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

The Thief of Always (Clive Barker's The Thief of Always (gn))

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  22,191 Ratings  ·  1,274 Reviews
Mr. Hood's Holiday House has stood for a thousand years, welcoming countless children into its embrace. It is a place of miracles where every childhood whim may be satisfied. There is a price to be paid, of course, but young Harvey Swick, bored with his life and beguiled by Mr. Hood's wonders, does not stop to consider the consequences. It is only when the house shows its ...more
Paperback, 267 pages
Published November 11th 2008 by HarperPerennial (first published 1992)
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 The Thief of Always, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

Andre Stackhouse Well I'm not sure of anything specific, but I'd say it qualifies as a modern fairy tale. Hansel and Gretel comes to mind. It's also sometimes compared…moreWell I'm not sure of anything specific, but I'd say it qualifies as a modern fairy tale. Hansel and Gretel comes to mind. It's also sometimes compared to Coraline by Neil Gaimen, though that was a decade later. Coraline was influenced by Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, so I'd say it's fair to say there's a bit of that in there too. Anyway, this is all speculation about one of my favorite authors and books!(less)
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Hannah Greendale
Click here to watch a video review of this book on my channel, From Beginning to Bookend.

Ten-year-old Harvey Swick is invited to Mr. Hood’s Holiday House, a thousand-year-old dwelling that welcomes children to enjoy its rapidly changing seasons, explore its grounds filled with mythical creatures, and partake of the delicious meals prepared by the house cook, Mrs. Griffin. At first, Harvey thinks Holiday House is the best thing that’s ever happened to him, but he soon discovers not all is as it

Sooooooooo, I mentioned that I had sworn off Mr. Clive Barker yeeeeeeeears ago- due to squeamishness- Ms. Stepheny called me on it- and said, "PLEASE... PLEASE...PLEASE- read THE THIEF OF ALWAYS before making your final judgement on allllllllll of his work".

Okay, Stepheny, I stand corrected- not all of his work is GROSS. In fact I quite enjoyed this blood-less tale.

[image error] photo 78224d42-6794-4cca-83e8-42cb2654c099_zpsq0yc1hvm.jpg

10-year-old Harvey Swick is bored...bored, bored with school. Bored with the dreary weather, and bored with his day-t
Edit 5: I now have a first edition thanks to a bookstore selling old books and it is in perfect condition thank you world.

Edit 4: My love for this book knows no bounds because I managed to get this hard copy of the graphic novel. Signed and hand-numbered (there were only 500 of these going out).

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Edit 3: Did I just buy the ebook of this? Yes I did. Gotta be safe in case I lose the paperback copy. <3333

The great gray beast February had eaten Harvey Swick alive.

The most fabulous opening line I’
Jun 09, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Ten year olds who aren't afraid of monsters
I remember being a kid and being bored, and it is THE WORST. It wasn't just the boredom, it was the feeling of needing something but having no idea what. Awful. It will ruin your life.

And that is how you become me.

I don't really have much to say about this book. It's my second Barker, and vastly different than the first of his that I'd read (The Hellbound Heart). I liked this one well enough, and it's a quick read (or would have been if I didn't have this need to make new levels in Mario Maker
Oh, you’re a horror fan? Read Clive Barker.

Steph, check out Clive Barker. You’ll love him.

Have you read any Barker? He’s brilliant!

These are all things that were being said to me for the last few years. I took note. Then I saw Stephen King saying that Clive Barker is the future of the horror genre. Well, if I am going to listen to anyone I am going to listen to Stephen King.

Everyone knows this.

I took the encouragement of some of my goodreads friends and went with it. I decided to go with the Th
Harvey Swick is ten years old and bored out of his skull. It's that dreary month of February, Christmas is over and summer is too far in the future for a small boy to contemplate. He just wants to have some fun. Through an open window flies a man in black by the name of Rictus. His smile is all sharp teeth and is as wide as his face, but he has a glib tongue and promises Harvey all kinds of fun. Plenty of playmates, the coolest treehouse ever, and a house that is almost too good to be true await ...more
Mar 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, own-read
Great book to read on a rainy day.

What I liked the most (apart from story) are the illustrations. They were really creepy, and reminded me of Neil Gaiman's Coraline, which is one of my favorite books. The story is also similar to Coraline, but it does have its twists.

Really fun and fast read, and looking forward to reading more books from this author. The guy knows how to tell a good story.
Jan 31, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: top-shelf, fantasy
So, when I reviewed Coraline, I mentioned that, in terms of "Young-person-casts-off-illusions-and-outwits-a-vastly-more-powerful-otherworldly-entity-and-comes-to-appreciate-the-realities-of-life" stories, I thought this book was vastly superior. So I jumped onto Bookmooch to see if anyone had a copy. Lo and behold, a nice person in Israel was giving his copy away, so I snagged it. And I stand by my judgment.

Plus, this book has one of the best opening lines I have ever read:

"The great, gray beas
Nov 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Έχετε ευχηθεί ποτέ να ήταν κάθε μέρα γιορτή; Να κάθεστε χαλαρά στο σπίτι, να παίζετε (στα παιδικά σας χρόνια) με όλα τα αγαπημένα σας παιχνίδια, να τρώγατε όλα τα αγαπημένα σας φαγητά και όλα τα σχετικά υπέροχα πράγματα που μόνο στις γιορτές σας άφηναν οι γονείς σας να κάνετε;

Ε, προσέξτε τι εύχεστε γιατί μπορεί να πραγματοποιηθεί.

Γιατί ο τρόπος που κάτι πραγματοποιείται μπορεί να ενέχει πολλούς κινδύνους, και οι δαίμονες, όπως μας έχει μάθει καλά ο Clive Barker, επιμένουν στις λεπτομέρειες!

Feb 23, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Harvey is 10 and bored...

Soooooo bored...

So when he is offered the chance of visiting a holiday house with unlimited food and presents, where it is spring, summer, autumn and winter all in one day how can he resist!

[image error]


All is not what it seems and soon things take a turn for the sinister.

This is a dark and fantastical tale that is ultimately about what it is to be human.
Ομολογώ ότι, μετά απ' αυτό, οι ελπίδες μου ότι μπορεί να διαβάσω κάποτε κάτι αξιόλογο του Barker αναπτερώθηκαν. Ξέρω, είμαι ιερόσυλη ή κάτι αντίστοιχο, αλλά το πρώτο και μοναδικό βιβλίο του που είχα διαβάσει, μέχρι και σήμερα, ήταν το πρώτο Abarat, το οποίο ήταν ένα όμορφα γραμμένο κουλούρι: πασπαλισμένο γύρω-γύρω με ωραίο σουσαμάκι, αλλά στη μέση εντελώς κενό. Χτες, λοιπόν, βρήκα τον Κλέφτη του Πάντοτε στο παζάρι βιβλίου, ήταν φτηνό, οπότε το πήρα και το διάβασα. Και ήταν καλό. Βασικά, ήταν πολ ...more
Robert Bickers
Sep 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: taught
Read Synopsis
Wow! This is a book that stays with you, if you let it. Harvey Swick, as normal a kid as you'll find, is trapped in paradise. The holiday House is a place where dreams come true - so long as you're willing to play by it's rules. Try to break free, and swim with the fishes.

Clive Barker's prose is brilliant; I can think of no other word that clearly conveys my thoughts on The Thief of Always. From the first line-one of the best ever written, rivaled only by the opening to Gibson's Neu
Aug 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a great book by clive barker. It's about this boy who goes to this house of seasons. It's a story worth checking out and one of the first Clive Barker books I checked out that got me started on his books. I hope one day that thief of always becomes a film because it is a pretty good story.
Jul 15, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Ο Clive Barker έχει μια εκπληκτική ικανότητα να μπαίνει στο μυαλό ενός μικρού παιδιού, να βλέπει τα όνειρα κ τους εφιάλτες του και να τους παρουσιάζει σε εμάς ατόφιους κάνοντας το με πολλή χάρη. Είναι ευκολοδιάβαστο και κρατάει συνεχώς το ενδιαφέρον.
Mar 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
Pitch perfect in every way, Barker really shines on this one. I could see kids reading this at age 9 without issue. Would recommend to any fans of the interstice betwen horror and fantasy or anyone looking for a good yarn.
Jake Hartnett
Dec 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
5 glorious stars!!!

This one, I feel, will be one of those books that stays with me throughout my unending pilgrimage of reading, and will always hold a place inside me, along with some other special reads.

The story is wonderfully told, involving dark magic and illusion that's able to blanket reality; to create a place where children will never be bored, or shall never be left wanting for anything. Whatever they wish they may have. But this eternal happiness comes at a price, one that unknowingly
Li Seagull
Alright, well, here I go!

So, I was going along my merry way reading this book, and I found myself being drawn almost completely in. A seemingly childish story, The Thief of Always managed to be both chilling and unbearably cute.

Now people were asking me when they saw me with the book in hand: "Do you like it? Why?"

The characters were well fleshed out and well-thought out. I loved Harvey. Wendell could be irritating, but, hey, that was him.

I loved the House. Hood House. That motherfucking monste
Harvey es un niño de diez años que odia los días grises, en especial el mes de febrero. Un buen día es invitado por un estrambótico personaje a visitar una casa de vacaciones, donde siempre hace buen tiempo y se puede jugar todo el día. Pero no todo es perfecto, ya que pronto descubrirá que no puede salir de este lugar.

‘El ladrón de días’ (The Thief of Always, 1992), del escritor británico Clive Baker, se aleja de las historias de terror y morbo que tanto le caracterizan. En este caso nos encont
Mar 19, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Inače prilično volim Barkera, onaj njegov dio koji piše više fantasy, a manje horror (koji inače baš i ne volim)

Jako zgodno djelce gdje mi se Barker najviše približio Gaimanu.
Jedna lijepa pričica o dječjim željama, o tome kako ništa nije dobro previše željeti :), malo neobičnih čudovišta i ugodno provedeno vrijeme.

Posebna draž su Barkerove originalne grafike.


Anastasia Ts.
Jul 16, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Όταν ξεκίνησα το βιβλίο δεν περιμένα ότι θα μου άρεσε τόσο. Ο λόγος που με κέρδισε είναι γιατί με κάποιο τρόπο ένιωσα να είμαι ο ήρωας εγώ...ωστόσο μπορώ να πω ότι οι μάγισσες του Ρόαντ Νταλ με έχουν κερδίσει μολονότι ειναι καθαρά παιδικό βιβλίο.
Jan 27, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read this when I was a kid and waited for the movie it promised on the front cover. Never came to fruition I guess. Def needs to be reread because i don't remember much of it.
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
Fun story! Ten-year-old Harvey Swick is bored with life until he is lured by a stranger to the Holiday House. There, you can have all of your desires fulfilled. Every season happens every day, and you get to celebrate Halloween and Christmas every day. You get to eat all of your most favorite foods and just have fun all day. But there's a trade-off, and you don't find out about it until it's too late. Evil lurks in the Holiday House in the form of an unseen "vampire" thief. He's a different sort ...more
May 02, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good, interesting, spooky book--just right for October, although it certainly could be read at any time of the year. There are plenty of scary and creepy scenes, but also some thought-provoking bits; it made me feel more appreciative of what I have when I'd finished it.

Aleksandar Obradović
Bajka strave i užasa. :) Izuzetno dopadljiva, lako se čita i neobično nalikuje na Knjigu o groblju, Nila Gejmena.
Elizabeth(The Book Whisperer)
I highly recommend this book! I is such a compelling story, written so well. It has a clever plot and keeps you interested till the very end!
A friend recommended this to me, and the very next day ANOTHER friend recommended Barker's Abarat, so it seemed like too big of a coincidence to put off reading him any longer. This was a very quick read, and you know a book is good when you lose all sense of time. I read straight through without stopping. The opening sentence, which is, perhaps, the most crucial part of any book, is definitely one of the best I've ever read, and I enjoyed how Barker kept referencing it throughout. I've said it ...more
Matthew Hunter
The great gray beast February had eaten Harvey Swick alive. Here he was, buried in the belly of that smothering month, wondering if he would ever find his way out through the cold coils that lay between here and Easter.

That's an awesome opening to a story on ennui, and the desire to live only for holidays and good times. What would happen if we fast-forwarded through all the ordinary times and lived for holidays, birthdays, and vacations? Life would be very short. And we'd miss out on those qui
Nov 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
It was strangely difficult for me to get my hands on a physical copy of this book. I am sure it was simply due to user error. I finally had a pristine copy of the version I was looking shipped down to me from Nate’s Blast From the Past out of Portland, Oregon. (Thanks Nate!) Was it worth the effort to track this book down? Yes! Many reviewers referred to this book as a “children’s book”. It has been a long time since anyone would could consider me a child, yet (to quote Harvey) reading this book ...more
Emeraldia Ayakashi
Jul 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I was surprised.
It’s weird to call a Clive Barker book cute, right? But that’s what The Thief of Always is. Even with demons and soul-stealing and a cat falling into a pot of boiling water and dying, it’s a really cute and deep , like the " soul of Me " who recommmand me this book .
The way that Clive Barkerweave a story that incorporates adventure and horror within a tale suitable for a child is amazing.
This book while being fun and horrific also has a great meaning behind it, one that every c
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
  • Clive Barker's The Great And Secret Show, Volume 2
  • Santa's Twin (Santa's Twin, #1)
  • Clive Barker's A - Z of Horror
  • Wormwood: A Collection of Short Stories
  • Clive Barker's Night Breed: Genesis
  • Artificial Things
  • The Yattering and Jack
  • The Dream Cycle of H.P. Lovecraft: Dreams of Terror and Death
  • Hellbound Hearts
  • The Face That Must Die
  • Baal
  • Clive Barker's Hellraiser: Collected Best Volume 1
  • Vampire World I: Blood Brothers (Necroscope, #6)
  • A Demanda do Visionário (A Saga do Assassino #5)
  • Silk (Silk, #1)
  • The Halloween Tree
  • Three John Silence Stories
  • Sibs
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...

Other Books in the Series

Clive Barker's The Thief of Always (gn) (5 books)
  • Clive Barker's The Thief of Always Vol. 1 #1
  • Clive Barker's the Thief of Always Book 2
  • Clive Barker's the Thief of Always Book 3
  • O Ladrão da Eternidade

Share This Book

“Wherever I go, I will speak of you with love.” 133 likes
“Evil, however powerful it seemed, could be undone by its own appetite.” 48 likes
More quotes…