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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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  • Dave
  • Whittier, CA
  • 11-03-15

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.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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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.<br/>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.<br/>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.<br/>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).

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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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 of 1 people found this review helpful

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clive barker is the best

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

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Andrew
  • Cambridge, Ontario Canada
  • 03-27-15

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 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Better than the movie

I've never been a big fan of Clive Barker, until I read Cabal. I found this book to be absolutely intriguing, The plot was fluid, characters were believable.
Chet William was fantastic, believable characters voices were right on the mark
I can't wait to read more

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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.

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Good book but draaaaaaaags

Good story but suuuuch purole prose. You mileage may vary. One of the very few cases where the movie might have been better.

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Suspense and Horror at its best.

Clive Barker does it again by bringing you both horror and suspense with a little romance. The book isn't just about one person, but several that all collide. Unlike other writers Barker isn't afraid to use horrific and shocking images. It isn't a story for everyone as it is has sex, death, and monsters.

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Nightbreed

Really good story and it flows pretty well. There weren't really any parts that felt like they dragged on. Great characters, I really liked Narcisse and Decker. I remember liking the movie but I don't remember much so I'll have to revisit it. One thing that gets me with Clive Barker's writing is the overly sexual stuff. I'm not a prude by any means but it comes off as gratuitous and unnecessary. Although it didn't detract from my enjoyment of the book I could've done without those bits. I enjoyed the narrator as well. His voices for the characters were distinct so I always knew who was speaking without having to be told. Overall a great read/listen. Take my advice though, don't use a credit for it. You can buy the kindle version and upgrade to audible for a total of like $6.