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

The Forbidden

3.48  ·  Rating details ·  514 ratings  ·  89 reviews
1873: When the ambitious Doctor Paul Clement takes a job on the island of Saint Sebastien, he has dreams of finding cures for tropical diseases. After witnessing the ritualistic murder of a young boy who was allegedly already dead, he is warned never to speak of what he has seen. Back in fin de siecle Paris, Paul's attentions turn to studying the nervous system and resusci ...more
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published May 15th 2014 by Pegasus Books (first published June 1st 2012)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

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

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.48  · 
Rating details
 ·  514 ratings  ·  89 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Forbidden
Sep 25, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
*I won a copy of this book through the Goodreads "first-reads".*

The imagery and atmosphere of France in the late 1800's was beautiful conveyed--especially throughout the opening chapters. I found it very intriguing to learn of the "new" science that was being initiated. In addition to this, I felt that Tallis did a great job of making the reader FEEL the time period; all of which served to make the premise of the story more enjoyable.

Unfortunately, I felt that the climax of the story was virtual
Roy Elmer
Sometimes, you wander in to a bookshop and buy something because the cover just sort of piques your interest. This was one of those times.

After picking this one up, I read a review on here suggesting that it was a horror novel, and not a particularly good one. Having read the book, I can see where the reviewer was coming from. If taken as a horror novel, this doesn't work. It is not a novel designed to produce out and out scares, or one that relies on making your skin-crawl by lamp light. What i
Apr 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I would call this a gentle horror story and mean that in a most complementary way. Another reviewer said it was 'civilized'. This book combines beautiful writing, turn of the century France, medicine, morphine addiction and the occult in a seamless, down right terrifying way. This is the kind of book that although I finished it around midnight I had to force myself to pick up another book because I was not going to try to sleep after the screaming rollercoaster of an ending. The hero is contempl ...more
Jun 13, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Forbidden was quite a quick read; the story is fast-paced and doesn’t have too many parts that drag. I enjoyed this book, although I kept hoping that the theme of voodoo or black arts, which are introduced in the beginning of the book, would play a bigger role. However they do not. This book is about a demon and a doctor. I must admit I found Dr Clément a good character, however as in most horror books they seem to become weaklings in some parts.

One of the main things I enjoyed in the beginn
Having enjoyed Tallis' historical novels that often flirted with the occult, I was pleased to find that he had elected to write a work of supernatural horror. Tallis writes that the direct inspiration was the 19th century French occult novel Là-Bas (The Damned) by J.K. Huysmans and also cited Justine by the Marquis de Sade and Guy de Maupassant's stories as other influences. He also mentions the more recent writings of the British writer Dennis Wheatley whose Library of the Occult series publish ...more
Cristina Isabel
Mar 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads, arc
I won this as a free ARC giveaway first reads and it was far from disappointing!

It's like Dr. Frankenstein meets The Exorcist in the concept of exactly how much "do you", the audience, really know about God and The Devil? Do you really believe in possession of ones soul or existence of evil spirits? What if you witnessed an exorcism, would you still believe?

In this suspenseful mind gripping tale of The Forbidden, Dr. Paul Clement witnesses an unspeakable act of horror which he is never to mentio
Oct 12, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-14
I thought it was corny and derivative, but in a way that is kind of pleasantly familiar. If you like your evil spirits to actually carry pitchforks and possess little girls, causing them to curse and vomit prodigiously, boy is this the book for you.
Lee Allen
Nov 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An engrossing tale of psychological horror and demonic possession by Frank Tallis, writing as F.R. Tallis.

‘The Forbidden’ begins as Dr Paul Clement travels to Saint-Sebastien, an island in the French Antilles, with dreams of making advances in medicine that will help a great number of people. There he witnesses a ritual that will change the course of his life and he is cursed that, if ever he is to speak of it, he will go to Hell. He returns to Paris, taking up a position at the Salpetriere, whe
Mar 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
I received this book in a goodreads contest.

Not something that I would pick out myself, I was dragging my feet starting this book. I am SO sorry that I did.

What an unusual, thought provoking and suspenseful book. I was hooked from the prologue. The story is set in the 1870s and touches on magic, possession and exorcism. An odd combination but so well written from Monsieur Clement's point of view.

He is a doctor in the 1870s and is infatuated with the nervous system. He comes to a isolated islan
OCD Keeping
Sep 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I really liked this book, the writing is beautiful and the details really fill your mind with images that support the story and time in which it was set, late 19th century, Paris.
At first when I read the synopsis I assumed some kind of Flatliners vibe but it turned out to be a gripping story. I very much enjoyed the use of real historic figures in medicine and science and the links of occultism and Notre Dame, the research and Tallis's clinical mind and intellect are very evident throughout the
Fran Murphy
Apr 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, paris
"The Greeks inform us that Pandora's Box contained all the evils of the world, and that when she opened it these evils were released. There was, however, something left at the very bottom; Hope." The Forbidden is an atmospheric tale of demonic possession set in a suitably Gothic Paris in the late C19th. Notre Dame looms large over the city, and keeping watch from the heights of the cathedral are the chimera, captured in etchings by the artist Charles Mayron, who died young in an asylum. He is ju ...more
Apr 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
Tallis is the author of one of my favorite mystery series, the Liebermann papers, but the second suspense I have read of his. After being introduced to the idea of re-animating the dead after a trip to the West Indies, Dr. Paul Clement returns to Paris where he experiments with the resuscitation of the "just" dead with electrical currents. Experimenting on himself he returns to earth not from Heaven, but from Hell and unwittingly brings back a demon that destroys not only his life but those he l ...more
Jun 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
In this psychologically grim and gripping historical it's 1873, and a forward-thinking French doctor experiments with electricity to bring back the heartbeats of the nearly dead, with varying results. After hearing of the 'white light' some have witnessed, he decides to take himself to the brink to experience first-hand the mysterious claim. He witnesses something very different, returning to a strangely altered life with an unspeakable 'souvenir'. ...more
Faye Ridpath
I received this book for free from Goodreads First Reads.

In many ways, it reminded me of "Flatliners", but a much darker version.

It is a horrifying book.

It is also very thought provoking, and raises some interesting concepts. My mind is still reeling and puzzling over one question raised in this book that I consider a religious paradox.

A very chilling book.
Jul 12, 2014 rated it it was ok
The historical aspects were interesting. I've not read a book about possession and exorcism and I've decided it's not my thing. ...more
Maxine (Booklover Catlady)
I can't contact this author but keen to read and review both his novels. Sounds fantastic and just my cup of tea. ...more
Feb 13, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, fantasy, horror
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gothic-fiction
Originally posted:

If there was a recipe for the kind of book I love, it would include religious debate, the Gothic and 19th century medicine – and this book has it all. The story follows Paul Clement, a 19th century Parisian doctor who has a passion for resuscitation and what lies in the ‘beyond’. After he goes full Flatliners (stops his heart so he can see what happens after death and is then bought back) he gets a full glimpse of what lies beneath, and
Steven Belanger
Apr 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
A very well-written piece of historical horror fiction that may move a tad too slow for some, though it's actually building up for each of it's three main climaxes, this book is well worth your time. More well-known for his historical mysteries in 1890s Vienna (written as Frank Tallis), this one is probably the best of his stand-alones. They're all well-written, but they tended to the depressing and had unnecessarily bleak endings. This one isn't, and doesn't.

The title is unhelpful. In essence,
Alison C
Paul Clement is a doctor in late 19th century France who, after witnessing an inexplicable event in St. Sebastien, returns to Paris to begin studying the nervous system. He believes that he has found a way to restore life to the lifeless and learns that people who “die” and return often experience a tunnel, white light, and a sense of peace. He determines to try his method upon himself, but instead of those experiences, he finds his soul in Hell and only with great difficulty can he return. But ...more
Other than an overworked climax, this book was immensely well done.

I had never heard of Tallis before The Voices which I stumbled upon in the library while searching for something else for a patron. This is my second of his.

There is a strong narrative flow in his books, the language he uses is mature and confident, and the plots evolve slowly but never inevitably. In fact, as a reader of many supernaturals, I usually feel I am treading very well-traveled roads as standard plots unfold. Tallis
Bernadette Lemon
Feb 02, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: gave-up
I only actually made it about half way through this book before giving up as it was beginning to feel like a chore to read. The idea and plot are great, but for me personally I feel it lacked character and personality; everything was just going through the motions most of the time. I'll perhaps come back to read it again another time, give it a second chance but overall it didn't thrill me. ...more
Nov 30, 2018 rated it it was ok
The beginning and ending were good but the entire middle part of the book was too slow and boring. It was just different people having conversations. It easily could have been more entertaining and exciting with this story but unfortunately was not.
Dec 31, 2018 rated it liked it
Very interesting story, well written, but it took me a while to get into, it didn't quite grip me. Possibly because it's not quite what I was expecting, but still definitely worth a read, although some quite graphic imagery that just jumps up all of a sudden in places. ...more
Jan 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
To begin with, I was quite dubious as the book is written in style I'm not familiar with, however, this has got to be one of my favourite ever books. It really should be up there with some of the best horrors (and I've read a LOT). ...more
Oct 27, 2017 rated it liked it
a gentle thriller but made me crave as it's easiest.............. ...more
Jan 11, 2018 rated it liked it
Atmospheric and interesting but predictable. Characters flat and one-dimensional. Not a favorite read.
John Siphers
Mar 21, 2020 rated it did not like it
Couldn’t finish this one. I never developed any sympathy for the main character, and his transformation occurred slowly and painfully.
Sep 20, 2014 rated it liked it
3.5 Stars

This novel is a hard one for me to rate.

On the one hand, it shows the author’s engrossing skills at setting and descriptions. The setting of 1870’s Paris, descriptions of hospitals and churches, details on the emerging field of neurological treatments with electricity, and the pathways of Hell itself are all brought to very vivid life. I would definitely advise some caution, however, when the reader reads the scenes from Hell or the descriptive scenes of demonic possession; the author
Oct 19, 2015 marked it as attempted  ·  review of another edition
Included in my blog post Sampling: Ghost stories and spooky books.

The premise: Paul Clément is a doctor who, as a young man, witnesses a ritualistic murder, and is forbidden to speak of it - if he does, his companion tells him, his soul will be damned. Years later, working in Paris, Paul believes the incident to have been nothing more than a macabre trick; he's also become obsessed with the idea of resuscitating the dead, and decides to conduct a dangerous experiment on himself. It's at this poi
« previous 1 3 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Kill the Next One
  • No culpes al karma de lo que te pasa por gilipollas (No culpes al karma, #1)
  • La puerta
  • For the Sake of Elena (Inspector Lynley, #5)
  • Pygmy
  • Un lugar a donde ir (Oliver Gordon, #2)
  • Puerto escondido (Oliver Gordon, #1)
  • Donde fuimos invencibles (Oliver Gordon, #3)
  • La petite communiste qui ne souriait jamais
  • El tigre de los mares (Marco Polo, #3)
  • Mas alla de la Gran Muralla (Marco Polo, #2)
  • La Caravana de Venecia (Marco Polo, #1)
  • La víspera de casi todo
  • Red Sorghum
  • Mieses Karma hoch 2  (Mieses Karma, #2)
  • The Drought
  • ¿Sueñan los androides con ovejas eléctricas?  Tomo 1
See similar books…
A pseudonym used by Frank Tallis ...more

Related Articles

With his new horror novel, The Only Good Indians, author Stephen Graham Jones conjures one of the most effective scary images to ever hover in that...
66 likes · 8 comments
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »
“She raised herself up on an elbow, stroked my forehead & said in a hushed half-whisper, 'You will be famous.' "The seed was planted. Ambition fed on the compost of my vanity.” 3 likes
More quotes…