Imagine if you will, a house where every morning was Christmas and every night was Halloween. A house where anything you ever dreamed of wanting was in your hands before you even imagined it. A special place where fantasies are reality, reality is fantasy, and horror is just a lake away. Welcome, children, to Holiday House.
From the mind of horror master Clive Barker comes the beautiful and haunting childrenís fable, THE THIEF OF ALWAYS. Originally published in 1992 with a film adaptation most likely to come in the near future, Barkerís classic twist on the magical holiday childrenís tale is both touching and terrifying.
Harvey Swick is a boy who has grown bored with the mundane routines of his life. While wandering and pondering his fate, he loses himself in a strange neighborhood and is meant by a kindly, goblin-like fellow calling himself Rictus. Rictus invites Harvey to a magical place, a place meant for children: The Holiday House. Once there, he meets two other children and befriends them. All three fall under the care of the kindly Ms. Griffin and their mysterious benefactor, Mr. Hood, who is mentioned as the owner and creator of the magical house but who is never seen. For a time, the three children are immensely happy in the house. Each morning when they awake, a beautiful Christmas tree loaded with presents awaits them; every night, Jack-o-Lanterns and an overabundance of candy greet them after a hard day of playing. Everything seems great for the children until Lulu begins acting strangely and becomes entranced by the dark and sinister lake full of strange, mutant-like fish. As the tale unfolds, so do the underlying secrets and horrors of Holiday House; soon, young Harvey is battling for his very soul.
THE THIEF OF ALWAYS favors a character-driven and situation-based story while leaving out Barkerís trademark love of gore. Although a spooky yarn, the story is truly child-friendly and promotes the typical qualities of young literary heroes that parents and children alike have come to adore; resourcefulness, friendship, strength, and courage. Before the readerís eyes, Harvey grows from a self-centered, disillusioned child to a selfless and powerful boy who inevitably encounters and confronts the horrific Mr. Hood and challenges him to his own game of illusions. A great book for the holidays, this is one the whole family is sure to enjoy, even if you have to keep the nightlights on afterward.