British Fiction Focus

Back to Hell with Clive Barker

Get ready to say hello and goodbye both to two classic characters. Harry D’Amour—a major player in Everville—and Pinhead himself, he of The Hellbound Heart in part and the whole of the Hellraiser film franchise, are finally ready to return in “a good versus evil saga that goes straight to Hell.”

Ladies and gentlemen, it gives me great pleasure to introduce you—or rather reintroduce you—to The Scarlet Gospels, a “farewell speech” of sorts, and Clive Barker’s first book for adults since 2007’s altogether too brief masterpiece Mister B. Gone:

The Scarlet Gospels takes readers back many years to the early days of two of Barker’s most iconic characters in a battle of good and evil as old as time: the long beleaguered detective Harry D’Amour, investigator of all supernatural, magical, and malevolent crimes faces off against his formidable, and intensely evil rival, Pinhead, the priest of hell.

Barker devotees have been waiting for The Scarlet Gospels with bated breath for years, and it’s everything they’ve begged for and more. Bloody, terrifying, and brilliantly complex, fans and newcomers alike will not be disappointed by the epic, visionary tale that is The Scarlet Gospels. Barker’s horror will make your worst nightmares seem like bedtime stories. The Gospels are coming. Are you ready?

Ready as I’ll ever be!

Pan Macmillan’s publishing director Wayne Brookes—a bit of Barker fan himself, given what he said to The Bookseller—acquired the rights to release the book in Great Britain and across the Commonwealth in a joint deal with St. Martin’s Press in the US:

“Like the thousands of fans, I have been waiting for this book for some time. It sees the return of Barker’s most nightmarish creation […] and already the excitement is at fever pitch. Clive is one of the greatest writers of horror fiction and it’s a real honour to be publishing this brand new novel. We’re all going back to hell.”

Inquiring minds might want to know why we’re going back to hell. Well, while Barker both wrote and directed the first Hellraiser, he’s distanced himself since from the eight other films which followed, calling them “abominations” and “shockingly bad.” And so, as he put it fifteen years ago:

“I want to give Pinhead a good send-off. I want to do it right. If we are going to get rid of the old guy, let’s do it with some style. Because after this there will be no more Pinhead stories. Because this story is the end of Pinhead.

”This story will mark his death.”

The Scarlet Gospels has obviously been a long time coming. Expectations are accordingly high, and excitement has been “at [a] fever pitch” since the story of its imminent release broke last week.

But will the book be worth the wait? Wayne Brookes clearly believes it will. But then, he would, wouldn’t he? Most of the rest of us will have to wait and see—not for much longer, luckily, as Macmillan plan to publish The Scarlet Gospels in the UK in May.


Niall Alexander is an extra-curricular English teacher who reads and writes about all things weird and wonderful for The Speculative Scotsman, Strange Horizons, and Tor.com. He’s been known to tweet, twoo.

3 Comments

Subscribe to this thread

Post a Comment

All comments must meet the community standards outlined in Tor.com's Moderation Policy or be subject to moderation. Thank you for keeping the discussion, and our community, civil and respectful.

Hate the CAPTCHA? Tor.com members can edit comments, skip the preview, and never have to prove they're not robots. Join now!