The Scarlet Gospels

Clive Barker
The Scarlet Gospels Cover

The Scarlet Gospels


Clive Barker is not for everyone. That needs to be stated from the start. A reader needs a strong stomach to enjoy his stories. They are horrific and violent. There is violent sex and profanity. If the only previous experience a reader has is his YA series Abarat, some of his adult work may come as a shock. Or maybe not, I mean almost everyone knows that the Hellraiser movie franchise is based on Mr. Barkers Novella "The Hellbound Heart." If you've seen that movie there must be some inkling of his writing.

I bring this up because The Scarlet Gospels is the sequel to "The Hellbound Heart." To be honest, reading the first novel would not necessarily be required to understand what was going on, but it might help.

Mr. Barker is not only an author, but is also an artist and that is why his novels are so amazing. He is able to paint very, very, disturbing images with his words. While reading The Scarlet Gospels, I was able to visualize the hell created by his words. The fact that he brings together "Pinhead" and Harry D'Amour, two of his most famous characters in this novel in a grand (and final) showdown only added to the excitement. There really was ambiguity as to who would be victorious in the end. Once I started this novel, I could not put it down!

Let us talk a bit about the book itself. Mr. Barker paints an unexpected but non-the-less horrific vision of Hell. And to me, at least, when Harry and "The Harrowers" get to Hell, which is when the novel shines. I felt like I was with the characters as they travel around the underworld.

That said, there were some minor points I would be remiss not to point out. Although the cover pits this as a Harry vs. Pinhead novel, this is really not the case. This is the story of Pinhead, referred to in most of the novel as the Hell Priest. Much of what Mr. Barker promised would be in the novel was not. It is my understanding that his original manuscript was over 200,000 words and this "final" form came in at a paltry 100,000 words. Might there be more works in the future? I for one can only hope.

4 of 5 stars