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Pact of the Fathers Hardcover – December 13, 2001


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Life or Death
"Life or Death is a nerve-shredding thriller with the heart and soul so often missing from lesser crime and suspense novels. I couldn't stop reading, yet I didn't want Audie's story to end. [Michael] Robotham is an absolute master." — Stephen King

Editorial Reviews

Review

"A powerful, original writer." -The Washington Post Book World

"A father's betrayal of his child and a heritage of horror on a potentially biblical scale propel the plot of this absorbing new thriller. Campbell's true achievement is the depiction of Daniella's hitherto secure world dissolving into a paranoid nightmare where the people whom she depends on most prove the ones she can least trust. The novel's sinister imagery and sleekly paced frights put a dark gloss on what is ultimately a haunting reflection on the differences that painfully divide parents from children and the intransigence of the older and younger generations." -Publishers Weekly

About the Author

Ramsey Campbell has won more awards than any other living author of horror or dark fantasy, including four World Fantasy Awards, nine British Fantasy Awards, three Bram Stoker Awards, and two International Horror Guild Awards. Critically acclaimed both in the US and in England, Campbell is widely regarded as one of the genre's literary lights for both his short fiction and his novels. His classic novels, such as The Face that Must Die, The Doll Who Ate His Mother, and The Influence, set new standards for horror as literature. His collection, Scared Stiff, virtually established the subgenre of erotic horror.

Ramsey Campbell's works have been published in French, German, Italian, Spanish, Japanese, and several other languages. He has been President of the British Fantasy Society and has edited critically acclaimed anthologies, including Fine Frights. Campbell's best known works in the US are Obsession, Incarnate, Midnight Sun, and Nazareth Hill.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Forge Books; 1st edition (December 13, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312878699
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312878696
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.9 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 2.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,246,273 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Customer Reviews

The writing itself was so bad it was unpleasant to read.
word addicted
There were few surprises, much of the plot was painfully obvious, and there were far too many descriptions of insignificant things.
David Group
Luckily, I got it from the library so I didn't spend any money on it.
christopher hawes

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 3, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I'm sure glad I got this book from the library instead of spending money on it. Too bad I wasted time reading it.
The premise of the story has a great deal of promise, but the heroine is rude, snotty, apparently not too bright and doesn't learn very fast. If she's becoming paranoid, why is it that she trusts just about everyone she meets?
The characterization is so poorly done that I felt no loathng for the bad guys and didn't really care that the good guys won.
There's no suspense in any of the book and the story lacks gradual buildup to the final climax.
I have read that Campbell is a master at his craft, but I wouldn't read anything else of his based on this work.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By David Group on February 5, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This novel never really shifted into second gear. There were few surprises, much of the plot was painfully obvious, and there were far too many descriptions of insignificant things. There was not much sense of menace or suspense in this so-called horror novel, and the climax felt rushed and tacked on. A major disappointment from this usually stellar author.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 3, 2002
Format: Hardcover
PACT OF THE FATHERS is a fine exercise in creeping paranoia and a welcome new novel by one of the greatest horror writers of the last 30 years. However, this book might disappoint those readers enamored of Ramsey Campbell's past works. Like Campbell's suspense novels of recent years, PACT doesn't deal in supernatural horrors. You will not find in this book any of the inexplicable terror or the dreadful sense of impending revelation, of terrible things stirring restlessly below the surface or at the edges of perception, that distinguishes many of his unforgettable horror tales (eg, THE INFLUENCE and INCARNATE). Although an undercurrent of pervasive unease runs through much of PACT OF THE FATHERS, Campbell seems more interested here in engaging the reader with sprightly, cinematic storytelling. And for the most part he succeeds.
Yet, entertaining as it is, PACT OF THE FATHERS is far below the quality of Campbell's best work. Campbell's usually stellar prose occasionally feels unfocused here, giving rise to moments of unintended awkwardness. And whereas his stories tend to unfold in a natural, unpredictable fashion, the progression of this story relies too much on contrived situations and coincidences. These, though, are minor complaints, which don't detract too much from one's enjoyment of the book. A more substantial problem, for me, was the novel's conclusion. After hundreds of pages spent carefully building a rich atmosphere of quiet tension and paranoia, the mood is shattered by an unconvincing, melodramatic climax, complete with pat resolution; the kind of too-neat wrap-up we expect from a Hollywood thriller, but not from Ramsey Campbell.
Even with its flaws, PACT OF THE FATHERS is an entertaining, well-written novel. Of course, Campbell's fans don't need a review to make them seek out his latest effort; however, readers new to Campbell might get a better sense of his work from some of his earlier books. 3 ½ stars.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 30, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This is a splendid Campbell thriller in a non-supernatural vein (not to say that it doesn't concern occult matters)...but readers should avoid reading the jacket copy. The notes on the inner flap spoil every secret Ramsey Campbell worked so carefully to conceal and reveal in his own good time. Knowing what the flap copy tells you, the book isn't half as fun as the one the author intended. It's not until around page 300 that one finally gets into territory which the jacket copy hasn't already spoiled. Absolutely criminal, and a huge disservice both to Campbell and to his readers.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Matthew C Saunders on July 30, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I'd like my five hours back. Stilted dialogue, poor characterization and the abovementioned total lack of any surprise thanks to the jacket notes make this the least entertaining novel I've read this year. I wanted to cringe every time Mr. Campbell mentions the main character looking into a mirror. I wanted to vomit when she gets "physical" with the love interest. I was amazed at the number of people in this book's universe who wear t-shirts, and shocked that the author might think that we care about such a thing. Or the minute details of a character's bathing habits. Or the way every thing seems to stab the eyes like a knife. Tired imagery, yes, and cliched and undeveloped supporting characters throughout. Must the author describe the orientation of every female character's breasts?
A novel is about character development in a protagonist. This lacks even that -- Daniella throughout the book is by turns bereaved, confused, apologetic and self-righteous, but never seems to grow out of these things. She remains a caricature of a whiny extra from the set of "Trainspotting" or "Sliding Doors" who is caught up in a conspiracy that she can't hope to expose because she clearly is incapable of understanding it. As is the reader at the end of the novel.
The one plot twist (which would have made O. Henry or Hitchcock cringe) is so blantant by the midpoint of the book that the reader is left waiting for the other shoe to drop. I would expect this sort of unvarnished story-telling in a cartoon spinoff for an action figure, or from a TV movie on a third-rate cable channel. Far from being a great novel, or even a good novel, this is not even a moderately well-crafted novel. Perhaps the most frightening aspect of it comes in the "Acknowledgements," in which Mr. Campbell states that "the greatest strengths of [this book] are the work of my editor," who has clearly been paid far too much.
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