The Scarlet Gospels

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The Scarlet Gospels
The Scarlet Gospels cover.jpg
First edition (US)
Author Clive Barker
Cover artist Clive Barker
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Genre Horror
Publisher St. Martin's Press
Publication date
May 19, 2015
Media type Print (hardcover)
Pages 368

The Scarlet Gospels is a novel by horror/fantasy writer Clive Barker, which acts as a sequel to/reboot of his previous novella The Hellbound Heart and a sequel to his canon of Harry D'Amour stories. The book concerns D'Amour's trip into Hell to rescue his friend from Pinhead, a character from Barker's previous works, here reimagined as a demonic entity called The Hell Priest.

The novel had a long gestation period, with Barker talking as early as 1998 about wanting to write a story in which he killed the Pinhead character. Updates to the novel's progress appeared on Barker's website sporadically over the course of the next twelve years, mostly related to the book's progressively swelling length; at one point, Barker predicted that his completed manuscript would reach 1,000-2,000 pages.[1] Updates culminated in a June 18, 2010 Twitter announcement that "the 243,000 words of 'The Scarlet Gospels' merely lacks a publisher". Due to the length of the completed work, the book underwent heavy editing between 2010 and 2013, with Barker announcing on Sept 9, 2013, that although no date had been set for release, "The Scarlet Gospels are finished."[2] In 2014, Barker announced the book's publication on his official website with the message: “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 Press released the book on May 19, 2015.[3]

Plot Summary[edit]

The world's last remaining magicians gather to resurrect Ragowski, a recently deceased member of their order who was killed by a demonic entity known as the Hell Priest. Ragowski informs them that the Priest is determined to obtain every source of magic known to man, and that their only hope of avoiding his fate is to give the Priest the location of all of their grimories and talismans. The Hell Priest arrives, having been alerted by the spell that caused Ragowski's resurrection, and kills all of the magicians save for one, Felixson, whom he enslaves to use as a human servant.

In New Orleans, paranormal detective Harry D'Amour travels to the home of a recently deceased magician who hired him via medium Norma Paine in order to destroy evidence of his occult activities before his family can discover them. Harry learns that the assignment was a trap set by the Hell Priest to kill him, in order to eliminate Harry as a potential obstacle to completing some mission. Harry is rescued by Dale, an elderly Southern man who experiences moments of precognition. Dale sends Harry back to New York to attend to Norma, who tells Harry that a monumental event is about to occur in the spirit world.

Harry enlists the help of his friend Caz to move Norma to a safehouse operated by their mutual acquaintance, Lana. Joined by Dale, they attempt to transport Norma, only to witness the opening of a portal to Hell in Manhattan. The Priest emerges and absconds with Norma, telling Harry that a momentous event in the history of Hell is about to occur and that, after Harry's survival of the assassination attempt, he has decided that Harry will be the perfect individual to write the Priest's personal account of the events.

Harry and company—dubbed The Harrowers—discover that, shortly after his arrival in Hell, Satan disappeared, leaving Hell to develop into a thriving civilization resembling a cross between Medieval Europe and Ancient Rome. The Harrowers learn that the Priest has been using his accrued knowledge of human magic to kill Hell's various ruling classes, in order to eliminate any obstacles to his taking a journey into a forbidden region of Hell called The Wastelands. The Harrowers follow the Priest into the Wastelands, where they discover a tribe of inbred demons waiting to take them across a cursed lake to a tiny island in the center. The Priest has already secured passage for himself and Norma across the lake, in order to complete the final stage of his journey: A pilgrimage to the rumored cathedral of Lucifer, where the Priest hopes to experience a spiritual revelation by holding audience with the Devil.

The Harrowers and the Priest discover that the Cathedral does exist, but that it is in fact a tomb: Harry and Pinhead enter the basement to find that Lucifer committed suicide at some indeterminate time in the past, unable to live away from the presence of God. Enraged, the Hell Priest strips Lucifer's body of its armor, dons it himself, and declares himself the new Lord of Hell. Armies led by the surviving generals of Hell raid the Cathedral and stage an attack on the Priest, but, powered by Lucifer's armor, he easily defeats most of them.

Lucifer resurrects, having been brought back to life by the Priest's removal of his armor. Enraged that he must once more endure existence outside the presence of God, Lucifer engages the Priest in battle. Although the Priest apparently destroys Lucifer, the devil's body reconstitutes itself and he disembowels the Hell Priest. Lucifer announces his intention to destroy Hell as the Harrowers and Norma, along with the surviving demons, flee the Cathedral.

The desiccated remnants of the Hell Priest confront Harry, Lana, and Norma on the shores of the lake, where the Priest blinds Harry and rapes Norma to death before fleeing. The Harrowers escape Hell after discovering a wormhole that leads them to a desert road in Arizona. In Hell, Lucifer destroys Hell's stone sky, crushing all of Hell and most of the demons in it. Lucifer himself survives and makes his way to Earth, where he travels to New York and resolves to make a name for himself. Meanwhile, angels begin slipping down from Heaven to observe the ruins of hell. Later, an unseen force eliminates Hell from existence, destroying the Hell Priest with it.

In New York, Harry—permanently blind and sinking into alcoholism—is contacted by Norma's ghost, who tells him that she's gone on to Paradise and that she wants him to take her place as a medium who comforts the recently deceased. Taking up residence in her old office, a reluctant Harry is overwhelmed by the sudden appearance of a throng of ghosts wanting his assistance, before seeing the ghost of a small child clinging to an older woman. Feeling compassion, Harry comforts the child and tells the pair that they can trust him to help.


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