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Comprised of a novel and four long stories, this volume is classic Barker, full of lurid, bloody imagery and action involving large-than-life characters. It's great fun and provides plenty of thrills or giggles, depending on how seriously you take it. In the novel, Cabal , Boone, a recovering psychotic, is cleverly manipulated by his psychiatrist, Decker, into believing that he has committed several savage murders. Decker, of course, is the villain, but Boone does not catch on. Considering himself unfit for human society, Boone flees, eventually to come upon Midian, a large crypt inhabited by the Nightbreed, dead souls in shape-changing bodies, neither good nor evil, who turn Boone into one of their own. Of the shorter works, the best written is ``The Life of Death,'' about a woman who becomes enthralled by death and is transformed into a kind of Typhoid Mary. Another, ``The Last Illusion,'' which concerns the fate of a magician's corpse, is full of intriguing moments. First serial to Penthouse; Doubleday Book Club main selection; Literary Guild featured alternate. (October)
Armistead Maupin [Barker writes] with the easy confidence of a tribal storyteller, and elder who has seen everything and committed most of it to scripture. The Boston Herald Barker's work reads like a cross between Stephen King and...Gabriel Garcï¿½a Mï¿½rquez. He creates a world where our biggest fears appear to be our own dreams. Locus The premier metaphysicist of contemporary fiction. Atlanta Journal-Constitution Clive Barker is back from yet another excursion into his dark and fertile imagination, bearing sinister fruits of fine horror fantasy. People Barker's dark, powerful imagination -- and his skill in pacing to keep his stories surprising -- make the horror grisly and effective. Publishers Weekly The most ambitious dark fantasist of our time. Washingtion Times [Clive Barker] is a mapmaker of the mind, charting the furthest reaches of the imagination....His ambition and audacity are unparalleled; we know that we are in the presence of a vision that is genuine, unique, and lasting. Elle Simultaneously repels and spellbinds the reader...Literature in the tradition of Poe, Shelley and Hawthorne. The Washington Post In the hands of a lesser writer this could be just another tale of nightmarish evil...[what] lifts Barker from common craftsman to the rarefied and chancy domain of artist is his profound awareness of the alienation and aloneness of man. And he brings these insights into dramatic focus through the innocence of his monsters... The New York Times Book Review [Cabal] demonstrate[s] why the gleefully gory Mr. Barker is at the top of his genre. Endlessly inventive, he takes familiar themes a step or two farther...dazzling, captivating stuff...