Books of Blood: Volumes 4-6

ISBN: 0751512257
ISBN 13: 9780751512250
By: Clive Barker

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About this book

Here are the stories written on the Book of Blood. They are a map of that dark highway that leads out of life towards unknown destinations. Few will have to take it. Most will go peacefully along lamplit streets, ushered out of living with prayers and caresses. But for a few, the horrors will come, skipping, to fetch them off to the highway of the damned ...From the brilliant World Fantasy Award winner Clive Barker come fourteen spine-chilling stories of darkness unleashed, gathered together in one volume for the first time. These are visionary tales of terror which will curdle the very marrow in your bones ...

Reader's Thoughts


Brilliant, just like the first book.More terror, more splatters, more biting social commentary.Some of his stuff even recalls Lovecraft for me. And that, I would think, is a high compliment.


While this was a decent collection of horror stories, there were not quite as many standouts as in the first 3 volumes of Books of Blood, and not as many that got under my skin. Some of the stories I highly enjoyed were:"The Forbidden": I read more than halfway through this story before I realized it was the basis for the movie "Candyman." The setup took some time, but there was some disturbing imagery and the idea of evil being kept alive through rumor was very effectively done."The Life of Death": A story about a cancer survivor who meets a man at the site of a church demolition, and her ensuing obsession with the bodies in the crypt."The Body Politic": After reading this, I began to notice how often my hands do things without my consciously telling them to.Overall, there weren't many memorable stories here. I also found this text riddled with weird typos (such as "facade" being written as "faade"). I partially read Book 6 on my Nook as a free download from Goodreads, and there were even more typos, as well as a reshuffling of the order of the stories that confused me. I'm not sure why it was so difficult to get my hands on a copy of this book, I couldn't find a copy at any libraries in New Hampshire or Massachusetts, and had to order it from the internet. Still, Clive Barker is a great horror writer and I hope to read more of his work.


ok but does not make you want to keep reading and not put the book down


Back in 1984, Clive Barker made his name within the deeply competitive world of horror with the publication of the first three volumes of the macabre short stories 'The Books Of Blood'. Written in his spare time, he admits that he was not expecting them to sell really at all, let alone predict the public response that followed. The release exploded within the horror literature genre, hailing Barker as an exciting and imaginative newcomer. Stephen King, already known as a master in the genre, went as far as to pronounce Clive to be "the future of horror." The books won both the British and World Fantasy Awards, as the public lapped up the gore soaked pages. After this initial success, Barker followed with a final three volumes, creating a collective masterpiece of horror. His two omnibus's were later to be broken down, to be sold as individual books which Barker was invited to be able to illustrate the covers for with his dark and twisted artwork. The books have since been put back together again into these two large collections. The books were moderately successful in Great Britain, but found wide critical acclaim in the United States. Their popularity and the sheer amount of sales have found the books repeatedly reprinted and available in over a dozen languages. These books are a must-read for anyone who enjoys reading books from the horror genre. They are also an important stage within the work of Clive Barker forming a solid point for his writing to work from. Here we have the last three volumes from the collection of six. Released in their individual forms back in 1985, this omnibus was later reprinted by Warner Books in 1994. The book was printed with different cover artwork (done by Bob Warner) and is the current version on sale of this dark and twisted masterpiece. This second collection contains the following short stories: The Body Politic - 47 pages "What if parts of your body, such as your hands for instance, suddenly decided that they wanted to sever their connections with you and be free? Human hands tear themselves from their masters to start a bloody revolution." A truly unforgettable tale of weird horror that screams paranoia from every page. Barker offers up this surreal treat that will please any horror fan. The short was later to be adapted for the movie 'Quicksilver Highway', which was unfortunately directed by Mick Garris (Sleepwalkers, The Stand, The Shining - TV version) in which he delivers his usual low-talent directing skills to complement the budget on offer. The Inhuman Condition - 47 pages "A knotted string unravels dark hungering nightmares." Bringing with it a brief glimpse at Barker's principal ideas for 'The Hellbound Heart', this short story packs in heart-pounding suspense and twisted horror to form a gripping and terrifying storyline. The premise behind the story is a clever and inspired one, as we see mankind's irresistible urge for curiosity. Revelations - 56 pages "In a Texas motel room, the living and the dead make love. Buck and Sadie Durning check into the Cottonwood Motel in June 1955. Buck never checks out and four months later Sadie is executed for his murder. Thirty years later, John and Virginia Dyer check into the same hotel where the ghosts of Buck and Sadie have returned to relive their fateful drama." A terrifying and disturbing tale that will haunt you for a long time to come. Barker paints a vivid picture of the murderous atmosphere that will chill you to the bone. The story was later adapted by Steve Niles in 1992 into the Eclipse Books graphic novel 'Revelations' where it was illustrated by Lionel Talaro. Down, Satan! - 6 pages "A palace is built to lure Satan back to earth." A very short one here from Barker, setting down a creepy and dark idea that sits there waiting to unnerve you. The story was later adapted in 1992 into the graphic novel 'Tapping The Vein - Book 5' where it was illustrated by Tim Conrad. The Age Of Desire - 54 pages "A powerful aphrodisiac creates ghastly sexual urgings." Here we have an erotic horror crossover with a fair sprinkling of black comedy mixed in with the dark and twisted storyline. The short story was made into a graphic novel at one time but the decline of Eclipse Comics resulted in the sad loss of this graphic novel illustrated by Timothy Bradstreet. The Forbidden - 37 pages "There are some taboos too terrible to be broken. Some stories too terrible to be true. Until you begin to believe them." Here we have the original inspiration for the film Candyman, which was adapted from the short and further developed upon. The Forbidden offers up an intense, atmospheric story of tension and horror. The story is very well-written, delivering a well-crafted and haunting story. The Madonna - 38 pages "She was older than legend: the Unholy Mother whose beautiful children were most men's dream, and every man's nightmare." A nail-biting short packed with more bizarre and horrific images vividly crafted from the mind of Clive Barker. The storyline is gripping and dark, with an atmosphere so chilling, it will haunt you for ages afterwards. The story was later adapted in 1990 into the graphic novel 'Tapping The Vein - Book 4' where it was illustrated by Stan Woch, Mark Farmer and Fred Von Tobel. Babel's Children - 27 pages "A paradise island, lost in a sparkling sea, what better place to plot the end of the world?" A bit of a different short story here, compared with the rest of the shorts in the Books Of Blood. The plot is carefully unfolded, creating an air of mystery to the whole storyline, until the final conclusion hits you in the face. I wasn't that keen on this one, but it was certainly an interesting read. In The Flesh - 46 pages "Every night they locked the cell doors for twelve hours; locked the prisoners in with their regrets and their secret terrors, and something more. Something from the lunatic world of pure slaughter that waited just beyond the walls." One of the most loved and enjoyed of Barker's short stories is this dark and twisted tale that takes you on a trip through the weird and limitless imagination of Clive Barker. The storyline is extremely well-constructed, dragging you further and further into the story as it hurtles towards the horrific conclusion. This is a definite must-read for all fans of Barker's work. The Life Of Death - 34 pages "She nearly Died on the operating table. Masked men removed the cancers, and her womb. But Elaine Rider lived on, mourning. Until, after a midnight visit to the newly opened crypt of All Saints Church - A plague pit heaped with bodies, festering now they are exposed - she is suddenly a picture of health and vitality. Kavanagh's morbid preference was for the sad, fragile Elaine he met before. Before she had the power to kill with her touch. But who is Kavanagh? Elaine mistakes him for Death in disguise, her clean-boned guardian, her promised lover. He is something far worse, as she will learn." Barker carefully weaves this morbid and haunting tale, steadily building upon the tension, as you are taken to the grande finale with a nasty twist. I would say that this one is one of his best shorts from the Books Of Blood collection. The story was later adapted by Fred Burke in 1993 into the Eclipse Books graphic novel 'The Life Of Death' where it was illustrated by Stewart Stanyard. How Spoilers Bleed - 31 pages "They committed a crime no jury could convict them for. But there were other judges, other punishments." A gory and disturbing story that will anger and revolt you from the start. The plot slowly unfolds, bringing with it a tale of horrific revenge and cruelty. The story was later adapted in 1992 into the graphic novel 'Tapping The Vein - Book 5' where it was illustrated by Hector Gomez. Twilight At The Towers - 31 pages "Ballard was the perfect spy. A man with all the cunning of an animal. Or was it vice versa?" This story brings haunting glimpses of the novel to be later published in 1988 entitled 'Cabal'. This was surprising as the US edition of this volume of the Books Of Blood included the story of 'Cabal'. 'Twilight At The Towers' is a creepy and violent tale involving the manipulation of the flesh once again. A little slow-paced to start with, Barker soon gets you involved with the violent action and horror that follows. The story was later adapted by Steve Niles in 1993 into the Eclipse Books graphic novel 'Rawhead Rex' where it was illustrated by Hector Gomez. The Last Illusion - 52 pages (A Harry D'Amour Novella) "New York has shown Harry horrors enough for a dozen lifetimes. He thought he'd seen the worst that flesh could suffer. Then the beautiful widow walked into his life, with a husband who wouldn't lie down dead, and all Hell on her heels. And suddenly Harry was face-to-face with forces that could teach Manhattan a lesson in depravity." A bizarre and disturbing short story that pulls you into the unfolding dark and depraved madness from the very first page. The short spirals to a dramatic ending that could only come from the dark imagination of Clive Barker. This is one of the best short stories of the lot. The story was later adapted into the 1995 film 'Lord Of Illusions', which Clive Barker was the producer, director and screenwriter for. The short story differs from the film quite dramatically, with completely different storylines and endings. The Book Of Blood (a postscript): On Jerusalem Street - 3 pages "After the end, a new beginning: walking the highway of the dead." To conclude the whole Books Of Blood series, this postscript forms a perfect bookend together with the first short - The Book Of Blood (see Books Of Blood Volume One). A macabre little ending that ties the whole premise of the books together, leaving the collection feeling like a whole.

Sharon Roy


Brian Sammons

Not as good as the first 3, but still pretty damn good.


I'm a huge Clive Barker fan. The Books of Blood don't disappoint ( not often at least) and the stories within a story idea is a good one. Many of the stories are excellent, only some are a bit weak. I will revisit these in the near future.

James Pratt

Clive Barker is best known for the Hellraiser movies which is sort of a mixed blessing. I assume he's made piles of cash off of Pinhead and his fellow Cenobites, but Barker's real strength lies in his writing, most of which is far more visceral than overt and just wouldn't translate well to the big screen. He isn't so much a horror author as an amazing writer who happens to set most of his tales in the horror genre. Even his mediocre stories consist of a decent hook bolsterd by clever pose and imagery ranging from artfully understated to squirm-inducingly vivid. As it turned out I'd already read some of these stories as part of another Barker collection ('Books of Blook vol. 5' contains the same stories as 'In the Flesh', I believe), but it was fun to revisit them. Stand-out stories include 'Revelations' (I love Barker's take on ghosts and hauntings), 'Down Satan!' (a quick little tale about obsession), 'In the Flesh' (a weird tale that would have done H.P. Lovecraft proud), and 'The Life of Death' (a great demonstration of the fine art of dread). Long story short, Barker rules.


Some of Barker's best work.


The Body Politic: 4/5 - hilarious and absurd, yet still somewhat scary. Clive Barker is quite funny if he is trying to be.The Forbidden: 3/5 - I think my impression of this story was marred by how fantastic Candyman was. Nothing could live up to that movie. Still interesting to see the source material though.

Ken Wolf

Doesn't quite have the same visceral impact as Volumes 1-3. Still, there are some great stories in there and Clive Barker is still miles better than most.

J.C. Michael

I'm a big fan of Barkers novels but although there are some great stories here, I felt bogged down by the language.For me, short stories work best when delivered with a punch, and some of these just seemed too heavy going to really enjoy them.I didn't particularly dislike the book, it was ok, but I wouldn't put it on my favourites list by some way. Maybe I'm being too harsh, and expected more because of the reputation the book, and author, has, but all in all a sound three stars feels like the right rating for me.


In Brazil, it's really really hard to find Books of Blood. No one seems to know about Clive Barker in here, except for Hellraiser. Anyway, it was worth looking, it contents very good stories. I just got the feeling that better things would come eventually in the other books of the series. Could not find them yet though.


Along with Parts 1-3, this collection of short stories is great fun. It covers comedy to tragedy and real horror, all reflecting Barker's world view.

John Haymond

The collection of short horror stories, (while amazingly graphic and violent) is as top notch and excellent as it gets. I cant rave enough about Clive Barkers uncanny story telling abilities.

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