Cabal (novella)

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First edition (US)
AuthorClive Barker
Cover artistClive Barker
CountryUnited Kingdom
PublisherPoseidon Press (US)
Collins (UK)
Publication date
Media typePrint (hardcover)

Cabal is a 1988 horror novel by the British author Clive Barker. It was originally published in the United States as part of a collection comprising a novel and several short stories from Barker's sixth and final volume of the Books of Blood.

The book was adapted into the film Nightbreed in 1990, written and directed by Barker himself, starring Craig Sheffer and David Cronenberg.


Boone, a young man suffering from an unspecified mental disorder, is told by his psychiatrist, Decker, that he is responsible for brutal serial murders in Calgary. Boone, however, has no recollection of committing these murders. After a suicide attempt, Boone begins searching for Midian, a semi-mythical city appearing in his dreams that offers sanctuary to monsters known as the Night Breed. Boone eventually finds Midian, only to discover that the city lies beneath a cemetery. Two of the Night Breed appear and attack him. One of them bites Boone, but he is able to escape. Decker appears and reveals to Boone that he committed the serial murders and framed Boone as a scapegoat. Soon after, Boone is shot dead by Decker and local policemen who had been pursuing him. Boone's body is placed in a morgue, but mysteriously disappears.

Boone's lover, Lori, travels to Midian. Along the way, she makes friends with Sheryl, who decides to accompany her. When they arrive at the cemetery, Lori encounters two of the Night Breed: a small child named Babette and her mother Rachel. Lori is refused entrance to the city, and she and Sheryl return to a nearby hotel. Sheryl takes Lori to a restaurant and reveals Decker to be her new boyfriend. Decker kills Sheryl, but Lori narrowly escapes and returns to Midian. She is saved by Boone, who appears above ground and reveals himself. Midian’s creator, Baphomet, commands the couple to leave Midian and return to the hotel. They soon discover that Decker has been at the hotel and has killed many inside. The police arrive and Lori is able to flee. Boone degenerates into an animal state and is quickly arrested. Decker convinces the police to go to Midian and capture or kill everyone living there.

Lori meets up with the Narcisse, a former human who, like Boone, traveled to Midian and became part of the Night Breed. After they help Boone escape from jail, they find the police have overrun Midian and that many of the Night Breed have been killed, forcing them out from the underground by setting the city aflame. Boone has his final confrontation with Decker and kills him. The police are either been killed or chased off by the Night Breed, but Midian is completely destroyed. The surviving Night Breed bind up the parts of Baphomet and leave in search of a new home.


In 2013, small press publisher Fiddleblack released an "annotated, limited edition" of the novella, titled Cabal & Other Annotations. The hand-numbered books were limited to a run of 300 and contained a collection of essays from Barker-centric contributors such as Peter H. Gilmore and Nicholas Vince, as well as artwork by Barker himself and a sizable appendix of scholarly footnotes by horror philosopher Eugene Thacker.[1]


  1. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 6 September 2014. Retrieved 5 September 2014.