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4.3 out of 5 stars
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4.3 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 6 October 2005
Following the restrained - almost genteel - horror of The Magic Cottage, Herbert returns to a more action-packed visceral style with Sepulchre. Essentially a mix between horror and thriller genre's, with the lead character being an ex-army private security operative charged with protecting a psychic businessman who believes his life to be in danger. The story takes a fair while to actually get moving, but once the action shifts to the psychic's mansion the supernatural element kicks in, with weird creatures in the lake, bands of roaming jackals, a cadaverous gatekeeper, and sacrifices to an ancient Sumerian serpent god. The novel is a little rough around the edges, with some overly broad Irish dialogue, (inevitably the lead character runs into the IRA), and despite some grisly flashback scenes the characterisation isn't particularly strong, but all in all this delivers enough action, twists and scares to make this an enjoyable romp.
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Herbert has managed to produce another outstanding novel here, with a dark tale of corruption and despair. Admittedly, the characterisation isn't the greatest aspect of the novel, as you never really get to feel anything for any of the principal characters, but this does not subtract from the novel as much as one would think. The book races by with a jam packed plot that will truly leave you not wanting to put the book down.
There was an extra chapter that was removed from the novel by Herbert himself, which you can read within Herbert's biography - Devil In The Dark. This is an intersting addition to the novel which expands on the relationship between Liam and Cora (two major characters), but was removed because Herbert thought it slowed the pace of novel down too much.
I'd definitely recommend this book to any fan of the horror genre. I'd say it is definetly one of Herbert's better novels. Still it's not a patch on The Rats, The Fog, The Survivor or '48. Well worth a read though! Enjoy!
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 27 August 2012
Normally I am gripped by a James Herbert novel after the first page or so, but for some reason this book took me a couple of chapters to get into it, but I am so glad I persevered with it.

It is a very dark read revolving around Halloran, whose specialist security company has been hired to provide protection for Felix Kline, an individual who believes he is in danger of being kidnapped or murdered. For the main part, the story is set at Neath, Kline's extremely gothic sounding country residence with characters including Cora his beautiful devoted assistant and a bunch of extremely sadistic and violent bodyguards collected from all corners of the world. The house itself is creepy - something lurks in the lake, there is an unseen Gate Keeper and you certainly would not want to take the chance of running into the guard dogs! Definitely a house you would not want to spend a night in.

Not just horror, it also has all the elements of a good hard edged thriller with a cast of characters who really are amongst the most loathsome and sick you could find in any book. There hardly seems to be anyone in the book who isn't twisted with strange desires and who isn't prepared to do what it takes to indulge them. Halloran himself has his own demons to face in the book, demons which went a long way to shaping the man from the boy.

As you can expect from James Herbert, the story is extremely well written and builds slowly but surely to an absolutely terrifying climax. As stated earlier it is a very dark read, with practically every scene containing some element of horror or weirdness with no light relief whatsoever. There is a lot of violence and it is extremely gory - in fact James Herbert seems to go out of his way with every book to find new ways to shock and disgust you.
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on 24 February 2001
Undoubtedly in my own opinion Herberts greatest ever book. The characters are as appealing and utterly hateable as they possibly could be. I'm a big fan of Koontz and King, but when Herbert is in this kind of form he is simply unbeatable. If you want to read your first Herbert novel this one is your only choice. Fast paced whilst also intricate, Herbert avoids the descriptive overkill that King and Koontz unfortunatly succumb to. He truly can make characters absolutely terrifying and utterly deplorable, and keeps the average read time of his book to 2 days. This being mainly due to the fact that you can read his books for long long periods, without tiring or becoming disinterested. If you like your horror sick and scary but with a vengeful ending this book is a must.
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on 7 September 2014
James Herbert was not the best writer in the horror genre, but he usually produced a pretty good story that manages to grip the reader. This is particularly true of his earlier books.

I first read this decades ago and it's stood the test of time quite well. The plot is imaginative and the characters well drawn. Personally I would have preferred more of the ancient and less of the modern in this novel, but it did keep me turning the pages, and that's enough.
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on 25 January 2013
I've read many of James Herbert's books over the years and this novel pulls you in so easily that you can sometimes forget how talented a writer he is. A bodyguard called Halloran is given a job to protect the mysterious Felix Kline. Soon strange things start happening and they retreat to Kline's remote country mansion Neath where unnatural things creep into the locked down estate.

The sense of unease just grows as Herbert writes in flowing passages of pure beauty and terror. This is a first class writer using all his skills to create a work of art. Every time I read another James Herbert book I'm reminded of his incredible talent. The suspense is slowly wrung out of every situation, while the mood is darkened with each chapter. Step by step fear closes in like a cold fist around your trembling heart. Small pieces of the jigsaw are slowly glimpsed, before the horrible truth is finally revealed. It takes great skill as a writer to gradually build up the tension then release the black heart of the story. This is truly a journey into the heart of darkness. Don't miss out on one of Herbert's greatest books.
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on 20 August 2013
James Herbert has a gift of pulling you in to the stories he creates so you can't put them down -at least I can't.
Liam Halloran is a tough man. Soldier, bodyguard, mercenary, he's been all of them. When he is told to prevent an assassination threat to the enigmatic Felix Kline, a psychic working for mining company Magma, he doesn't know what to expect.
If you're a fan of Herbert's work you'll enjoy this. If you haven't read any of his books yet then this is a good one to start off with
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on 13 December 2013
Was it a detective story with a part supernatural ? Or was it a supernatural story with a part detective ?
Well what a fantastic story and some brilliant characters, I really did enjoy this book and could not put it down I think James Herbert done himself proud with this one, I have only read a few of his books and now I am going to download a lot more.
I would recommend this book without a doubt............ .
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on 6 March 2009
I never thought I would like any James Herbert books, as I had heard some horror stories - quite literally! However, I rented this audio cd out of the library and was completely bowled over by the descriptions of everyone and everything, maybe especially because of the reader himself bringing it to life. Even with the more grusome parts in the narrative you are still spellbound by the voice and story and are completely unaware of time, and a whole day could pass just listening and feeling that you are totally inside the story. You feel for the characters and care what happens to everyone, especially the evil ones, as you REALLY get to know what makes them tick and their ends are colourful to the least. I haven't even read the book as this was just too good to listen too, and I highly recommend it too anyone even if your not a serious horror fan like myself.
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on 8 December 2012
Well struggled along with this book, but to be fair I haven't given it my full attention will probably read this again at another time,the characters were very believable and the story different to anything I have read by Herbert before. Which makes it an enjoyable read and for the price I paid for it well worth it so I would say buy this book then compare it to his previous works and I think you will be pleasantly surprised.
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