The Scarlet Gospels

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The Scarlet Gospels is an unpublished novel by horror/fantasy writer Clive Barker (according to an April 2008 interview it may not be finished for another few years[1]). Clive Barker announced via Twitter on June 18, 2010 that "the 243,000 words of 'The Scarlet Gospels' merely lacks a publisher". It was planned to be an anthology, to include a sequel novella to The Hellbound Heart (which was adapted as the successful feature film, Hellraiser). As the story developed, Barker decided to expand the concept into a novel, and the unrelated short stories were put aside.

Barker announced via social media on Sept 9, 2013, that although no date has been set for release, "The Scarlet Gospels are finished."[2]

The following official statement appeared on Revelations, Clive Barker's official website: “Clive is delighted to announce that St Martin's Press has acquired world English rights to publish The Scarlet Gospels, his upcoming novel featuring Pinhead and Harry D'Amour. St Martin's anticipates a winter 2015 publication date.”[3]

Plot summary[edit]

The story centers on two characters Barker has used in previous works: private investigator Harry D'Amour, a character seen in several previous stories such as the novel Everville and the short story "The Last Illusion" (later adapted into the film Lord of Illusions); and a being known only as "Pinhead", an extra-dimensional entity residing in a world bordering our own. Pinhead and Harry are depicted as adversaries. Their first meeting occurs in the past, when Harry is twelve or thirteen years old and in Catholic school, and this encounter with Pinhead is said to be a primary cause of Harry's later disturbed psyche.

In the present day, a friend of Harry's is taken hostage by Pinhead, and Harry, accompanied by four mismatched companions (including the blind medium Norma Paine, who has appeared in earlier Barker stories) and an animal, must track his friend down into the lowest levels of Hell. Roughly two thirds of the story will take place in Hell itself, and much is expected to be learned about the nature of Hell, its creator, its inhabitants, about the Order of the Gash and Pinhead's place within it.

Known facts about The Scarlet Gospels[edit]

Though the full course of the story is not known, Barker himself has been forthcoming with small facts about the story in various telephone and print interviews.

  • The Lament Configuration puzzle box and others like it, which in The Hellbound Heart and the Hellraiser films are used to summon the Cenobites, will be present in The Scarlet Gospels and will be explored in slightly more detail than in The Hellbound Heart, but not in any great detail. The same goes for their creator, Philip Lemarchand. In Barker's words, "This book is not about Lemarchand. It's about what happens when Hell puts down its machinery, meaning the little boxes, and takes up its older ways."
  • The origins of the Cenobites will be explored. As Barker said in a July 2007 interview for SFX magazine, "I not only lay out how the Cenobites began, I also lay out how it will all finish. So after this book there is nothing more for me to do as far as this mythology is concerned."
  • The Pinhead character and his true role in the Order of the Gash will be explored.
  • Pinhead will be given a genuine Cenobitic name in the story. This is significant since the character was never officially named in any story, nor were any other Cenobite characters. Pinhead was identified only as the "Lead Cenobite" in the first film, and in subsequent films the name "Pinhead" has been used as a placeholder.
  • Barker will not be following the continuity established in the Hellraiser sequel films.
  • One location in the book will be a Viking cemetery, located in the islands off the western coast of Scotland.
  • Barker has said that The Scarlet Gospels will include numerous historical characters from the New Testament and early Christian lore. One of these will be Jesus of Nazareth, whose crucifixion on Golgotha will be seen in the book. Another is Joseph of Arimathea, who is said to have brought the Holy Grail to a tin mine in Cornwall, though Barker has not said in what way Joseph will be featured in the story.
  • The book will make reference to something called the "Lazarus Requiem", though Barker does not say what role it will have in the story (this is actually Barker's name for his own notes, and would have been his name for the story itself had he not decided it sounded too much like a science fiction title).

References[edit]

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