The Scarlet Gospels

The Scarlet Gospels

"The Scarlet Gospels" is a novel by horror/fantasy writer Clive Barker, yet to be released (according to a april 2008 interview it may not be finished for another few years [] ). Originally it was intended to be the title of a selection of short stories, including a novella-sized story that would have been a sequel to his groundbreaking horror story, first told in a novella called "The Hellbound Heart", and then in a highly successful feature film called "Hellraiser". As Barker got further and further into writing the story, he decided that the material deserved more, and gradually, the other non-related short stories were put aside in favour of the main story becoming a single self-contained novel of its own.

Plot summary

The story centers on two characters Barker has used in his previous work. The first is the private investigator Harry D'Amour, a character seen in several previous stories. The second, Harry's adversary in "The Scarlet Gospels", is known only as Pinhead, leader of the Cenobites, a pseudo-priestly order in Hell devoted to exploring pain and pleasure - at least, pleasure as they themselves define it. The first meeting between these two characters actually 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 prime cause in Harry's disturbed demeanor later.

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 Barker's stories before) 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 Cenobites and Pinhead's place in it.

Known facts about "The Scarlet Gospels"

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 Cenobites 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 mytho-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).


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