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Publisher's Summary

Santa Claus, my dear old friend, you are a thief, a traitor, a slanderer, a murderer, a liar, but worst of all you are a mockery of everything for which I stood. You have sung your last ho, ho, ho, for I am coming for your head.... I am coming to take back what is mine, to take back Yuletide....
—from Krampus

The author and artist of The Child Thief returns with a modern fabulist tale of Krampus, the Lord of Yule and the dark enemy of Santa Claus.

One Christmas Eve in a small hollow in Boone County, West Virginia, struggling songwriter Jesse Walker witnesses a strange spectacle: seven devilish figures chasing a man in a red suit toward a sleigh and eight reindeer. When the reindeer leap skyward, taking the sleigh, devil men, and Santa into the clouds, screams follow. Moments later, a large sack plummets back to earth, a magical sack that thrusts the down-on-his-luck singer into the clutches of the terrifying Yule Lord, Krampus. But the lines between good and evil become blurred as Jesse's new master reveals many dark secrets about the cherry-cheeked Santa Claus, including how half a millennium ago the jolly old saint imprisoned Krampus and usurped his magic.

Now Santa's time is running short, for the Yule Lord is determined to have his retribution and reclaim Yuletide. If Jesse can survive this ancient feud, he might have the chance to redeem himself in his family's eyes, to save his own broken dreams... and to help bring the magic of Yule to the impoverished folk of Boone County.

©2012 Gerald Brom (P)2012 HarperCollins Publishers

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • colleen
  • ANCHORAGE, AK, United States
  • 11-17-12

5 stars

Wow! Interesting, original, totally worth the credit and just in time for the holidays! This is a crazy story about a power struggle between a not so lovable Santa, Krampus, a forerunner of St Nick and the Belsnickel. Throw in some humans, a dash or Norse mythology and small town corruption and there you go, 5 stars. I loved it!

40 of 42 people found this review helpful

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aBROMination

SANTA CLAUS IS AN ABOMINATION
At one time Santa Claus and Krampus were the best of friends. Then the egotistical Claus sucker punched Krampus and chained him under ground. Santa Claus won the fight and rewrote the history books. He had so much power that Christians worship him today and put up trees in his honor, even though Santa stole that idea from the Yule Tide Lord. The Christians hated Krampus, who honored Mother Nature, because his parties included lots of drinking and getting naked.

THE ANSWER TO ALL RIDDLES SEEM EASY ONCE YOU KNOW THEM
Krampus is unfamiliar in America, but is well known in Germany and other European Countries. Brom did a lot of research for this book, which makes it that much better. This is not as good as NOS4A2 by Joe Hill, but it is the next best thing.

22 of 24 people found this review helpful

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  • Amylu
  • minneapolis, mn
  • 01-13-13

Fabulous "new" take on Christmas!

I saw this book at the bookstore and was thrilled to see that it was available on Audible. Honestly, I have both the print and the audible versions, thinking that I was going to go back and forth between them. I was so taken with the performance, however, that I found myself taking extra drives in the car to hear more! Kirby did a fantastic job creating the different characters, and his timing was impeccable.

I am always drawn to things that challenge the status quo, so when I saw that this was a story that painted Santa Claus in a completely new way, I was intrigued. I am glad that I took a chance on this book! Although Krampus is not a new figure, and the author clearly did his research (!), he was presented in a new, almost sympathetic way. While listening to the book, I honestly had to think about who I was rooting for many times. All characters were drawn with complex brush strokes, allowing me to really 'get to know' each one of them along the way.

I have to admit, the story did plunge a little bit into the Stephen King realm for me at times, but I'm not sure that was a bad thing. I think it may have been a necessary addition to the story in terms of tying things all together at the end.

If you like dark tales and looking at the established in a new way, please take a look at this. It will not disappoint!

8 of 11 people found this review helpful

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It's Good to be Terrible

The headline is one of the quote's from Krampus. This was a fun book that has it's hand in Norse mythology, paganism, Santa and Christianity. At times it's hard to say who is the bad guy and who is the hero, but that's what makes this book fun. The setting, rural/small town West Virginia, also makes the book fun, there are some real characters. If you are super religious I doubt you will like this, the author kind of skewers the Christian cult, which is yet another reason this book is interesting. Some of the voices can get a little obnoxious eventually, but Heyborne's voice for Krampus is fantastic and just makes the Yule Lord that much more compelling.

8 of 12 people found this review helpful

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This book is Worth it. Buy this book

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

The narrator makes all the different characters come alive and have real passion. I'm glad I got this on audio. This is a real interesting look at some of the alternate traditions for Christmas and a subtle and not so subtle poke at the commercialism that has come to be Christmas and lake of true spirit of the holiday reminding everyone to be good to each other and enjoy life and probably a look at some of the pagan traditions of that year made up or real. Its really fun.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Krampus definitely. He's part savage elemental spirit, whiny child, Yule lord and noble lord and cruel Santa. His performed voice was memorable and captivating.

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

No I haven't listened to any other of Kirby Heborne's performances, but I'll certainly be on the look out for them. This book would only be half as good with out his voice to perform it and he really performs it and doesn't just read it to us. I listened to the books all day for two days because I couldn't put it down.

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

"It is good to be terrible" Krampus The Yule Lord.

Any additional comments?

Buy the book, you'll enjoy it, just don't listen with young children there is a lot of cussing by evil characters and some vulgar talk from a bad guy. but other than that it is awesome.

6 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • Tim
  • United States
  • 12-18-12

A Christmas Tale

This book was definately worth the credit. It moved into the top 50 audible books that I have listened to. It's kind of a dark hillbilly tale, with folklore so it's probably not for everyone but you will find yourself pulling for both sides (good and evil) and when you finish you won't know exactly which side is which. I will give this book two thumbs up.

6 of 10 people found this review helpful

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Awesome "Christmas" story!

This has got to be the best non traditional Christmas story I've heard! Brom combines modern Christmas traditions with old Yule traditions as well old Norse mythology and a little modern religion. Santa isn't who you thought. He is a good and jolly spirit, but he has done many bad things to become Santa. Krampus is a horned, goat like man associated with Yule. Christians and the Christmas traditions see him as a devil or a Christmas demon. Krampus is good and terrible. He brings Yuletide which helps to renew the Earth. He also delivers gifts to good children that believe in him and leave a tribute of candy or some treat in their shoes for him. Bad children get put into his sack and beaten with birch sticks. Before the Modern Santa, Krampus was always depicted as working with Saint Nicholas. Brom creates an incredible story of the origin of Santa and his relationship to Krampus.

This is my second book by Brom. He has a third available on Audible which I've already bought and plan to enjoy very soon! This is my first book with narrator Kirby Heyborne. I'm happy to see he narrates the other book I picked up by Brom. He does such a wonderful job with the narration in this book. He gives each character their own voice and brings out their true personalities.

I just love this line from the book.
"Santa Claus, my dear old friend, you are a thief, a traitor, a slanderer, a murderer, a liar, but worst of all you are a mockery of everything for which I stood. You have sung your last hour, ho, ho, for I am coming for your head.... I am coming to take back what is mine, to take back Yuletide...."
- from Krampus

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Loved this book

I love what Brom did by showing that our beliefs and traditions may not always be the right way. Norse mythology and Christmas blended together in a perfect package. Bravo Mr. Brom.

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narrator goes all in

the story is very good, but the Kirby Heyborne is amazing. hands down the best narrator.

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Well met Mr. Brom

Just to shorthand this:
Anyone with an appetite for the real world merging with thick worldly mythos, give this a listen and fall in love with the Yule Lord. I know I did. Gerald knocked it out the park (per usual!), this and all his books will take you into a cherished ride with deeply rooted characters and a surreal environment to lose yourself in.

And to all, a merry Yule tide.

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  • Ingwe
  • 11-06-13

Pleasant Surprise

Any additional comments?

Krampus: The Yule Lord Audio narration = 5+ Kirby Heyborne did such a phenomenal job narrating this story that I would say that it was probably what I enjoyed most about the book. He brought these characters to life in such a way that I thought there were several different narrators and was surprised to find that this was not the case. I wasn't surprised to find that Heyborne also narrated parts of Cloud Atlas which was also done brilliantly. I look forward to enjoying more audio books with this narrator. I am almost sad to say that I didn't enjoy Krampus as much as I thought I would. I loved Brom's retelling of Peter Pan in The Child Thief so much that I was anticipating the same kind of dark and disturbing storytelling in this story about a Christmas demon. Don't get me wrong, this wasn't by any means a fun, happy story, it just didn't have that element of creepiness that I expect from this author or that I anticipated with this particular subject matter. How can a story about a Christmas demon known for dragging naughty children off to Hell be anything less than terrifying? Unfortunately, there is a way. The images of Krampus seem pretty terrifying but for some reason this story presented him as far less than intimidating, and even a little ridiculous at times with all too human-like flaws. Since Krampus is said to carry naughty children off to hell, I thought he would be a bit more imposing with less obvious weaknesses of character. There were definitely some bloody & violent moments involving The Yule Lord but I didn't find him believable as a God or descendant of Loki. Also, the background of the conflict between him and Santa was a little confusing at times, especially near the end. The way this story was resolved was even more baffling. However, an afterword explains a lot of the mythology that the author used to inspire parts of the book and does actually answer some questions.While several aspects of this book left me marginally satisfied, many others I really enjoyed. For example, exploring the origins of the Santa Claus and Krampus mythology and their relationships to the Gods Odin and Loki. I am always fascinated by the way many pagan rituals have been absorbed into Christian celebrations and I enjoyed reading about how that applied to Santa and Krampus' legends. There was also some wicked humor interspersed throughout that I found genuinely entertaining. Those moments when Krampus was attempting to function in today's world was at times amusing and at other times just sad. I would have liked to have seen this explored a bit more. One of my favorite things about Krampus- The Yule Lord was the main character Jesse. I don't know how many of you watch the TV show "Breaking Bad" but there is also a character named Jesse in that show who consistently makes all the wrong decisions and isn't very likable but somehow has some endearing quality that makes you root for him all the same. Jesse in this novel was much the same and so, in my mind, this is who I saw playing this tale out. This and the incredible audio narration were, in my opinion, this books best qualities. But while I loved Jesse's character, sometimes I felt like what was going on with him overshadowed Krampus' story and I was left wanting more from both. Overall, Krampus is a story I would recommend, especially for the Christmas/Yule season. There is a lot going on in this story; violence, mayhem, mythology, gods, goats, magic, thugs, domestic violence, murder, and belsnickels. You definitely won't be bored. If you are thinking of reading this, I HIGHLY recommend the audio, it one of the best narrations I've ever listened to.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Bananaman92
  • 06-11-17

Another fantastic BROM book

Once again, another fantastic story by BROM.
The plot, the characters, the overall concept were brilliant!

My only negative for this was probably the narrator. I enjoyed Kirby's performance in the Child Thief but honestly didn't feel he was best suited for this book; most likely due to all his exclamations and shouts always end up the same despite being different characters?

nevertheless, an amazing story and with this I have now read/listened to all of BROM's books! Can't wait to see what he releases next.

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  • Simon
  • 10-18-16

Krampus is coming to town...

This book is a delightfully colourful twist on the Christmas tradition and is thoroughly entertaining. I now would prefer to celebrate Yule Tide than Christmas