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4.3 out of 5 stars
Cabal
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
First published back in 1988, ‘Cabal’ followed the release of the hugely popular novel ‘Weaveworld’. The story turns all our ideas about horror fiction on its head, with Barker’s classic tale of misguided humanity. The tale subtly tackles the conception, misguided judgment and ridicule of views on homosexual community, with the homosexuals represented as the Nightbreed. Hounded, hunted and attacked, merely due to their way of life, the novel takes you into a world of questions and suggested conclusions. The novel is extremely well-written, bringing together horror and fantasy in this dark tale of passion, love and persecution. Barker’s limitless imagination has constructed a truly bizarre and involved tale, that captivates the reader early on, with the quiet whisperings of this forgotten world. This is a story that will immerse you in the horror and unbelievable, forging a novel that you will remember for a long time to come.
The story runs for 268 pages with some versions (the UK Fontana being one of them) including some pen and ink drawings by Barker himself illustrating the novel throughout. The story was later adapted in 1990 with Clive Barker acting as both the Director and the Screenwriter. The director David Cronenberg starred in the film as the deranged Dr. Philip Decker. The cult success (but alas not financial success) of the film, spawned a ‘Making Of Nightbreed’ book, ‘The Nightbreed Chronicles’ film companion book, a series of twenty-five comics (as well as a Genesis collection of four of the comics), a Nightbreed computer game released by Ocean, as well as various promotional items.
Cabal is a fabulous novel that should be read by anyone who is at all interested in Clive Barker’s work. A true masterpiece of fantastic horror that will grip and excite you.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on 3 February 2001
This is the first C.Barker book I've read and it still hold a dear place in my heart. The author creates a dark world, where good and evil is slightly different. The creatures of the night live beside us: the werewolf, the vampire, and the bogeyman. And they are an entirely different community, with their own laws, customs and lore. And they also have their enemies, who, although human in form, hide a monstrous soul.
In the dark underworld of the 'Nightbreed', we follow the heroin in her search of her dead lover, who proves to be not as dead after all. Together they defend the hidden clan from their pursuers, fulfilling an old Messianic prophecy.
I just wish Clive Barker would write a sequel to this excellent tale.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 15 July 2006
Following the success of `Weaveworld' Clive Barker turned increasingly towards the fantasy genre, and `Cabal' represents one of his last forays into more explicit horror territory, with this tale of a hero caught between a group of bizarre undead cemetery dwelling monsters and a deranged masked serial killer. Barker provides plenty of gruesome imagery and plays well with the theme of people hiding behind masks and the real nature of monstrosity. The book can occasionally feel a little thinly sketched out however, and while some of Barker's more bloated doorstopper's can feel overwritten `Cabal' has the opposite problem clocking in at a brisk 250 pages that ensures a rapid pace but slightly sketchy characters. Some readers may also be slightly offput by the rather open ending, as this novel was originally intended to be the first in a trilogy that so far failed to arrive (Barker seems to have a real problem with starting series and not getting round to finishing them; at the time of writing he has four series theoretically `on the go' (`Cabal', `The Books of the Art', `Galilee', `Abarat') none of which have thus far been completed), but this still works well enough as a stand alone novel. Not entirely flawless, this is still a good throwback to Barkers earlier `Books of Blood' style horror, and a fun brisk read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 6 August 2013
A short novel singing a hymn to perversity. Cabal takes a close look a monsters, and discovers that there is a lot more to them than appearances lead you to believe. At the same time, there's no escaping the fact that they remain... well, monsters. It's a beautifully written story, but one that is too often accorded partialities that I'm not sure are inherent in the text. Minority groups are often quick to relate the metaphor of Midian to themselves, but that can only be done on the most selective reading. While on the one hand yes, the monsters are subject to clear persecution, on the other they commit unspeakable acts that have only got away with for so long because they've been sneaky. For these same reasons, I'm inclined to read the monsters of Midian as an exaggerated representation of humanity at large rather than any portion of it. Petty, divided, frightened, terrifying... all these things and more.

Of course, the fact that this discussion can be had at all suggests that this a great book. It is. Beautiful, hypnotic, suggestive, and graceful in all its horrors - this is among Barker's very best.
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Cabal is the second Clive Barker book I've read, the first being Hellbound Heart, and I'm still debating whether I like him as a writer.

Firstly something that really stood about the book Cabal is his magnificent prose, he has a strong grasp of language and his prose is flowing and often times beautiful. His depiction of Midian stayed in my mind long after the book was finished. Secondly this has been mentioned time and time again, his imagination is unlike anything I've read before, and it's quirky and off beat but the strong descriptions and down to earth characters make the book relatable.

There was a lot to like about the book, the imagination, the prose and aspects of characters. However after I finished the book I started thinking about it, and it does have some glaring floors, a lot of the characters while down to Earth, but are a bit one dimensional, at least I found that. Boone's motives are hard to figure out, does he want revenge? Does he want to fit in? What happened in his past that made him such an outcast? I don't want things to be spelt out for me, but I don't think that Clive Barker even knew, he just seemed to be changing his motivations to fit with the plot. The book doesn't have much depth either, its a short book but it doesn't exactly delve into human consciousness, it had a lot of good ideas but I would have liked Clive Barker to spend more time developing them, rather then focusing on the more pulpy aspects of his work. Two pages talking about blood and only a paragraph devoted describing the vast underworld of Midian, choices like this seemed a bit odd to me.

I'd recommend this book if just for the oddness of the story, but I'm not sure it'd be fore everyone.
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on 11 July 2006
Mr Barker is proven as a master of his genre, and this tale is no exception. It is original, with some great twists and turns and plenty of gruesome bits. The novel starts fast, with the revelation that the mentally/pschologically unstable lead character (Boone) is a brutal, none too fussy, serial killer. From there, we follow Boone on a journey across Canada as he seeks some sort of refuge and peace of mind from his crimes. Naturally, nothing goes very smoothly, and there are some real 'cannot put the book down' moments.

Reading between the lines, Mr Barker has written an observational social study on intolerance of that which is unknown and the unquestioning acceptance of that which appears normal. The fragile foundation of both of these suppositions is exposed and destroyed, and the 'Nightbreed' could be substituted for any racial/religious/sexual minority. I guess the underlying statement of Cabal could be 'Don't judge a book by its cover'.

My only quibble with the book is that it is too short. Where is the rest of it? The sequel(s)? Lots of plot strands and characters, dripping with potential, have been left on the shelf this last 15 years; what a shame. GIVE ME A SEQUEL!!! (or prequel?)
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 28 August 2001
Cabal takes you into a different world, where the monster is not all it seems. Answer the question why do human kind fear all they do not understand? could it be that inside of us all a little bit of monster really does exist and we would urge the day that it would rise to the surface and be free. Clive Barker opens a door to this world with Cabal, do you dare to read further?
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on 24 February 2001
This is the first C.Barker book I've read and it still hold a dear place in my heart. The author creates a dark world, where good and evil is slightly different. The creatures of the night live beside us: the werewolf, the vampire, and the bogeyman. And they are an entirely different community, with their own laws, customs and lore. And they also have their enemies, who, although human in form, hide a monstrous soul.
In the dark underworld of the 'Nightbreed', we follow the heroin in her search of her dead lover, who proves to be not as dead after all. Together they defend the hidden clan from their pursuers, fulfilling an old Messianic prophecy.
I just wish Clive Barker would write a sequel to this excellent tale.
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on 21 February 2008
This reasonably satisfying read tells the story of Boone, a man who is framed by his sadistic psychiatrist for a whole host of grisly murders her didn't commit.

The gore is plentiful in places, which will please many a fan of horror novels. Despite this, the book lacks the same utterly sadistic, grim, nihilistic edge of 'Hellraiser', the film which was directed by Clive Barker. The story of the Nightbreed, who occupy a world built underneath a graveyard, is more in the realms of horror fantasy, though well-written just the same.

Overall, however, this lacks the same kind of 'edge-of-the-seat' visceral terror of other Clive Barker works, despite it's well-crafted style.
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on 19 September 2013
Now I know I have given this a set of 5 Stars, even though I have not really had time to read it yet - but I have been trying to borrow this book from the Library for a number of years now and it is always out!!! So having seen it on Amazon - I decided to buy it - the book arrived well before the due date and very well packaged via Amazon.
The Book was a Used purchase - and in excellent condition, packaging was excellent too, so that is mainly why I have given it 5 Stars.
But As the writer is so good anyway - I have no Qualms that this book will not meet a 5 Star Standard as well :o)
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