cover image Damnation Game

Damnation Game

Clive Barker. Putnam Publishing Group, $18.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-399-13278-0

Barker has generated acclaim and controversy with his dozens of shorter works published in the six ""Books of Blood.'' His rather long first novel is often engrossing, often disturbing and depressing. Horror mavens who enjoy violence and harrowing imagery will find plenty of both here. But there is more to The Damnation Game than gore. This story of a supernaturally powerful man who can resurrect the dead probes the many varieties of corruption: of the flesh, of ideals, of civilization. The world Barker depicts is controlled by immensely powerful men motivated solely by self-interest. His charactersJoseph Whitehead, captain of industry; his defeated, addicted daugther, Carys; his increasingly frightened bodyguard Marty Strauss; the demonic, perhaps immortal Mamoulian; and Mamoulian's puppet, the disgusting ``Razor-Eater'' Breerare original and memorable. The story, loosely based on Shakespeare's Tempest, is goodnot exactly a pleasurable read in the usual sense of the word, but always interesting. (June 5)