The Thief of Always: A Fable

Front Cover
HarperCollins, Jan 29, 1993 - Children - 229 pages
26 Reviews

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 childish whim may be satisfied.

There is a price to be paid, of course, but young Harvey Swick, bored with his life and beguiled by Mr Hood's wonders, does not stop to discover the consequences. It is only when the House shows its darker face - when Harvey discovers the pitiful creatures that dwell in its shadow - that he comes to doubt Mr Hood's philanthropy.

The house and its mysterious architect are not about to release their captive without a battle, however. Mr Hood has ambitions for his new guest, for Harvey's soul burns brighter than any soul he has encountered for a thousand years...

"A dashingly produced fantasy with powerful drawings by the author" DAILY TELEGRAPH

"Barker's book puts the grim back into fairy tales and continues a noble tradition of scaring kids witless. Neatly nasty drawings too" TIME OUT

"Barker puts the dark side back into childhood fantasy...A welcome modern-day return to a classic form, this fable lives up to the publishers' billing as a tale for all ages" PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

"Bradbury with razored edges" LOCUS

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - SoulFlower1981 - LibraryThing

I tend to veer away from any book that is considered to have any elements of horror contained within it because I am a very non-violent person and prefer my reading material to have that same ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - zenslave - LibraryThing

Who doesn't get bored with their mundane lives? Who doesn't want to live somewhere where excitement and fun and immediate wish-fulfillment is the norm? Well, that's what the kids in this story were all looking for and see where it got them. Classic tale of the grass is greener. Read full review

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About the author (1993)

Critics of the horror story have frequently called Clive Barker the "British Stephen King". Born in Liverpool in 1952, Barker attended the University of Liverpool but moved to London in 1977, where he worked as a commercial artist and became involved with the avant-garde theatrical community. Primarily a playwright during this period, he also produced short fiction that he would eventually publish as part of his six-volume collection titled Books of Blood (1984-85). More than any other author of contemporary horror fiction, Barker has had a major impact on the direction of the genre. He has introduced strong elements of sex and graphic violence into his fiction, but these elements are employed with an artistic objective. Barker underscores his work with complex subtextual metaphors and artistic allusions. Preoccupied with the craft of writing and with its effect on the reader, Barker is an innovator of formula and genre, often parodying the former in order to change the philosophical contour of the latter. Barker has achieved commercial success not only with his short fiction but also with his novels, which tend to be epic in scope and to blend elements of horror with those of high fantasy. Barker is one of the more influential voices in horror cinema, having written and directed a number of films. His printed works include The Candle in the Cloud, Absolute Midnight, The Scarlet Gospels, and Black is the Devil's Rainbow: Tales of a Journeyman. His films include Dread, Tortured Souls: Animae Damanatae, and Hellraiser.

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