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

Tortured Souls: The Legend of Primordium

3.55  ·  Rating Details ·  599 Ratings  ·  74 Reviews
Dust jacket and interior illustrations by Bob Eggleton

Tortured Souls is one of the most vividly imagined, tightly compressed novellas ever written by the incomparable Clive Barker. At once violent and erotic, brutal and strangely beautiful, it takes us into the heart of the legendary “first city” known as Primordium, the site of political upheaval, passionate encounters, a
Published (first published October 31st 2014)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

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

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Gregor Xane
Nov 23, 2014 Gregor Xane rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
This novelette was originally written to help sell the Todd McFarlane-designed figurines shown below. It was sliced up into six pieces and each figurine came with a part of the larger story.

Both the collectibles and the story seem like attempts to out Clive Barker Clive Barker.

I was entertained but not thrilled.

I'd only recommend this to Barker completists like myself.
Paul Nelson
Apr 05, 2015 Paul Nelson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tortured Souls is set in the 'first city' of Primordium, a city of degradation, corruption and violence. On the periphery of this story is the ancient being known as Agonistes, for two thousand years he has walked the earth, making God's art from flesh or so he proclaims. A transformer of human flesh, if a supplicant comes to him, lost to hopelessness and desperate for revenge. If he agrees to the terms set, then Agonistes will remake the supplicant through a combination of art, magic and pain i ...more
Althea Ann
I thought this was a new novella by Barker, but it's not, really. The material here was originally written back in 2001. Each 'chapter' of the novella originally accompanied a collectible figure produced by McFarlane Toys.

The story is similar in concept, although I don't believe it's directly related, to Clive Barker's 'Hellraiser' series - the characters are just like the Cenobites of those stories, with their sadomasochistically altered flesh and enhanced abilities.

As a story, it's not bad, b
Jul 14, 2015 Amber rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: librarybooks
Primordium is a city full of chaos and corruption run but by an empire that enjoys the decadence and gore of everything. When an assassin-for-hire named Zarles Kreiger kills a Senator, he meets up with the daughter of the killed Senator who introduces him to a creature who transforms him into a monster. Want to read more? Check this out for yourself and find out.

This was a pretty good and weird horror novella from Clive Barker. If you enjoyed Clive Barker's horror stories, definitely check this
Feb 26, 2015 Kate rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jul 19, 2015 Albert rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tortured Souls: The Legend of Primordium by Clive Barker is a collection of vignettes that make of a fast paced, beautifully written novella. The stories were originally released to accompany a set of action figures/toy sculptures by Macfarlane toys. That being Todd Macfarlane of comic book fame, the artist creator of Spawn and arguably the best artist to ever draw Spider-man. But Barker does not slouch on this and creates an erotica, bloody and disturbing tale in Tortured Souls.

"...It is an art
Mar 01, 2015 Andy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A short series of closely connected tales surrounding the mythos of Agonistes, rearranger of flesh, and his role in the decline and fall of the corrupt city-nation Primordium.
C McDaniel
Sep 22, 2015 C McDaniel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a very quick read and, as you can see in many of the reviews, it is essentially a series of character sketches. I think most folks know this going into a reading at this point, and I think it's important to approach the short piece with its purpose/structure in mind (and without the expectation of a complex plot, etc.). I've never enjoyed Barker's human characters very much, but he is and has always been a master of the monstrous. It's a weird sort of fascination that's generated in this ...more
Mark Tallen
May 14, 2015 Mark Tallen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I really enjoyed this novella by Clive Barker. It was originally published in six parts that were packaged with six Tortured Souls horror figures. I am a fan of Clive Barker's work but I never bought those models so I was unable to read the story. I was really pleased that Subterranean Press published the novella in a standalone edition. The book itself is of high quality, the artwork, the paper quality and the binding are excellent. The story is a superb example of horror and fantasy fiction th ...more
Nov 01, 2014 Lianna rated it really liked it
I'm a Barker sycophant; you'll get nothing unbiased from me when it comes to this author. I like every dark and disgusting thing that shoots out of his fingertips and into my brain.

In the end I like that I got a very "Sin City" meets "Sodom and Gomorrah" vibe from this novella, but I wish the whole thing were longer. I feel like there could have been a great (long, drawn out, exhausted) series based in this world... Well maybe there is and I just haven't googled it yet. -Googles....-

Okay, so m
Nathaniel Brehmer
Nov 27, 2012 Nathaniel Brehmer rated it really liked it
An intriguing and surprisingly successful experiment. I'm not sure anyone but Barker could have pulled it off. This novella was released in segments with the Tortured Souls action figure series, each character packaged with a chapter depicting their origins while forwarding the overall story. And in the end, it's an interesting story (and a dark corner of the Hellraiser mythology, perhaps) with memorable, visceral characters and another glimpse, short as it is, into Barker's talent for world bui ...more
Dec 08, 2014 Shawn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is utterly fantastic. A short work by Clive Barker that immediately sucks you in and shakes you until it is finished. I loved this little book. I wish there was so much more. The world he creates in the Primordium is absolutely fascinating and you get caught up in the vivid details and characters that live there. This is a world I would love for him to plunge into whole heartedly with a full novel.
Maxine Marsh
Feb 21, 2015 Maxine Marsh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jon(athan) Nakapalau
Oct 18, 2016 Jon(athan) Nakapalau rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, fantasy
A quick read for Halloween...a harsh nightmare world that transports you to the topography of your fears.
Orrin Grey
Mar 10, 2017 Orrin Grey rated it it was ok
I don't know the actual word count, though this thing calls itself a novella. Whatever it is, it's really short, I read the whole thing in about an hour. It reads like what it is: glorified back-matter for a series of Todd McFarlane action figures. As such, it (like a lot of later Clive Barker stuff, honestly) feels a lot like someone trying to mimic Clive Barker without really understanding what made his stuff work in the first place, which is weird, since this is Clive Barker, but what're you ...more
Nov 13, 2014 Andrew rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Tortured Souls is a slightly unusual project from Clive Barker. The story was divided into six parts and each part was included with a figure from the Tortured Souls collection. These figures were brought to life by Todd McFarlane (creator of Spawn) and were based on the characters from the story.

We are taken to the decadent and putrid city of Primordium, which is ruled by cruel and corrupt leaders. No one man can stand up to them; no one, that is, until an assassin, Zarles Kreiger, is offered t
Michael Benavidez
Finished this in a day.
What does that say?
Well it's good. It's Clive Barker being dark and mysterious, constructing a mythos. All these things he's great at.
However, for it to really excel, Barker needs more room than a novella. Especially for something of this magnitude. Instead it looks to the figures (of which this tale surrounds) to fill in the blanks of what details should exist for the creatures.
There is plenty of room for the mythos to thrive, but not enough to really send the story of
Jul 28, 2015 Brent rated it it was amazing
Horror, Gore, and utterly fantastical. This is the sort of dark utterly fantastical horror that made me a Barker fan years ago. Tortured Souls is old style Clive Barker, a remnant of what could have been part of the Books of Blood or the Hellraiser series rather than the more dark fantasy driven novels such as Weaveworld and Imajica. Barker weaves the blood and gore with human emotions that border on the erotic. More horrible than anything King has ever written. A novella that can be read in an ...more
Aug 30, 2016 Mike rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-books
A very good mix of horror and dark fantasy. It's not at all very scary, but does have some heavy horror elements. Even though it's a fast 87 page read it feels like it's much more epic of a tale for some reason. The characters are all very strong.
Jul 15, 2015 Scott rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
This short novel collects the story that was serialized and packaged with the Tortured Souls figures that were released by McFarlane Toys in 2001. It tells of the ancient, decadent city of Primordium, the mysterious entity called Agonistes, and the various individuals who were changed by him. If it's light on story, it more than makes up for it in grotesquerie. A quick, occasionally nauseating read.
Aug 28, 2015 Logan rated it it was ok
Purchased as part of a Humble Bundle a while back.
I take it that this was part of a "backstory" developed for a set of figurines. There really isn't much of a story here: a demi-god who remakes people's bodies into tools of destruction, an assassin, his murderous lover, and a monster created to destroy them both, combined with an unnatural "child" monster born from a man's DNA in an external womb. Er...weird? Didn't make much sense? Yeah.
Apr 20, 2015 Jengordon rated it did not like it
This book was so awful I had to keep reading just to see if there was any hope that it would get better. I thought I remembered Barker being a good writer, but honestly, my 12-year-old writes like this.
Oscar Garrido
Oscuro y tormentoso. Se lee en un ratito.
Su Halfwerk
Jun 23, 2011 Su Halfwerk rated it it was ok
I couldn't connect with any of the characters. It was as though there is a curtain between me and the story. Perhaps the events moved too fast.
I'm not sure, but I didn't feel this one.
Jun 06, 2017 Sam rated it did not like it
honestly the worst book i've ever read. the story was non existent, the writing was amateur, the characters lacked any appeal, and it seems to have been tossed together just to aid the selling of some action figures. just very unenjoyable all together, and i really like clive too!
Feb 26, 2017 Thomas rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, e-book, 2017
With Clive Barker, I'm a take-it-or-leave-it reader. I used to read his stuff as religiously as I did Stephen King's, but over time, I lost interest. I'm not sure why; the man still has a vivid imagination that goes into some dark, dark places, and every time I read another work of his, I'm impressed. I wouldn't have read this novella, except for the fact that it was part of the Subterranean Press Humble Bundle.

Only, Tortured Souls isn't really a novella. It's a collection of six short stories B
Brian Dell
Mar 09, 2017 Brian Dell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cousins of the Cenobites

For those accustomed to Barker's bloodier sensibilities, this should read as a great chunk of pulp. I believe he has now republished both novellas originally attached to his figure series from Todd McFarlane years back. I'd like to see him complete the trilogy and write a story for series two, then sell a nice collected hardcover. Alas, one suspects Barker has other priorities.
Still a fun read, and the illustrations are well done also.
Agonistes is a 'transformer of human flesh, a creator of monsters.' He delivers people from powerlessness, as in if you're aggrieved, you go to him and if your need is sufficient enough he'll transform you into the image of your monsters. Now the people who come to him, 'supplicants' are people who want to haunt their enemies. Now, I'm not saying this is practical, but just looking around you can see how appealing the notion of Agonistes is.

Primordium is a harsh city, ruled by emperors whose ca
Mark R.
Compiling the six-part serial story originally included with McFarlane's "Tortured Souls" collectible series, "The Legend of Primordium" is a brief trip into a pre-history era rife with demons and, as the title suggests, torture. For a quick, vicous read, it's a good time; for Barker collectors, a nice treat, but not one of his more notable works.

A devilish monster comes to Earth in order to turn willing devotees into horrific beings of outwardly violent appearance, in order to satiate dark desi
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Nobody's Home: An Anubis Gates Story
  • The Agonizing Resurrection of Victor Frankenstein and Other Gothic Tales
  • The Ape's Wife and Other Stories
  • Black Hat Jack
  • The End of the Sentence
  • The Hunter from the Woods
  • The Jack Vance Treasury
  • The Top of the Volcano: The Award-Winning Stories of Harlan Ellison
  • Academic Exercises
  • Muse of Fire
  • The Mallet of Loving Correction: Selected Writings from Whatever, 2008-2012
  • Jacaranda (The Clockwork Century, #6)
  • Inside Job
  • New Cthulhu 2: More Recent Weird
  • The Chronicles of Master Li and Number Ten Ox (The Chronicles of Master Li and Number Ten Ox, #1-3)
  • Amityville Horrible (Otherworld Stories, #10.8)
  • Digital Domains: A Decade of Science Fiction and Fantasy
  • The Year's Best Science Fiction & Fantasy 2015 Edition
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...

Share This Book

“In his perversity, or his genius, or both,” 1 likes
More quotes…