Cabal

Narrated by: Chet Williamson
Length: 6 hrs and 44 mins
Categories: Fiction, Horror
4.5 out of 5 stars (334 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Cabal is the story of Boone, a tortured soul haunted by the conviction that he has committed atrocious crimes. In a necropolis in the wilds of Canada, he seeks refuge and finds the last great creatures of the world - the shape-shifters known as the Nightbreed. They are possessed of unearthly powers-and so is Boone. In the hunt for Boone, they too will be hunted. Now only the courage of this strange human can save them from extinction. And only the undying passion of a woman can save Boone from his own corrupting hell...

This novella is the basis for the Major Motion Picture - Nightbreed.

©1988 Clive Barker Ink (P)2014 David N. WIlson

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Good Monsters. Mostly.

Clive Barker’s "Cabal" is a dark fable where the humanity of monsters is balanced against the monstrosity of human behavior. Boone, a man with a mental disorder, is led to believe that he is responsible for a number of hideous murders. He flees to a small town called Midian in search of a society of monsters that live under a cemetery. There he discovers that some humans are far more monstrous than the creatures known as the Nightbreed. Yet while the Nightbreed are sympathetic, they certainly aren’t safe.

This was actually my first experience with one of Clive Barker’s novels, but it will not be my last. While the book is far from perfect -- Boone himself is something of a bland protagonist, I would’ve preferred more description of Midian’s underground society, and I think Barker flinches at a choice near the end -- "Cabal" gets quite a bit right, and it makes up for any missteps with a very visceral listen. There are buckets of blood and gore and organs described in all the splatterpunk carnage you’d expect from the late 80s (it was originally published in 1988). There’s also a startling, fierce, and hungry sexuality. In the opening of the book, we learn that Boone and Lori, two very beautiful young people trying to fit in with society, have difficulty in bed. As we witness Boone becomes more of a monster, we see these characters draw closer in ways they weren’t able to before.

Chet Williamson has the voice of an old time radio dramatist, and it ends up serving this story well. Initially, I wasn't sure if his square-jawed voice was the right one for this book. But Williamson's steady, no frills reading won me over in the end, providing a nice foil between the monsters and the monstrous.

"Cabal" is a story where the monsters, despite being grotesque and violent, are far more sympathetic than the majority of the humans we encounter. In Barker's tale, it's tough and dangerous being an outsider or someone different, but it's also unquestionably good.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

A Novella From the Master of Horror

What did you like best about Cabal? What did you like least?

Like him or not, nobody can deny that Clive Barker has fantastic ideas for stories. The story theme of monsters (of the night, aka The Nightbreed) hiding below ground from the monsters above (humans) offers a great juxtaposition of just who are the real monsters in the story.
That said, the characters are somewhat weak, we don't really find out needed information about the backgrounds of different characters and why they have become what they are; at least not enough to form any sense of relatability. The timeline seems to be spotty, either moving too fast or missing pieces in between scenes.
It almost seems like maybe Cabal should have been made into a novel. I think there was enough, withmore detail and more spacing to do so, but instead the whole thing feels, short and rushed.
Still, Barker is Barker and he has his moments of prose in Cabal that make it good. It may not be his best work, but it certainly isn't bad either. The idea Barker presents about just whom the real monsters in this world are is enough to warrant three stars.

Was Cabal worth the listening time?

Yes. Even though I gave it three stars, it is still worth listening to, even if just to be familiar with Barkers early works.

Any additional comments?

It's an ok listen, just understand it isn't as good as some of his works released around the same time (Books of Blood, Damnation Game).

5 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Good, not great

This is far from Barker's best work. It doesn't have a whole lot of substance but at least a couple of the characters are fleshed out pretty well. There are a few graphic sections where Barker always shines and does not disappoint here but the story between these events seems relatively uninspired compared to his other work. It is still a good read overall, deserving of 3 stars.

I did not care much for the narrator here. He was not completely subdued, but I prefer a more animated performance.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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always good!

How I missed the tales of Midian and it's monsters. If you we're a fan of the movie you'll enjoy the book as well.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

clive barker is the best

fucking awesome hope to oneday read a sequel cliver barker never ceases to fascinate me and my imagination

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Not his worst

I'm a fan of Clive Barker's works so please don't think this is a negative review.

It's a good story from an earlier time in his career.
His Abarat series is great as is The Great and Secret Show and Imajica.
This is a pretty straight forward story with not a lot of mystery.
As is most of Clive's work, the story has the theme of a hidden world of sorts.

The narration was not the greatest. I would have enjoyed Scott Brick or Simon Vance.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

It was okay

Wasn’t bad but I prefer the movie. Don’t get me wrong there were elements that were pretty interesting and it makes it worth listening to.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Epic story telling

A fantastic book with deep characters and a dark adventure. Enjoyed it a lot ...

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so good

saw the movie first,love all mr Barker's work, he's a real master of horror stories.

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Loved It

Originally released in 1988, Cabal is one of Clive Barker's most well known stories because it was the basis for the cult classic film Nightbreed. The protagonist Boon is "a tortured soul haunted by the conviction that he has committed atrocious crimes." According to the synopsis, "In a necropolis in the wilds of Canada, he seeks refuge and finds the last great creatures of the world - the shape-shifters known as the Nightbreed. They are possessed of unearthly powers-and so is Boone. In the hunt for Boone, they too will be hunted. Now only the courage of this strange human can save them from extinction. And only the undying passion of a woman can save Boone from his own corrupting hell..." Cabal is an inventive story, featuring wildly imaginative characters, and it has some of the most exquisite and poetic writing I've ever encountered.

I enjoyed Cabal much more than I thought I would. Clive Barker's ability to write about horrific acts and sexuality in an unrestrained manner sets him apart from other authors. He can dig deep at an entirely different level, and it shows in the quality of his work. The narration of this audiobook is well done and suits the story well. Cabal is horror, adventure, romance, and science fiction all rolled into one masterfully written book that has stood the test of time. I highly recommend picking up this audiobook from Audible, as well as The Director's Cut Blu-ray, so you can fully appreciate the scope and majesty of Cabal.

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  • Just
  • 04-23-18

Nightbreed

Any additional comments?

This is one of Barker's last horror efforts, and it shows. The prose is excellent, though it lacks some of the spark found in his earlier works. Still worth a listen though.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • ben scaife
  • 09-18-19

left wanting more

only ever saw the film so was curious as to how the book was, found the narrator a bit boring to listen to initially but soon got into it and thoroughly enjoyed.
wish there was more to the story though....

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  • blacktormaline
  • 12-04-18

My favourite book

This was brilliant. I love the book and Chet really brought it to life. I look forward to more from him.