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The Damnation Game | [Clive Barker]

The Damnation Game

Marty Strauss, a gambling addict recently released from prison, is hired to be the personal bodyguard of Joseph Whitehead, one of the wealthiest men in the world. The job proves more complicated and dangerous than he thought, however, as Marty soon gets caught up in a series of supernatural events involving Whitehead, his daughter (who is a heroin addict), and a devilish man named Mamoulian, with whom Whitehead made a Faustian bargain many years earlier, during World War II.
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Publisher's Summary

Marty Strauss, a gambling addict recently released from prison, is hired to be the personal bodyguard of Joseph Whitehead, one of the wealthiest men in the world. The job proves more complicated and dangerous than he thought, however, as Marty soon gets caught up in a series of supernatural events involving Whitehead, his daughter (who is a heroin addict), and a devilish man named Mamoulian, with whom Whitehead made a Faustian bargain many years earlier, during World War II.

As time passes, Mamoulian haunts Whitehead using his supernatural powers (such as the ability to raise the dead), urging him to complete his pact with him. Eventually Whitehead decides to escape his fate after a few encounters with Mamoulian and having his wife, former bodyguard, and now his daughter Carys taken away from him. With hope still left to save Carys, Marty Strauss, although reluctant to get involved in the old man Whiteheads deserved punishment, decides to get involved and attempt to save the innocent gifted addict from being another victim to the damnation game.

New cover art by: Christian Francis/Awesome Monkey UK

©1985 Clive Barker, Ink (P)2014 David N. Wilson

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.7 (182 )
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4.1 (165 )
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  •  
    gzl5ry Oakland, MI, United States 02-27-14
    gzl5ry Oakland, MI, United States 02-27-14 Member Since 2014

    Always open to something new, but my favorite genres are horror, sci-fi/fantasy with more of a leaning toward fantasy.

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    "Awesome release, I am a happy man!"
    Where does The Damnation Game rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Hard to say, I began my love of reading as a young teen with Stephen King and Piers Anthony, some Dean Koontz, etc. But when I first read Barker, I thought to myself, "You can do that?!?!" I can't express in words alone how please I am that Crossroads Press is releasing new audio versions of Mr. Barker's works, first the Books of Blood (excellent and highly recommended) and now The Damnation Game. Thank you Crossroads Press and Audible!!!


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Hard to say again, none of the characters are really that likable. Yet, each brings their own personality and flavor to the novel. The novel is very much a story of regret over life decisions. I think we all have some of those, so each character can be identified with to some extent. The only purely evil character in the book must be Anthony Breer, the last of the Razor Eaters, truly as disgusting and vile a character as I have ever read in a novel.


    Which character – as performed by Simon Vance – was your favorite?

    I actually liked his Whitehead as well as his Mamoulian. He expressed early Whitehead's cleverness well as well as his later cowardice and regret and yet he never took me over into complete sympathy (of which Whitehead really never is a truly sympathetic character), so I think Mr. Vance nailed him. I liked the odd, slow drawl he gave Mamoulian, it made him seem ancient and "Old European".


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    No, but there are some parts that are just downright creepy. Going through the whole story knowing that Breer is "not what he seems" (don't want to spoil anything here) while Breer doesn't even realize what is happening was genius. And just when we think we know how messed up Breer is, BAM! we get to see Mamoulian's basement and what lurks there... Barker hit it out of the park there. The descriptions of the nihilistic emptiness of "the void" is actually pretty disturbing in some respects, it makes one wonder about death and emptiness. The book definitely has it's moments.


    Any additional comments?

    This was Mr. Barker's first foray into a full novel and it differs somewhat from his Books of Blood short stories. The I gave everything only four stars because to get a five stars from me must mean it was some of the best I have ever read. I think this novel really merits maybe four and a half stars but not quite five because of one simple reason, it is quite long and I don't know that it really needed to be that long. Again, I think this was because it was his first novel, really nothing else. As well, I enjoy Mr. Vance, but some of the voices I recognized to be very similar to his reading of Tigana y Guy Gavriel Kay. That was just slightly off-putting to me, but I do believe Mr. Vance was the right narrator for this novel. His English accent matches very well to Mr. Barker's works. Other than that, I highly recommend The Damnation Game for any connoisseurs of the horror genre. You really can't go wrong with Clive Barker. Now, I await Weaveworld!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christina 10-19-14
    Christina 10-19-14 Member Since 2012
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    "A favorite"

    Clive Barker is one of my all-time favorite authors. He goes places no horror writer has ever gone and it's shocking, harrowing, and sometimes really beautiful. If you're a fan, you'll love it. If not, you're sure to become one.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Wag The Fox 04-05-14
    Wag The Fox 04-05-14

    Genre mutt.

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    "Damned If You Do"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Damnation Game to be better than the print version?

    Ooh, that's a tough one. It would really boil down to a personal preference for the listener/reader. The book, of course, resonates right off the page even to this day. I have a ratty, old paperback sitting on my shelf that I read passages from as I listened to this Audible edition, and I got sucked into it well through that experience. That said, the production value of this audiobook is remarkable, and does a great service to one of the best debut novels in the history of the horror genre.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Marty Strauss is a captivating character in his own right, but Mr. Whitehead, his employer, manages to steal the show through much of the novel. Seeming fitting when you consider Whitehead is known as the Thief. The pathetic gambler is damned as the book begins and his attempts to evade his fate only serve to amplify his already retched existence.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    While I wouldn't exactly call it my favorite, it certainly burned itself into my brain, and that is the truly horrific and fateful encounter between Whitehead and Mamoulian's hulk of a minion, the Razor Eater himself, Anthony Breer. What little humanity remained of Breer, and it's doubtful there was any, is gone, washed away in a bloody scene that leaves both men irrevocably damaged. If the seemingly eternal torture doesn't haunt you after reading it, you may want to question your own humanity.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    A Hell of a Gamble.


    Any additional comments?

    If accustomed to Barker's later works, The Damnation Game may feel somewhat jarring in the graphic nature of its subject matter. If you have a weak stomach or thin skin, you may be more wounded than wowed by this novel.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Douglas Grand Junction, CO, United States 03-05-14
    Douglas Grand Junction, CO, United States 03-05-14 Member Since 2012
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    "Yes...an oldie, but a goodie!"

    Read this book awhile ago and thought why not...Ill take a listen to it, too. I was not disappointed...a good author shines through. Narration is good, not great but doesnt get in the way.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Spring, TX, United States 02-12-14
    Michael Spring, TX, United States 02-12-14 Member Since 2006
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    "Finally....thank you Audible!"
    What made the experience of listening to The Damnation Game the most enjoyable?

    Hearing the unabridged version after reading the novel years ago.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The Faustian bargain of Whitehead, the rogues gallery of Barker's characters. they all play off each other well, and give you just enough background to flesh out the creepy cast.


    Have you listened to any of Simon Vance’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Yes, on The Books Of Blood series, he gave a very good performance. Very well done narration and characterization of the various characters.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes, and no. This is my favorite Baker story, so I always love this one, but this is the first time I have been able to hear the unabridged version, versus the fully dramatized abridged version from Warner Audio.


    Any additional comments?

    ...hint hint...please Audible...can you get the Warner Audio/Sound Editions dramatized version for us Audible listeners...pretty please? That is one of the best dramatized stories I have ever heard, personally. As far as I know, a digital version of this does not exist...I had to make one for myself from my original cassette tapes. I would love to have the dramatized/abridged version on Audible...for me that is my Holy Grail of audio books...other listeners would love it I believe.
    The combination of Colin Fox's excellent narration along with a wonderful voice cast, and full music soundtrack and effects is why I hope that can be available on Audible some day, to compliment the unabridged version.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J. 08-02-15
    J. 08-02-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Great Story Abruptly Ended"

    Lived the story and the narrator...an amazing tale, and well worth the purchase. I felt it ended a little abruptly, but then again I guess it's rather difficult to end a story. I will be listening to this again.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Aliegha P. 05-21-15
    Aliegha P. 05-21-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Fantastic story that leaves you wanting more"

    I am very picky with my ratings, and normally I want review unless impressed or repulsed. This story is certainly the former! I read it years ago and was impressed by both its narrative flow and its plot. There are certain scenes that, if you're squeamish, you won't get through but it loved it, not because of its grotesques nature, but because Clive Barker didn't shy from it! The ending is suddenly, and leaves you screaming for more. Very good!

    The narrator is probable the best I've ever heard! His voice is cultured and calm, but with clear emotion. Each character has been given a different cadence of speech, and he has even attempted each accent! While not perfect in this regard (the German in particular) you can tell each character without the need of the narrative supplying the name! He is fantastic! I will definitely search for more of his narration!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carolyn Australia 10-29-14
    Carolyn Australia 10-29-14 Member Since 2013
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    "Intersting but overly gruesome."
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    People who like gruesome descriptions of maiming and decomposition.


    What was most disappointing about Clive Barker’s story?

    Some images I didn't want in my head.


    Have you listened to any of Simon Vance’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Damnation Game?

    All the gruesome descriptions.


    0 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 10-20-14

    Mac

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    "Sorry, Can't recommend this one."

    I really did not like this book. I suffered through it because of "not finishing a book" guilt or something. It was a horror movie in writing on pages. I am not against horror movies but this plot was TOOOOO LOOONNNGGG. It went back and forth and here and there. If it had been at least one third shorter (think film editing), it might have been ok.

    0 of 3 people found this review helpful

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