The Thief of Always

ISBN: 1933239174
ISBN 13: 9781933239170
By: Clive Barker Alex Garner Gabriel Hernandez

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Adventure Childrens Clive Barker Fantasy Favorites Fiction Horror To Read Ya Young Adult

About this book

Master of horror Clive Barker's Thief of Always is a fable appealing to horror and fantasy fans young and old. Now IDW brings you its own lavishly illustrated adaptation of the thrilling tale. Mr. Hood's Holiday House has stood for a thousand years, welcoming countless children into its embrace. It is a place of miracles, a blissful round of treats and seasons, where every childhood whim may be satisfied... for a price.

Reader's Thoughts

Lazy Seagull

Alright, well, here I go!So, I was going along my merry way reading this book, and I found myself being drawn almost completely in. A seemingly childish story, The Thief of Always managed to be both chilling and unbearably cute. Now people were asking me when they saw me with the book in hand: "Do you like it? Why?"The characters were well fleshed out and well-thought out. I loved Harvey. Wendell could be irritating, but, hey, that was him.I loved the House. Hood House. That motherfucking monster of a vacation resort. I just wanted to see and learn...more, I suppose.More about Lulu's enigmatic past. More about Mr. Hood's past. What about Rictus, Jive and the rest of the leetle beasties?That's pretty much why The Thief of Always earned a solid four stars.Recommended to all for a quick, light, and totally-worth-it read.


Finished! Well as the title suggests, it is a fable so it reads more like a dark children's story than full on horror. I liked the characher of Harvey, he's flaws and his determination to uncover the secret of the fantasy land he became entangled in. The main villain, Mr. Hood, was also a nice touch even though the concept of an evil presence encompassing an entire structure has been seen before. Overall I do wish the pace of the story was a bit slower and maybe even more digging into the orgin of Mr. Hood and the true source of his magic would have added a bit more depth but nonetheless a good read.


::: SPOILER ALERT :::"Time would be precious from now on. It would tick by, of course, as it always had, Harvey was determined he wouldn't waste it with sighs and complaints. He'd fill every moment with the seasons Jed found in his heart: hopes like birds on a spring branch; happiness like a warm summer sun; magic like the rising mists of autumn. And best of all, love; love enough for a thousand Christmases."Another reminder from my late son, Ryan, my firstborn. Gone nearly 2 1/2 years now. He wants to be certain I know to live each day in appreciation for the precious gift that it is. Time lost is never recovered, unless you find it in a book like this, that makes you keenly aware of the value of even one day!


Goodness gracious, this book was amazing. Thanks to that special someone for letting me read it (aka Ghirardelli).Seriously, Mr. Clive Barker knows where it's at in terms of thrilling scares. He is the force behind "Hellraiser" and "Candyman", which, if you haven't seen those films, are pretty damn good.This is a fast read too. Once you start, you won't want to stop. And the ending. That ending. It's such a great payoff. It really leaves you with that warm feeling on the inside.Not to mention, the characters are great too. Harvey is a likable protagonist, and the supporting protagonists' are excellent as well. Not to mention the antagonists. Rictus is one of my favorites; he makes me think of some slimy car salesman who's relentless in his attempts to make you buy his product. Mr. Hood is great too when you finally see him. I'm going to keep this review short, since I don't want to give away any major spoilers, but this is a book any reader should check out. It's a great read; the story is interesting, the characters are enthralling, and Mr. Barker knows how to use descriptive words to his advantage. Check it out if you haven't already!

Geert Daelemans

A touching fable for the young at heartThe Great Grey Beast of February has imprisoned Harvey Swick and the young boy is bored to death. How will he ever survive that dreadfully dull period between New Year and Easter? Contemplating his misery, Harvey discovers that he is not alone in his room. Indeed a somewhat strange and scrawny figure is standing in the corner. The man makes himself known as Mr. Rictus and invites Harvey to the Holiday House. And true, Harvey does not believe his eyes: the house is filled with all the pleasures a boy can want. Delicious food, many friends, tons of toys, every day Christmas. What more do you need? Of course there is a price to be paid, but young Harvey Swick, bored with his life and beguiled by the wonders of the Holiday House, does not stop to consider the consequences. Only when he discovers that he is no longer a guest, but a prisoner does Harvey start to react. But maybe it is already too late.Clive Barker's first attempt at writing a book for a younger audience does not go by unnoticed. As Clive is known for his very dark and fantastic tales, he indeed uses these talents to draw a magnificent place where many children surely would love to hide. But with the same zeal he deconstructs the dream and craftily let the evil seep into the story. Of course the villains are not as dark and disturbed as in his adult novels, but still he manages to portrait a series of characters that would enjoy taking permanent residence in the dreams of the younger ones.One critique that might pop up is that the setting of the story is so rich that it begs for more than one episode. After reading the story, so many things are left untold that it leaves you wanting for more. Even the narrative itself is extremely concise with its twenty-six chapters counting on average not more than six pages each. It would probably not have hurt if more details were introduced in order to make the environment even more exciting and colorful. Nevertheless the story is exciting enough to get the stamp of a must-read. And please, do not worry if you think you are too old to read this book. You never are!

M.G. Mason

If somebody would have asked me which contemporary horror writer I would choose to write a dark fantasy largely aimed at children, I must admit that Clive Barker would not be top of the list. Most of his work is sexual often with themes of homosexuality and usually BDSM. Not that I have a problem with this but for those reasons Clive Barker would never jump out at me as being the ideal writer for a children’s dark fantasy. Therefore I was surprised when I opened The Thief of Always and not only enjoy it, but to afterwards consider it my favourite Barker novel.Harvey is ten years old and bored with school so when a mysterious man ‘Rictus’ offers him the chance to go to the Holiday House where he can celebrate Christmas every night and just generally play and have fun for as long as he wants, Harvey jumps at the chance. The fantasy world is as amazing as he imagined and when he phones his mother to let her know that he is alright she oddly advises him to ‘stay as long as he likes’. He makes friends with two other children and as the (short) book progresses, they start to realise that not is all as it seems. When the truth comes out, it is more horrifying than they could ever have imagined.The world Barker has created is bizarre and fantastical; there is enough content and underlying theme to engage both children and adults. In some ways it feels very much long a modern horror, in other ways it feels rather like a homage to the likes of the brothers Grimm, Hans Christian Anderson etcSee more book reviews at my blog


I remember browsing through Booksale, sorting through a lot of books, then looking down at what I'm holding (which were books I was considering to buy), and wondering how on earth "The Thief of Always" got there. Seriously, I felt this book had magical powers or something, and I still suspect that, after almost 5 years. Funny how I only remembered this book just now, since I think it's one of the most amazingly written and illustrated books I've read (and that was just by chance).I'll have to ponder more on how to review this book, since it's the books I love that are really hard to review. For now, isn't it just enough to say that this book was lumpin bloobalooby?


This is a quick read, even though it's 225 pages. The last time I read it, about 10 years ago, I read it in about a day, and I'm not a fast reader. It's just really hard to put down, and clips right along.This one is all about the story, and there's almost no extra fluff if I recall. It's odd that I would give such an animal five stars since I'm all about great prose, even if it adds a couple of hundred pages to a book, but there it is.Since I don't feel like typing out bits of the story, and the book summary attached to this does it just fine anyway, I'll leave you with a recommendation to check this out.

Mike (the Paladin)

I gave this 3 could have gone either way on the third one. I don't care for most of Barker's writing. I picked this up as it's a youth book, and frankly I wanted to see what Mr. Barker would call a youth book.Interestingly enough there are some of the same themes that I've seen in the other works of his I'm familiar with. Self-indulgence as a trap. The "Thief" character who steals life or time or innocence. The only difference here is it's far "lighter" than in his other novels. Not a bad read if you like YA books...sort of the Island of Lost Boys meets the Land of Faerie.


So, when I reviewed Coraline, I mentioned that, in terms of "Young-person-casts-off-illusions-and-outwits-a-vastly-more-powerful-otherworldly-entity-and-comes-to-appreciate-the-realities-of-life" stories, I thought this book was vastly superior. So I jumped onto Bookmooch to see if anyone had a copy. Lo and behold, a nice person in Israel was giving his copy away, so I snagged it. And I stand by my judgment.Plus, this book has one of the best opening lines I have ever read: "The great, gray beast February had eaten Harvey Swick alive."Can't beat that.Harvey Swick is ten years old, and like so many ten year-old boys, he is bored with his life. The interminable grayness of February, the drudgery of life - going to school, coming home, going to school again - and believes that, if his life became the tiniest bit more boring, he would certainly perish.Then he met a strange, smiling man named Rictus, who told Harvey of a wonderful place where boredom could not enter, and there was nothing to be had but fun and adventure. There is no better place for children, Rictus said, than Mister Hood's Holiday House.Thinking about it, given that Harvey was willing to follow a strange man to a mysterious house without much consideration for his safety, suggests either that Harvey is not very bright, or Rictus is extremely persuasive. Given the rest of the book, I'd bet on the latter.The Holiday House is truly a place of miracles. The food is better than you've ever eaten and there are enough toys and games and costumes and masks to keep any child happy for the rest of their lives. And in every day there are four seasons - a perfect green spring in the morning, a blazing wonderful summer in the afternoon, an evening full of woodsmoke, pumpkins and fallen leaves, and every night is a white Christmas with a present for each boy and girl.It is the best place Harvey has ever been, and it takes him about a month to realize that something is not... quite right. Why would the mysterious Mister Hood do this for children? And what happened to the children who had come before? And what's the deal with that cold, deep pond full of big, creepy fish?It's a very quick read, but a very good book.

Raquel Leite

Em O ladrão da eternidade é contada a história do pequeno Harvey Swick que tem o desejo que algo aconteça na “grandiosa e parda fera que Fevereiro era”.E assim é visitado por Rictus, uma pessoa estranha que o visita e lhe faz uma proposta em que ele, indo com Rictus, fosse para a casa de Férias, onde teria diversão nunca acaba, mesmo nos dias cinzentos e tristes. Estando ele completamente aborrecido com os dias, decide aceitar o convite, descobrindo assim uma casa onde tudo era possível, e onde os seus desejos se tornam realidade. E onde por incrível que pareça é Primavera, onde o sol queima.E assim Harvey conhece o mundo onde tudo é possível e tudo lhe agrada, com excepção de um lago que nada tem a ver com o resto da casa, é preto e tem peixes gigantes e com ares horríveis.No entanto é neste local que vai descobrir do que tudo é realmente feito e de como se constroem as coisas, enfrentando a ilusão do que é a felicidade.Este livro é como se se tratasse de uma fábula, que se deveria ler as crianças, e aos adultos também, ensinando que quem tudo quer, tudo perde. E é realmente fantástico que assim o seja. Um livro que devemos mesmo perde umas horinhas com ele.

Daniel Pereira

O livro, na verdade, não merece 4 estrelas, mas apenas 3.5. Foi um livro fácil de ler e do qual gostei bastante, pelo enredo que misturava um estilo de fantasia com elementos de terror.Só dou esta nota porque achei que mais pro fim as coisas foram muito apressadas e certas descrições deixaram me confuso, além de que ficaram coisas por explicar. Tirando isso, continua a ser uma óptima leitura que nos prende muito, sendo que li este livro inteiro num dia de faculdade com pouco tempo disponivel. Overall, recomendo a quem queira uma aventura leve mas com uma teoria e uma moral muito interessantes.

Emeraldia Ayakashi

I was surprised. It’s weird to call a Clive Barker book cute, right? But that’s what The Thief of Always is. Even with demons and soul-stealing and a cat falling into a pot of boiling water and dying, it’s a really cute and deep , like the " soul of Me " who recommmand me this book . The way that Clive Barkerweave a story that incorporates adventure and horror within a tale suitable for a child is amazing.This book while being fun and horrific also has a great meaning behind it, one that every child (and adult if we’re being completely honest here) needs to find. It's a delightful fairy taleDon’t waste the time you have been given, it can be gone in an instant.

Elizabeth(The Book Whisperer)

I highly recommend this book! I is such a compelling story, written so well. It has a clever plot and keeps you interested till the very end!


I read this for the first time when I was 12 and I remember my mother being disturbed by some of the scenes I described to her, so much that she decided to read it as well. Ultimately she had to admit that it was a good book. Since then I think I've read it over again two or three times. I adore the story. There are so many intricacies that have fed my imagination that I can still see the images that this book made me conjure up 16 years ago!

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