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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Place your bets…
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...
Published on 30 Jan 2006 by Jane Aland

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Take Your Chances...
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...
Published on 7 Dec 2009 by Mr. D. Kerr


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Place your bets…, 30 Jan 2006
By 
Jane Aland (England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The Damnation Game (Paperback)
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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Take Your Chances..., 7 Dec 2009
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This review is from: The Damnation Game (Paperback)
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.
The characters are, for the most part, very well rounded, Marty is a bit of a 'screw-up' but you can't help liking him all the same, and Carys, Whitehead's drug-addicted daughter, should be someone you dislike given her apathy towards others, but somehow, Barker makes you care for her and want her to survive the impending ordeal. The lead villain, Mamoulian, and his associate, Breer, are suitably disgusting and repellent individuals who you certainly wish a tragic end upon. And you even find yourself emotionally invested in the family of dogs that are kept to guard the estate and its grounds.
It does have some weak points to its structure, the pacing seems occasionally off and the first half of the novel seems somewhat protracted and yet the conclusion seeming unfairly short.
Yet, it also features Clive Barker's trademark strengths; incredibly vivid imagery, a great ability to evoke the macabre, natural dialogue and a wonderful capacity for painting metaphysical journeys in a rich and enticing language.
By all means, it's not a perfect work, but it is an admirable achievement for a first novel, and one I would recommend to any dedicated Barker fan.
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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
This review is from: The Damnation Game (Paperback)
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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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Product, 2 Jun 2014
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This review is from: The Damnation Game (Paperback)
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
This review is from: The Damnation Game (Paperback)
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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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An engaging, is slightly slow-moving read, 18 Mar 2000
By 
Tintagel (St Albans, Herts) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Damnation Game (Paperback)
The book was gripping in its own way, but I occasionally found myself wanting a little more momentum.
Having said that, there is certainly some very vivid imagery, and the plot struck me as being fairly original.
I think that this doesn't compare to the quality of, say, Imajica, though it is still an excellent read in its own right!
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good read., 13 Oct 1999
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This review is from: The Damnation Game (Paperback)
I found this book at times excellent but overall somewhat dissapointing. Barker has the ability to create such original horror scenarios that are truly gut wrenching but I feel that in this - his first novel - there were just too few. After a brilliant start it got slightly bogged down with an good ending but not really fulfilling it's initial potential as a great horror story. I have read Barker's Books of Blood and found them to be tremendous but I am unsure now as to wether to give his novels a berth or hope that he improves with his later ones (which I have heard some great reviews about - especially Imajica).
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Good start, then tedious!, 19 Jan 2009
By 
L. Wilkes - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Damnation Game (Paperback)
The first half of this novel was actually quite gripping, however, this soon turned into a confused storyline with vague relationships which didn't really hit the spot. It started to go bad for me when Marty and his love interest referred to eachother as "babe". I persevered, but have to say that I sped read the final 10 pages as I was tired of so many characters dying only to them be resurrected again and again.
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars the first chapter is great rest of its drab, 28 Aug 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: The Damnation Game (Paperback)
The first part if the book which fills approximately 21 pages of pure stomach churning fiction and suspense made me read the book beggining end on end, but the book veers off line after it. The scenario is hands down mouth watering for the real black marketeers out there on the books first section. As I say the begining is the gospel to pure genuis, but it does not last long enough.
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0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic, 25 Sep 2004
This review is from: The Damnation Game (Paperback)
Fifth Barker novel I read, so you can tell I am a fan of his work! BUT - The Damnation Game...well, its a tricky one. Like all of Barker's writing, it has you thinking about how he conjures up such images, ou really wonder how his mind works. One problem though: I found this book pretty hard to get into at first, obviously you get used to it but either way, it was difficult. Also, the story line is quite unusal. Unusual in the way that it isn't so much horror but more of a soap.
In conclusion, it could have been better but still, gve it a try!!!
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The Damnation Game
The Damnation Game by Clive Barker (Paperback - 1 Mar 1986)
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