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The Book of Revelation

3.41  ·  Rating details ·  1,353 ratings  ·  84 reviews
In an edgy psychological thriller that is as mesmerizing as it is profound, Rupert Thomson fearlessly delves into the darkest realm of the human spirit to reveal the sinister connection between sexuality and power.

Stepping out of his Amsterdam studio one April afternoon to buy cigarettes for his girlfriend, a dashing 29-year old Englishman reflects on their won
Paperback, 272 pages
Published January 9th 2001 by Vintage (first published 1999)
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Average rating 3.41  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,353 ratings  ·  84 reviews

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Jan 29, 2014 rated it liked it
Recommended to Maciek by: Silvia
At first I could barely put down The Book of Revelation, but about halfway through my interest in it has started to wane and essentially diminished as I reached the end. The strong opening and first half are both an asset and a disadvantage - we have to keep reading to know what will happen, but our hopes are ultimately not met and we end up feeling at least slightly disappointed.

The Book of Revelation begins with the first person of an unnamed English ballet dancer, living and working in Amsterdam. He is 29/>The
Mar 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Gill by: Ashley Stokes
Impressive and rather gripping. Read it in one setting, despite apprehension about potentially gruesome content. (The gory stuff is done with quite early and isn't lingered upon. Some of the front cover designs for this are unfortunate: damn you, publishers' marketing departments.). It has an interesting and provocative structure - and quite a risky one, given that the APPARENT action peaks quite early in the novel. I shall definitely read more by this author.
Jul 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's always a thrill to discover a new writer with a substantial back catalogue to explore. Rupert Thomson has been writing for many years, but this is the first book of his I've read. On one level it is a gripping thriller with a mysterious and brutal crime at its heart, at another it's a story about trauma, loss and the unexpected outcomes of a crime on a victim. The Book of Revelation is beautifully written and compulsively readable, gripping and thought-provoking in equal measure. On the bas ...more
I. Merey
This is another reread of a book I consider to be one of my personal classics.

Of course, this book will be shocking to many, and it turns the familiar trope of a woman held captive by a man/men, on its head---the main character cannot comprehend what happened to him, even as a dancer who is used to having his body be the possession others prize most. Because he is a man, because his captors were women, he cannot imagine explaining his ordeal to others. The few times he even tries, he
Jan 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
V original. As always. Seems to understand the people he describes.
Chris Waterford
Jul 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I like Rupert Thompson's books. He deals with subjects or takes viewpoints different from any other writer. This book made me ponder on the impact of a traumatic event in our lives and how that plays out in the subsequent days, months and years. A bit slower in the second half but compelling.
Oct 12, 2010 rated it really liked it
After reading (and hating) The Hunger Games I wondered whether I simply hate all dark and disturbing works of fiction. And then I remembered this book, which I read years ago and loved. It is deeply disturbing, but the author explores the results of extreme physical, mental and emotional violation in a profound way.
Rachel England-Brassy
May 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Difficult to review in the sense that I found so much of it horrifying, yet it’s beautifully written.
Ultimately I think most will find this a difficult read, emotionally, yet it is that strong element of empathy that is the strength of this novel.
Mark Papa
Nov 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I felt the narrative trailed off before the halfway point, but the book is beautifully written, one of those rare novels where you really feel every word has been chosen with care.
Aug 02, 2010 rated it really liked it
A good example of not judging a book by the movie adaptation.
Having seen the movie, I approached this book with more trepidation and prejudice than it deserved.
I actually enjoyed the second half of the book more than the first, probably because the way in which our dancer deals with his ordeal is what drew me to the story in the first place. Though I must admit a slight disappointment, had Thomson actually approached his subject matter with the depth I would have liked to see, he would ha
Feb 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
It was a story of living in secrecy, of an unspeakable traumatic event. A book that catches my heart not by surprising twists; the words have their own voices. Rupert Thomson is cultured and reflexive. The Book of Revelation is a book filled with loneliness and burdens yet in the experience of reading, bringing out so much compassion and presence, from us readers, to ourselves.
Paul Grimsley
May 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing
this was a like more intense, leaner version of john fowles the magus. i can't recommend this more highly -- rupert thomson's name should be being shouted from the rooftops a hell of a lot louder than some of the other writers who get stupid amounts of praise whilst possessing little talent.
Mar 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: and-again, 2005
I love this book. The morbid detail of the dancer's abduction, his subsequent confusion and reactionary behaviour, right through to a chance of redemption - fascinating.
Aug 17, 2010 rated it liked it
A tough one to review, this. I'm getting sick of saying that the books I read start out good and then run out of steam, that they don't have enough ideas to justify their length, but here I am, about to say it yet again. It's not me, I swear, it really is the books! This one though has a lot more going for it than those three stars might lead you to believe, so please do read on...

The Book of Revelation doesn't start out merely good, I'm happy to be able to say - it starts out very g
Ian Pindar
Jul 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: top-20-favs
I loved this book. The start: the first third of the book was enough to keep you hooked to the end. It is not a spoiler to say the main character - ex-ballet dancer and choreographer is kidnapped and sexually exploited by three unknown women. It reads like a thriller and the kidnap is an allegory for female rape and abuse (by men). It does run out of steam a little bit and would have been better if it was shorter. It is also frustrating, if I tell you why it would be a spoiler. If you want a gre ...more
Jun 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
"Accidental treasure"

This book is an accidental treasure to me. I picked it up at the library by chance, partly turned off and partly enchanted by what was to expect from a book talking about sexual exploitation of a male dancer by three unknown females - surprise, surprise. There were many times I almost put down the book and thought of not continuing when the depression and helplessness portrayed was palpable and suffocating; it took me a long time to finish this book, as I read ev
May 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Zoe by: Jacqueline Brocker
Shelves: fiction
I thought this was brilliant, from the main character's horrifying ordeal to how he deals with it and concluding in what I thought was a very satisfying way. It's beautifully written, tense in parts and meandering (in a good way) in others. The author wrote a character that you really loved and rooted for and I was just hoping and hoping it would all turn out well for him. And we never even know his name! 100% recommended.
RC Brophy
Jan 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
I really liked this book. It was thought provoking and well written. I found it difficult to put down, but I was frustrated with the ending. This is not to say that the ending was bad. In fact, my frustration may have stemmed from it being good. It evoked emotion in me, and that's always a positive in my opinion.
Alex Clare
Aug 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is an unusual and disturbing book, which was refreshing. You didn't know where it was going to go next and that kept me reading.
Sergio  Mori
Apr 16, 2014 rated it it was ok
I found it incredibly easy to read, but not so enjoyable. I felt a bit numb, to be honest, not really engaging with the protagonist at all. Even with all that sex and torture in the first half, the whole thing felt tacky (I really could have done without the strip-tease and all the PVC or leather or whatever it was). Also the fact that you knew from the beginning that he was going to get out somehow created some sort of distance.

I found the second half much more interesting, especially the reac
Ant Bailey
Mar 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I actually enjoyed this book which given the subject matter really quite surprised me ..... Its a wonderfully dark idea that is truly beautifully imagined and written.
I was fully engaged with the character and it really makes you question how you would react to the same situation ...... I'm not sure I would do the same things that the main character ends up doing but that's the beauty of this book ..... you just never know!
How far would somebody go once subjected to such a traumatic
Michael Riess
Mar 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
This the second book I've read by this author the first being 'Death of a Murderer', and I have to say I'm somewhat hooked! 'The Book of Revelation has a unique and unpredictable storyline; refreshingly original with an interestingly erotic undertone. Definitely a book for 'grown ups'. I'm ready for another Rupert Thomson masterpiece!
Özlem Güzelharcan
Not easy to keep my head around this one. Mixed emotions, really. I watched the movie first and I was almost sure that I would love the book better but I have the same taste in my mouth just as the movie which is.. I don’t know.. Not bad but not brilliant either. / 2.5
Apr 18, 2015 rated it liked it
What a strange little book, this Book of Revelation. It centers around a 29-year-old British male dancer who lives and works in Amsterdam. He and his girlfriend Brigitte, who is also a dancer, live together and work for the same dance company. He's happy. As he steps out to buy cigarettes for his girlfriend - he tells her cigarettes will give her cancer but she doesn't care - he reflects on how perfect his life is at that moment. He knows his career as a dancer is nearing its end, but he has a b ...more
Cassy Skellington
Feb 12, 2013 rated it liked it
I'll start right off by saying this book isn't quite as graphic as it suggests. At least, not persistently. There are definitely moments that will make even the hardest reader squirm, but mostly, if you've ever read an M rated fanfic, this won't be too bothersome. Mild in some ways, even, if you ignore the mutilation scene, which by the way, is NOT a spoiler. The darned book gives away so much detail in its synopsis, that the majority of the plot is revealed before you open the first page. I sup ...more
Jun 01, 2009 rated it liked it
Oh my.
The first half of The Book of Revelation would have earned 4 or 5 stars, had it ended there.
The second half, perhaps 2 stars.
The problem is that the first half of the book is a supercharged engine that takes off and leaves you hot and bothered (on several levels), much to your pleasure or dismay. The second half, a dismal denouement, is like a cold shower when you were hoping for another go-round (you following me here?).
I did like the writing thoughout, but the pri
Trav Rockwell
May 22, 2015 rated it liked it
I was excited to read this, the storyline sounded great. The story peaked in the first half although from then on it fell flat. The story didn't really know where it wanted to go. Easy to read though it left me annoyed in the direction it went. I think Rupert Thompson needs more real life sexual experience as I think his writing is amateur in that department. Apparently the book of revelation is meant to shock - I'm guessing only prudes will get the shock factor out of it.
Jan 15, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2015
I read this in anticipation of a trip to Amsterdam. It's a quick read but the first part is very tough to get through and frankly, sexual torture (not a spoiler - it's on the flap) is something I particularly dislike reading about. The second part of the story held more appeal for me and I found his description of the Netherlands and Amsterdam to be evocative.
Katie M.
Oct 21, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2008
Holy disturbing story about a man who gets kidnapped and used as a sex slave by a trio of identityless women, Batman. Some really interesting psychological issues at play, though I agree with other reviews that it doesn't always dig deeply enough or leave things unanswered when perhaps it should. But still, totally gripping.
Suzan Lemont
Oct 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Another thrift store find fro man author I had never heard of. I would like to give it 4 1/2 stars because of its originality, and the absolutely stunning descriptions of the aftermath of the protagonist's horrific experiences which take place in the first part of the book (the less interesting part for me, not only because the topic is icky/upsetting but because a lot of it didn't make sense, such as why wasn't he searched for at all/treated as a missing person, not even perfunctorily?). I foun ...more
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