, waxed terminal, and the paterfamilias had means to get Ezra to one Dr. Drake, who possessed seeming immortality, the secrets of life and death, and a potent serum.

Conrad is this bruiser of highest caliber as well as a daunting intellect who managed to get shuttled off to a Greek island in order to receive combat training and rise through the ranks of the gladiatorial underground. He fights for the rich and powerful in the Pageant. With the large sums of money he receives from his matches, Conrad can continue to payoff People Who Know People Who while he crisscrosses the world in search of Imogene. While tracking down the ever-mysterious Dr. Drake, Imogene finds herself dabbling more and more in the darker side of things that could raise mere mortals to immortal status. Such is necessary when one wants to confront a dark lord eons-old, right? Fight fire with fire, right? There's always a price to pay for such searching.

In terms of action scenes, often Conrad`s scars tell enough of the story. Oh, there are plenty of crunchy action scenes, especially the ugly father-son knock-down, drag-out, but don't forget Conrad's a man looking for his missing sister and haunted by that awful family history and deflated by revelations along the way. He is a nearly perfect Timex protagonist, but in several flashbacks, Barron manages to make Conrad believably weak, vulnerable despite his being [spoiler redacted].

There's a problem with this novel, though. I realized it halfway through reading. The Light Is the Darkness, through no fault of Barron's, begs a spoiler-free review. There were a few bits I saw coming, and in my harhar-harumharum pride now realize, dang his time, Barron laid out some tantalizing red herrings. Horror morphs into mystery when the stakes are solving familial problems foisted upon a protagonist by a nigh-immortal villain dealing with the Dark. It's all about machinations; there are even strings on the puppet masters. Then there is the matter of the final chapters where Barron delivers several twists that, for a moment disappointed me. Then I came to my senses because he ran such a subtle series interferences that as Conrad strayed off the beaten path, so did I. Had a few "I see what you did there" moments, I did.

Your draw, then, gentle potential readers of The Light Is the Darkness: What price would you pay to reunite with a lost loved one, and how far would you trip the dark fantastic in order to do so? Furthermore, how much ass would you be willing to kick to do it?

With nods to sand-and-sandal flicks re: the Pageant along with a touch of Lovecraftian some-Elder-God-will-munch-all-humanity, Barron also delivers a handy quest motif with Conrad's Herculean, though self-imposed, labors. Apotheosis is just a pulpy, science fiction-y serum away. But the novel is a thriller masquerading as science fiction masquerading as horror.

Additionally, Barron shows some surrealist flair in various chapters where Conrad's mind traipses or stumbles or is forced into an altered state of consciousness. These are crisp and hard-edged moments in the book and worth re-reading for their lyrical content alone.

Another bit Barron does well is bringing the reader to the edge of a scene only to let it go dark, to leave enough ambiguity floating amid the lines on the pages so as not to condescend to audience's imagination. Beware the shadows elongating and fluxing at the periphery. Now, there are scenes where he follows through and delivers, and our doughty author here knows when to let go and let the reader's teased mind do that heavy lifting.

For that, I thank him.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Excellent parts, the sum of which is a bit lacking 25 April 2014
By Bill W - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is the first of Laird Barron's novels that I've read. He is without a doubt a unique voice in horror; after only a couple of short stories I could already recognize his writing immediately. In his shorter works he seems to jump around in the timeline of the narrative, worrying less about giving the reader a clear picture of a sequence of events as much as painting scenes, characters, and moments in time. Sometimes that works; sometimes that doesn't. It seems to be a technique that lends itself to the necessary brevity of the short format. In longer formats, it can leave too much unsaid, and it rob the story of purpose.

In what I'm learning is typical Barron, the plot is over-the-top, Technicolor guignol that tiptoes almost to the level of absurd. Barron's signature skill lies in being able to tell the reader absolutely ridiculous stories with such conviction that you never question his sincerity. As weird fiction goes, there's a lot of Lovecraft and co. here as well, which is something I appreciated. As a writer, Barron is nothing short of impressive.

My main issue with the book is that it feels less like a short novel than a long short story. The structure feels weak, especially towards the end of the book. It suffers a bit from being neither fish nor fowl; in a shorter length he could cut to the chase and let the resolution remain in question, and in a longer novel he could have taken the time to flesh out the details of the plot, particularly in the final chapters. The finale is anticlimactic and rushed, just as the reader has been given all of the ingredients for a massive, cataclysmic denouement. There's a lot of investment in the character's development at the beginning and middle, only to sort of fizzle at the very point where the curtains are pulled away from the villains. Either the author tried to leave some ambiguity (and left far too much) or there was a time crunch and he simply wanted to be done. Either way, I was surprised to find that the book had not only ended, but ended with the type of "gotcha" ending normally found in flash or short fiction.
17 of 23 people found the following review helpful
WOW! 6 Jun. 2013
By Char's Horror Corner - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Meet Conrad Navarro, a contender in an underground type of fight club, called The Pageant. Conrad has a sister named Imogene who is missing. And so begins this crazy, beautifully written, weird story.

I've been mulling over what to say about this book. It was so good I want to do it justice, while at the same time I don't want to look like an idiot. Let me start with the quality, beauty, darkness and denseness of the prose. I submit this quote for your perusal:

"The room throbbed with bloodless light, the ashen flush of a landscape under the caul of an eclipse. The amniotic light sluiced against cheap blinds, dripped and seeped through chinks and seams, patterned great, ominous shadows against the clapboard walls."

A dense description that must be read slowly and savored.
How about this one:"The city lifted itself from the flat-backed plains as a colony of blue-bottle glass and aerodynamic steel." Can you picture it? I can.

Let's move on to the story. The pacing was excellent. We follow our protagonist Conrad on the search for his sister, Imogene. A search that leads him to both dark people and places. We find out things about Conrad that even he didn't know. We are not "told" these things, we are taken along on the voyage of Conrad's discovery. It's written so that it's like a continuous progression, hurtling on to the very end.

The last half and the final chapters are where this book really spreads its wings. I could name some famous authors whose work is like this (Lovecraft for sure), but in the end, this work is Mr. Barron's and Mr. Barron's alone. There are several things mentioned that I just NEED to know more about. The Imago sequence is one of them. This quote also piqued my interest:

"Whatever plucked the strings existed partially upon another plane and across an improbable gulf; an entity that radiated malignant hunger and rage of scarcely conceivable scale."

Now tell me, who could read that quote without hungering for more? Certainly not me. I will be tracking down and reading more of Mr. Barron's work shortly. What about you?
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
A Mixed Bag 27 July 2014
By Kaisersoze - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition
A dark, dense, difficult read that spoon feeds nothing and requires maintained attention. This was partially because there was a great deal going on in a relatively small number of pages: including, but not limited to, crazy doctors, underground fight clubs, psychedelic trips on unknown substances, missing sisters, murdered brothers, crazy fathers and mysterious benefactors. There were times when the book felt as if it sagged under the weight of all of this and more. Yet within the required heavy lifting, there were glimpses of fascinating cosmic horror concepts which I would love to see fleshed out further.

3 Old Gods Made Flesh for The Light is the Darkness
Were these reviews helpful? Let us know

Look for similar items by category