You are offered to partake in the best gamble of your life. Would you resist the temptation and stay away or will you risk it all and take part?
It’s 1945 in a war torn Warsaw and we meet Joseph Whitehead, a professional gambler . One of the best in the game. So much so that he can hardly even find a game that would give him a challenge. He hears about a mysterious card player that no one has heard of. Determined to find him he searches trough the horrific city in order to beat him. After a while he succeeds and begins playing.
Fast forward to modern day Britain. We meet Marty Strauss, an imprisoned thief who is granted conditional parole and becomes the personal bodyguard of billionaire Joseph Whitehead. However he soon realizes that his job is going to be much more complex than it seemed. While working he witnesses a ton of odd events like a man who glows with an inhumane energy who gets ravaged by the dogs. We are also introduced to the mysterious Mamoulian who seems like a demon like figure and is the antagonist of our story who wants revenge.
This was the second book of Clive Barker’s that I read, the first one being “The hellbound heart”. With how much I enjoyed the first one I was not expecting too much from the second one but I am glad I was wrong. The first part of the book hooked me in more than any other book has hooked me since I don’t know when. I was unnerved and out of breath the entire time. The second and third part of the book however were not as good as the first part so I was a bit disappointed but it was still a very good read.
It’s a very gory and terrifying story and I absolutely loved it. Barker is a fantastic writer and I quickly became addicted to his work. He creates interesting worlds that you can explore and terrify you to the core.
One of the more interesting quotes that stayed with me was:
“The Devil is by no means the worst that there is; I would rather have dealings with him than with many a human being. He honours his agreements much more promptly than many a swindler on Earth. To be true, when payment is due he comes on the dot; just as twelve strikes, fetches his soul and goes off home to Hell like a good Devil. He’s just a businessman as is right and proper.”
It starts off amazingly and continues a bit slower but I still highly recommend it.
Final verdict: 8/10