* Clive Barker's first novel.
Born in Liverpool in 1952, Clive Barker writes, directs and produces for the screen. His films include Hellraiser and Nightbreed.
Barker has generated acclaim and controversy with his dozens of shorter works published in the six ``Books of Blood.'' His rather long first novel is often engrossing, often disturbing and depressing. Horror mavens who enjoy violence and harrowing imagery will find plenty of both here. But there is more to The Damnation Game than gore. This story of a supernaturally powerful man who can resurrect the dead probes the many varieties of corruption: of the flesh, of ideals, of civilization. The world Barker depicts is controlled by immensely powerful men motivated solely by self-interest. His charactersJoseph Whitehead, captain of industry; his defeated, addicted daugther, Carys; his increasingly frightened bodyguard Marty Strauss; the demonic, perhaps immortal Mamoulian; and Mamoulian's puppet, the disgusting ``Razor-Eater'' Breerare original and memorable. The story, loosely based on Shakespeare's Tempest, is goodnot exactly a pleasurable read in the usual sense of the word, but always interesting. (June 5)
'Touches of sheer brillance throughout' - James Herbert
``I have seen the future of the horror genre, and his name is Clive Barker,'' Stephen King has written. Fortunately, this first novel (Barker has published short story collections) more than bears the weight of King's praise. Barker is a better writer than King, and his characters are just as interesting. Set in modern Britain, the story thrusts a flawed ``innocent''parolee Marty Straussinto an epic conflict between wealthy Joseph Whitehead and Mamoulian the Cardplayer, a centuries-old creature with whom Whitehead had struck a bargain to obtain his wealth and power. Whitehead reneges, and the resulting struggle is played out primarily on his fortress-like estate. Barker's excellent writing makes the graphic, grotesque imagery endemic to current horror fiction very effective. Highly recommended anywhere horror fiction is popular. A.J. Wright, Anesthesiology Dept., Univ. of Alabama at Birmingham