Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Sacrament” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


3.71 of 5 stars 3.71  ·  rating details  ·  3,205 ratings  ·  107 reviews
Sacrament is a novel unlike any that Clive Barker has written. Neither horror nor fantasy, though partaking of both, this masterful work plunges far deeper and soars even higher.

It is the story of Will Rabjohns, perhaps the most famous wildlife photographer in the world, who has made his reputation chronicling the fates of endangered species, including his own. For even as
Hardcover, 447 pages
Published July 1996 by HarperCollins Publishers
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Sacrament, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Sacrament

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Clive Barker is one of our finest living writers; far more than a mere genre horror writer, he imbues his novels with a tangible sense of soul, as well as candid, often unnerving explorations of our darker impulses, fears, and passions. Forbidden sexuality, the quest for immortality, corruption of the soul and damnation are just a few of the themes that often haunt his work and in SACRAMENT, all of these themes are on display in what is arguably his most personal and lyrical novel to date.

Will R
Barker always amazes me, because I think he's highly underrated. The prose is always so tight, and so effortlessly good (you don't feel him reaching, and therefor never trip over it). But what really impressed me about this book was the pacing: it's a longer one, and I've read books numbering this page count or less that dragged, or rushed over some things and lingered on others. But Barker knows just when to pull you away, to move on to something new to keep your interest at the same peaked lev ...more
Even though it is well written and explores themes like extinction of species, the sadness of killing off bloodlines because of homosexuality and the uselessness of immortality, the plot is convoluted and sometimes Barker suffers from the redundancy that plagues writers like his peer, S. King.

I LOVE that Barker explores dreams within dreams logic: he compares it to Russian dolls. Sometimes the protagonist dreams of the past, relives events, becomes a part of someone else's consciousness while he
Whatever his flaws may be, there is no arguing the fact that Clive Barker is a visually stunning author. The scenes that he evokes in his writing will remain with one for years and linger long after any recollection of the plot has faded. I say this because I read this book on vacation over a decade ago. I remember devouring it, but I do not remember too much about the plot. I do however immediately recall lush scenes in a forest, a terrifying visual of a polar bear, a bedroom in San Francisco, ...more
Mark R.

Clive Barker is not strictly a horror author, and I’m sure it’s been somewhat frustrating to him over his career to have carried this label years after writing his last true piece of horror fiction, Cabal, in 1988 (a case could be made, however, for Cold Heart Canyon [2001:] or Mister B. Gone [2008:], being horror). But his style of fantasy, even his children’s novels such The Thief of Always (1992) and the Abarat series (2002 and 2004), are so dark, and contain so many elements of horror
Clive is one of my favorite authors, and it's been quite a while since I've read him. Throughout half of Sacrament it wasn't the story or characters that drove me on, it was Barker's voice. He's one of those guys whose novels come across as easily as if he were across the table from me telling a story.
Having said that, it's not the best I've read from him. Many critics have called Sacrament "the novel Barker had to write". This because the lead character is gay, and the story revolves around his
Really fantastic read. Barker proves once again how effortlessly he handles urban fantasy. I'm a big fan of his work and writing style and the types of characters he writes, and I felt like this book fully delivered on everything a fan would expect of him. I'm actually shocked now when I think of how little I'd heard about this book. That's one of the reasons I picked it up, because it seems to be the one Barker novel that no one talks about. But it's just as good, if not better, than the ones t ...more
Odd that I haven't read a Clive Barker novel in years. This book reminded me why I used to read him on a regular basis. I believe I need to rekindle my reading affair with him again. If I wasn't eating, sleeping or writing, I was reading this book.

Let's just say I sat there weeping for the last 40 pages. Just the quiet "hey, why is my sight blurry" situation. A major plot reveal was given to the reader long before the end but I didn't pick up on the clues. There were actually a few of them.

I find myself mostly ambivalent regarding this novel. It didn't keep my interest long. It rarely entertained me.

Will Rabjohns is a photographer that specializes in animals and even more specifically the death of endangered animals. While he's out on a shoot Will is mauled by a polar bear and winds up in a coma where we, as his audience, are treated to the chronicle of Will's young teen years. After the death of his brother and the family moving to a new town Will meets Jacob Steep and Rosa McGe
The reader is introduced to Will Rabjohns, a photographer of soon to be extinct species. He has his deal of fame, an Englishman living in San Francisco and a gay.

After we take a look at the average day of the main character, Will falls into a coma. This acts as a way for Barker to shift our attention to Will's childhood. The reader goes over the major events that made Will into who he is now and builds the basis for the rest of the book. At the same time, it's uncertain how the book's present in
The difference between Clive Barker and other most popular fiction/horror writers of his time (for example King or Simmons), is that Barker is a poet in his heart, and as such, he is only able to write about things that mean a lot to him, that are intimate, hurtful, that lay heavy on his shoulders, and go deep through his thoughts. That is why it became apparent over time that Barker's motives were repeating themselves, growing and fading and going in circles, this tendency becoming clearest in ...more
A dark tale that skates around the ideas and principals of extinction, both individual and as an entire species. The storyline finds itself placed both in the gay bars of San Francisco and the rather different atmosphere of the Yorkshire Dales. The novel blends dark fantasy with a sprinkling of the exotic and erotic. The base of the story skirts between the physical world of mankind and the haunting and surreal world of the magical and fantastic. The book opens the doors to many questions for th ...more
Suzanne Synborski
Clive Barker's Sacrament is a puzzle box, a mystery that begs to be solved. This novel stands apart in Barker's arsenal. It exudes a personal, contemplative aura. It cannot truly be considered horror or even fantasy. It might more accurately be regarded as something akin to magical realism. Those less-than-hardy readers who avoid books that contain blood and gore can read this book without fear of getting wet.

Sacrament is a thinking person's novel. It is a novel that examines the past and forete
SlashReaders: Alright so the excerpt doesn't really tell you much about this book. I actually found this one thoroughly fascinating if a bit confusing at points but once you get into it curiosity definitely drives you on to figure out exactly what is going on. And the story between the main character and his past lover is extremely touching. There are a couple of wonderful scenes in this book that are just... and no I'm not talking about sex scenes. Mmm... And I'm not going to ruin any more of t ...more
This is another supernatural novel by Clive Barker. The novel is about a homosexual (Yes. That is an important part of the novel.) photographer who had an encounter with two very odd people in his youth. After being mauled by a Polar Bear, the author's youthful encounter becomes important to him.

The plot was interesting, but not fantastic or amazing by any means. It was a standard read, but I would really hope for more from this author. I also felt his necessity to be descriptive of some of the
Zach Hay
Sacrament is a very good book. It was not a dissapointment at all, however, I did not like this as other Barker novels but still it was a good story. Its about a gay photographer who has been knocked into a coma by a bear and starts having dreams of his childhood. He recallects parts of his childhood when he meets a man named jocob that changed his life forever. After he awakes, he feels the need to find this man. This book is a story about coming to grips with your past and how it made you who ...more
At first I didn't get into it very much, but by the end I was staying up all hours of the night to see what would come next. I tend to enjoy epic fantasy more than "low" fantasy, but the way Barker mixed the real human struggles of his characters with a fantastic reality just under the surface of it all gripped me as I never expected. This book also has its deep moments, where it gets you thinking about life and the meaning of it all. For me it was truly breathtaking, an excellent read!
Kristian Thoroughgood
Brief Review: An excellent, imaginative book that ticks a lot of boxes. Like all Barker's books, this one is artistically written, with strong themes. Falls short of being his best work, as it seems more restrained than usual, more grounded, and Clive Barker is best when the leash is well and truly off.

Will Rabjohns is a nature photographer who documents the last specimens of creatures that are heading towards extinction. He is also a gay man, dealing with the deaths of many of his gay friends f
Jul 21, 2008 Maureen rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: novel
Of the Barker books I have read, this one made the least impression on me. Part of that had to do with reader expectations: after some of this other books, I was not expecting this one to be quite so down to earth. Part of it had to do with the fact that I just couldn't make a connection with the book. That happens sometimes.
What's creepy is that I was lying in bed trying to remember something other than the sense that I'd read this book -- all I could remember was a female and maybe animals -- and then the next day I was organizing old photos and found a picture I'd taken of my room in middle school, and this book lying on the bed. SCORE.
M. Joseph Murphy
This book sees an evolution of a writer. Barker grows in leaps and bounds from previous work. He is not just a horror writer or a fantasy writer. He can write anything he wants.

Also we learn more about Barker here than in his Biography.
Matteo Pellegrini

Will Rabjohns è un famosissimo fotografo che ha raggiunto la celebrità ritraendo animali in punto di morte e disastri naturali. Gay dichiarato, conduce un'esistenza solitaria in un elegante appartamento di San Francisco, quando non è in giro per il mondo a caccia di foto. Durante una spedizione nella Baia di Hudson, Will e i suoi collaboratori vengono attaccati da un gigantesco orso bianco: il fotografo entra in coma per le gravi ferite, e durante il periodo di incoscienza rivive uno strano e sa

Pretty middle of the road read. Some good writing lavished on bland characters who feel like pale shades of characters from his better books.
William Johnson
Barker is a man of not only many talents but many genres. Sacrament is perhaps is most genre-bending as it mixes horror, fantasy, straight-drama, modern romance, and philosophy into the mix.

And while the book is rather slow, due to its very Barker-like approach to storytelling (loooong introductions, wide ranging narrative that adheres to its own chronology, complex mythology that is only explained later, if at all), it is one of his best written books.

It certainly isn't a classic but I gather
I hadn't read Clive Barker in a while, although I read a lot of his stuff (Books of Blood, The Damnation Game, Weaveworld, The Great and Secret Show) when he was at the top of the horror boom in the 1980s. This book reminded me of why I liked him before. The story is larger than life, and the metaphysical parts are profoundly silly and should not work but still do. The climactic scenes at the Domus Mundi are worth the price of admission.

Basically it is the story of a man who as a boy in Yorkshir
Matthew Holman
Clive Barker is a terrific author. I loved The Hellbound Heart, and the Books of Blood series. However, Sacrament, falls short. Barker is a very original author, and Sacrament is no exception, but at the same time this novel doesn't seem to go anywhere. I read the synopsis for this book, and it immediately roped me in. It seemed very interesting and different from his previous works. The book starts off promising but then it completely goes downhill. At times I was confused as to what was going ...more
Kevin Groosalugg
This Barker book was much more grounded in reality than many of the others I've read. It's the story of a man who was touched by something in his youth that shapes his future, and his eventual confrontation with that entity later in life. Every time I read Clive Barker I'm reminded of what an incredible writer he is, he conveys complex emotions with ease. If he had chosen to write more for the masses I have no doubt he'd be a bestseller, but I for one am glad he didn't. Much like John Irving wen ...more
This book generally isn't a Barker fan favorite -- I remember discussing it online shortly after I read it years ago & being surprised at some of the disappointment expressed -- but, along with Galilee made a lasting impression on me -- I loved loved loved the premise & also the way Barker mingles nitty-gritty contemporary realism with a kind of fantasy that may include but also goes beyond horror...I could not put this book down & remained fascinated throughout. I also knew that the ...more
Sacrament started with such promise, but by the mid-point my interest waned as the plot seemed to meander to a very unsatisfactory conclusion. The writing was excellent, just let down by the odd plot, to wit: Will is a photographer who gets mauled by a polar bear. While comatose he relives a childhood memory in Yorkshire where he met the mysterious Steep and Rosa. When he wakes up he goes home to San Francisco where he has some sex, meets up with his ex who's dying of AIDS, and has conversations ...more
μαΓδα ντ.
αυτο το βιβλίο εχει μια ενδιαφέρουσα υπόθεση , ειναι ενα βιβλίος φαντασίας που σε μεταφέρει σε άλλους κόσμους μεσα απο τη περιγραφή, ωστόσο μου φάνηκε πολυ βαρετό εως και λίγο πριν το τέλος. Ως φάν δηλαδη του ειδους φαντασίας του δινω 3 αστέρια αλλα για κανένα άλλο λόγο, κάποιος που δεν του αρέσει η φαντασία θα βαρεθεί απίστευτα με το πόσο αργή ειναι η εξελιξή και πόσο αργά καταλαβαίνουμε στο περίπου τι γίνεται.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Contemporary Brit...: Sacrament 3 18 Aug 12, 2013 02:18AM  
What's The Name o...: One word title "S..." man & woman combine into one [s] 3 53 Apr 21, 2013 12:53PM  
  • Clive Barker's The Great And Secret Show, Volume 2
  • Clive Barker: The Dark Fantastic: The Authorized Biography
  • Clive Barker's A - Z of Horror
  • The Hellfire Club
  • The Influence
  • Clive Barker : Illustrator
  • The Yattering and Jack
  • Skin
  • Hellraiser: Collected Best II
  • Clive Barker's The Thief of Always
  • Cagebird (Warchild #3)
  • A Strong and Sudden Thaw (A Strong and Sudden Thaw, #1)
  • Clive Barker's Night Breed: Genesis
  • Clive Barker's Hellraiser: Collected Best, Vol. 1
  • Sepulchre
  • Silk (Silk, #1)
  • Wormwood: A Collection of Short Stories
  • Somatesthesia
Clive Barker was born in Liverpool, England, the son of Joan Rubie (née Revill), a painter and school welfare officer, and Leonard Barker, a personnel director for an industrial relations firm. Educated at Dovedale Primary School and Quarry Bank High School, he studied English and Philosophy at Liverpool University and his picture now hangs in the entrance hallway to the Philosophy Department. It ...more
More about Clive Barker...
The Great and Secret Show (Book of the Art #1) The Hellbound Heart Books of Blood, Volumes One to Three The Thief of Always Abarat (Abarat, #1)

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »

“I am a man, and men are animals who tell stories. This is a gift from God, who spoke our species into being, but left the end of our story untold. That mystery is troubling to us. How could it be otherwise? Without the final part, we think, how are we to make sense of all that went before: which is to say, our lives?

So we make stories of our own, in fevered and envious imitation of our Maker, hoping that we'll tell, by chance, what God left untold. And finishing our tale, come to understand why we were born.”
“There was little comfort, this voice inside him said, in discovering a mystery at the wellspring of his life so banal his unremarkable mind could readily fathom it. Better, perhaps, to die in doubt, knowing there was some revelation still unfound, than to pursue and possess such a wretched certainty.” 4 likes
More quotes…