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The Thief Of Always Paperback – Nov 4 2008


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; Reprint edition (Nov. 4 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061684260
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061684265
  • Product Dimensions: 20.4 x 13.3 x 1.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 240 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (108 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #280,904 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents


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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Format: Paperback
I first read Clive Barker's enchanting story, "The Thief of Always," in sixth grade. I loved it so much that it never left my mind, and I found myself often thinking about it in highschool, though I unfortunately couldn't remember the title. I was recently lucky to come across the exact same paperback edition at a bookstore brand new, and bought it with joyous whoops of exultation. The story has got it all: fantasy, horror, memorable characters, and deeper meanings.
The novel is about a young boy named Harvey Swick, bored and entrapped in the torpor of a dreary February. He gets a visit from an unlikely character named Rictus who proposes he take a much needed vacation at The Holiday House, a place where children can have all the fun they want. Harvey agrees and leaves behind his world into the magical fantasy world of The Holiday House, which seemingly appears to have all that a child could ask for: presents, delicious foods, ever-changing seasons--Halloween and Christmas every night! But behind this pretty facade lurks a sinister plot that tests the fortitude of Harvey and his friends, challenging him to fight back for his very soul.
I highly recommend this story. Albeit it could be classified as a children's story, it is apt for all ages. Another treat about this book (at least the first edition, anyway) are the wonderful illustrations drawn by Clive Barker himself, which really evince the remarkable genius that he possesses. I urge parents to go buy this book and read it with their children, or read it for themselves! It is truly a great story.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Prior to this novel, I had only read Mr. Barker's short stories in the combined volume of his Books of Blood. Many of those stories were pure genius, with riveting plot twists and original premises, but I must admit that I wasn't sure how that would translate into a novel suitable for all ages...
It turns out that I had nothing to worry about. The Thief of Always is a classic fable with enough originality to make it fresh. I was hooked as soon as I read the first paragraph.
Mr. Barker shows an insight into the mind of a child that I don't think I expected from a man who made his mark with tales of gruesome horror. Then again, I probably should have known better given the amazing insight into the human psyche that was apparent in many of his short stories. (Take, for instance, his commentary on mob mentality in "In the Hills, the Cities.")
Like many children in such tales, Harvey's downfall is his boredom and his desire for something different, something fun. He finds himself drawn into a world of wonders that quickly becomes a world of horrors. Barker's supporting cast, the good and the evil, are flawlessly executed with just enough surreal charm to make you fear what might really be going on in Holiday House.
The evil in the story is horrifying (without going too far for a younger reader) and Barker's message is clear. Harvey learns that nothing comes without a price and that time is precious. He learns to appreciate each moment he has with his family and friends, no matter how dull those moments may sometimes seem. In the process of making these discoveries, he also proves himself to be a hero as he overcomes his own weakness to defeat Mr. Hood.
I highly recommend this book for young and old alike ... I've recommended it to my husband, since he's been looking for a light read and this one is well worth the time.
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Format: School & Library Binding
I started reading this book when i was 13. There was a copy of it in my library at school funny enough. Anyways i had to return it before i finished it much to my dismay. About six years later i came across it again in Chapters,picked it up and I have read this book about six times. And i could read it more. I don't know why its just every time I pick this book up and start to read, i am totally captivated. I think it is Clive Barkers best book. The Great and Secret Show, however imaginative, i still felt was unneccesarily falic. Barker develops your imagination in this book, but in a very nice innocence. Thats why,disagree with me if you want but this is my absolute favourite book.
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By A Customer on Oct. 12 2003
Format: Paperback
Don't make the mistake in thinking this is ANOTHER cliché haunted house story, which is what I thought it would be when I first picked it up. It really isn't.
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Format: Paperback
Someone who is only familiar with Clive Barker's more graphic adult horror novels and stories may be surprised by the lighter tone of this book. That's because it's intended more for younger readers, with the emphasis on adventure and frights. It's a very basic story of good versus evil, with a definite moral. That doesn't mean that adults can't enjoy it, however. I loved it, as it reminded me stylistically of the works of Ray Bradbury. You won't get any grand character development, but Barker does a great job of mixing senses of wonder and terror, as well as keeping the reader in a constant state of suspense. Almost every chapter ends with some type of hook that will keep drawing you deeper. The author's illustrations perfectly capture the mood of the story, as well. It's quick reading and won't take up too much of your time, so give it a try!
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Format: Paperback
I encountered this book in the 6th grade as part of a class reading project and fell in love with it. 'Thief' is an incredible tale laced with Barker's one-of-a-kind imagery and craft. This book is both memorable and instantly re-readable. Fans of Barker's other masterpieces ('The Great and Secret Show,' 'Everville,' etc) will not be disappointed by the attention he lavishes on his characters, who are all completely fleshed out and believable. The evil menace of the story, Mr. Hood, is described in chilling detail, but the story never wavers from its intended audience: children. Though not what you might expect in a children's book (mild profanity, isolated scenes resembling a horror movie), the story is at once powerful and memorable, and the evil force at work here, Mr. Hood, ranks with some of the greatest villians in literary history. The book has a "movie" feel in that the plot moves swiftly to its conclusion--almost leaving you trying to catch your breath. In short, a tour de force! Lovers of Carroll's "Alice in Wonderland" and Norton Juster's "The Phantom Tollbooth" will find much to appreciate here.
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