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Carrion Comfort

Length: 39 hrs and 27 mins
4.2 out of 5 stars (190 ratings)

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Summary

"Carrion Comfort is one of the three greatest horror novels of the 20th century. Simple as that." (Stephen King) 

"Epic in scale and scope but intimately disturbing, Carrion Comfort spans the ages to rewrite history and tug at the very fabric of reality. A nightmarish chronicle of predator and prey that will shatter your world view forever. A true classic." (Guillermo del Toro) 

"Carrion Comfort is one of the scariest books ever written. Whenever I get asked the question Who's your favorite author? my answer is always Dan Simmons." (James Rollins) 

"One of the few major reinventions of the vampire concept, on a par with Jack Finney's Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Richard Matheson's I Am Legend, and Stephen King's Salem's Lot. (David Morrell) 

THE PAST...

Caught behind the lines of Hitler's Final Solution, Saul Laski is one of the multitudes destined to die in the notorious Chelmno extermination camp. Until he rises to meet his fate and finds himself face to face with an evil far older, and far greater, than the Nazis themselves...

THE PRESENT... 

Compelled by the encounter to survive at all costs, so begins a journey that for Saul will span decades and cross continents, plunging into the darkest corners of 20th century history to reveal a secret society of beings who may often exist behind the world's most horrible and violent events. Killing from a distance, and by darkly manipulative proxy, they are people with the psychic ability to "use" humans: read their minds, subjugate them to their wills, experience through their senses, feed off their emotions, force them to acts of unspeakable aggression. Each year, three of the most powerful of this hidden order meet to discuss their ongoing campaign of induced bloodshed and deliberate destruction. But this reunion, something will go terribly wrong. Saul's quest is about to reach its elusive object, drawing hunter and hunted alike into a struggle that will plumb the depths of mankind's attraction to violence, and determine the future of the world itself...

©2009 Dan Simmons (P)2011 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

What listeners say about Carrion Comfort

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Long, long, log... but good!

I really like Dan Simmons, even though I think he's got a serious problem with editing his books. Still, I think he's a good enough writer to get away with it, and he does it again in Carrion Comfort.
This is a sad, painful portrayal of power and corruption, and what it does to common people. Now blend in agroup of absolutely psychotic, sick minds and you have the makings of an excellent thriller.
If you enjoy long tales and not-so-happy endings, this book is for you.
If you've read Simmons before and didn't enjoy it, this is definitely not for you.
I, myself, loved it!

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Compellers, but maybe not vampires...

A man and two women meet up congratulating themselves on their game prowess, one boasts at actually having killed John Lennon and JFK, compelling strangers to do their dirty work. An Auschwitz survivor is struggling to find the Nazi commander who compelled him in a sick sacrificial game of human chess during WW2.

Various individuals, having lost loved ones or been effected by the crazy trio, band together to stop them once and for all. A long, but brilliant listen.

4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Page turner

Totally different to what I expected. Had this not been such a lengthy book I would have listened to t in one go! I'll look for more books by this author, and the narration was excellent too!

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Absurd!!

Utterly brilliant. To be honest I was skeptical to start it took me a while to get going but by the end it had me hook line and sinker! Brilliant writing by Mr Simmons and Narration does it justice!

A long haul but worth every minute!

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Long but wow

Completely captivating from the start, great narration, and the story line kept me enthralled all through the 39 hours. Loved it

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Even better than Summer of Night

I can't believe I missed this masterpiece! I have read and reread Summer of Night several times over the years, and I always enjoy Simmons' story telling. Then, through Audible's recommendations, I discovered Carrion Comfort. Some reviews say it is too long at just under 40 hours. I am almost sad it was over so soon! The characters are described so vividly you feel like you know them personally, no matter if they are good or bad people. And the plot has enough plausible connections to the real world to be believable and relevant. Although it would have been even more so had I read it closer to its original publication date. Like Summer of Night, I am going to enjoy listening to this book again in a few years. The narrators also deserve credit for bringing the characters to life, both are excellent at that. Thanks for the recommendation, Audible!

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Really enjoyed this

A great twist on vampires, and a good mixture of narrative and pace. Once it gets going, it hurtles towards a satisfying end.

1 person found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Long, so looong

I wonder if the people who gave this a high rating simply are in denial; are they just refusing to not like it, since that would mean they've wasted 39 hours?

Up until the 35 hour mark I still thought that this book could turn out to be worth the time. A good, solid ending could make me walk away with a positive feeling about it. I was wrong. There are a couple of really intriguing ideas, but they're drowned by mediocre rest. You could easily have cut out half of this book. I wonder if there was no editor at all working on it. It's not that the book is totally aweful. A very much shortened down version of it could maybe be pretty enjoyable.

There is no way I'm going to listen to anything by Simmons unless it's under 10 hours now. I don't know if I'm going to listen to anything by him at all...

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

I could feel my life force being drained.

I'm deeply relieved to be finished with 'Carrion Comfort'. Not because I found it hard to handle or oppressively creepy, or because it got under my skin, all things which I'm sure Dan Simmons was aiming for, rather because it's frustratingly poor.

Whilst the concept is intriguing and the author releases much of its wicked potential, the words themselves limp out like wounded animals. Barely a passage went by without a sigh, shake of the head or roll of the eyes as another description or piece of characterisation clunked and died before me. It also displays a distastefully leering attitude to women and sex at various points.

Recommended, however, if you're a fan of lines which go 'This was the most [adjective] [noun] that [character name] had ever [verb]'. There are hundreds of them. Everything is 'the most' this or 'impossibly' that. Still, i've learned as i've progressed. Observe: This is the most frustrating, long-winded book I have ever read. It's unnecessarily long and, at times, impossibly annoying.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A dark and capturing book

This is quite a long book but it seemed to fly past in no time at all. When I finish a book I usually start another book pretty soon afterwards. But, with Carrion Comfort, I wanted to wait a while to let it settle and so that I could think about the amazing journey I had just finished. I have an image in my head that appears relatively early on in the book and which became suddenly more meaningful at the end. The scale of the plot is extraordinary and it is a pure, dark delight to read (or to have read to you - and brilliantly by Mel and Laural too!). Dan Simmons is rapidly becoming one of my favourite authors!

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  • The Altinutt
  • 05-11-19

Idk who needs to see this, but TRIGGER WARNING

I won't wade in on the whole story, plenty of others have. I know it's cringe-y and everybody hates them, but trigger warnings are useful sometimes. This book is one of those times. This book contains extremely graphic descriptions of rape. What's perhaps more uncomfortable is that the scenes are mostly described from the rapist's point of view, and written as very sexy. As a sexual assault survivor, I would have liked to know this beforehand. The first scene, which involved a teenage girl, took me off guard as it continued for what seemed like forever, describing in detail her mind-controlled body. It made me feel very anxious. None of the top reviews I read before purchasing this book mentioned these scenes, so I was not prepared. So for whoever needs to see this, if you are sensitive to scenes depicting rape, this might not be a fun listen for you.

44 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • LillyO
  • 02-01-12

Long, sure...but GREAT story!

I see other reviewers a bit put off by the length of this story. I had the thought "wow, a compelling story that the author took his time with!" What a bonus! I didn't find a single part boring. I liked how he took his time with a complicated tale. I liked the story development in between bouts of action. In typing this, I would compare it to the Steigg Larsen series...I like some story and character development with my "action sequences." I have not read Simmons' other books (for which he is apparently more famous) but this one piqued my interest in perusing more! The narrators were both excellent, too!

48 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Robert
  • 03-07-12

Simmons at his best

As I said in my review of The Passage by Justin Cronin, had I known the book was about vampires, I would have taken a pass. And, as I said in that review, it would have been my loss. This really is not a book about vampires, per se, as we have come to think about them, but a variation on the theme and it was excellent. I selected this book because another reviewer had written that he thought Carrion Comfort was the best that Dan Simmons had penned. I would certainly rate it close up there with his Magnum Opus Hyperion and Endymion. It was that good and that is saying something.

The book is one of Simmons early works apparently derives its title and many of its themes from a poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins. I am also not a fan of WWII books about Nazis. This also was not what the book was about per se though it does give us the background on the main villains of the story and villains they are like perhaps we have never come upon before. That theme also is somewhat of the thread that permeates and ties things neatly through the book as it continues to America in 1981.

Saul Laski is one of a few of the heros in the tale of whom some survive and others do not. Saul is both predator and prey. Though old in 1981, he somehow manages to rise to the occasion and present a challenge to some of the most nightmarish scenes I have ever read. And, no, I am not particularly a fan of horror books either but I am a fan of Dan Simmons and will probably read anything he comes out with.

Some of the accolades and awards the book has received include Bram Stoker Award winner 1989; British Fantasy Award winner, World Fantasy Award nominee, 1990. Some have commented on the length of the book. I would not have shortened it one page. I often find unnecessary passages in books but this is not one of them. The book was thoroughly entertaining after about the first couple of chapters which, on hindsight, were just as integral as the others.

The narrators of this epic were extraordinary. This is a book made for listening to by gifted storytellers. Mel Foster acts Saul, Willi and the other men and some of the women. While I find men acting women’s roles can sometimes be impossible to pull of, Mel foster is impeccable in his narration. Laural Merlington plays the role of Melanie, the most arch of villains. She is vicious, scarier than $#it and made even more so by the incredible acting voice of Ms. Merlington. I could not rate either narrator more highly.

Bottom line if you can’t handle scary, skip this one. If you love great writing and like it complex and epic in scale, don’t miss it.

138 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • David Shear
  • 02-11-11

So worth the commitment

Yes, this book is 39 hours, but I loved it from beginning to end. The two narrators become truly invisible, allowing you to just concentrate on the story. The story has enough twists and turns and surprises to keep you guessing, but not so many that you get lost in the 39 hours. You'll love some characters and hate others and change your mind on others. I usually can come up with something I don't like about a book, but for this one, it is near perfection.

49 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • M. S. Valdez
  • 26-02-14

Edge-of-the-seat thriller!!!

A fantastically delicious novel of centering on some truly despicable and vile creatures that the main protagonist refers to as "mind-vampires", people that can invade a person's mind and control their actions.

What makes this book an absolute must-listen are the performances by Mel Foster and Laural Merlington. These two talented narrators are like chameleons in how well they can change to another voice and inhabit that character, especially Merlington. Her reading of Melanie Fuller is one of the best I've listened to.

While the story became a bit contrived towards the climax and seemed to fall into plot convenience, it more than makes up for that in an action-packed finale. This will not disappoint!

11 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Lewis Teeter
  • 11-07-20

RUN FROM THIS BOOK

I'll admit I'm a bit of a snob when it comes to what I like to read but every now and then I'm forgiving of talent for a good scary story. I figured, 'Forty hours? Must be a well thought out story'. Wrong. I lasted up to chapter 7 out of 78 chapters. Even in that short time I spotted many mistakes and plot holes one could walk through, The writing would get a failing grade in Junior High and the characters were so stereotypical I just wanted to laugh. This book reads like the diary of an incel who fantasizes about hypnotizing women so he can do what they would never allow (2 occur by chapter 7). I'm going to give you the sentence that was the last straw for me in hopes of sparing you the torture of this tripe. This comes from the thoughts of country cop Bobby Joe Gentry (I kid you not) as he's being followed. "There was more than one green Plymouth in Charleston...But with Maryland plates?..sneered the 'copwise' part of his mind". If after reading that you still think this book is a good idea I hope you enjoy it. I'm sure the next 71 chapters couldn't possibly get worse than that.

4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Chris
  • 04-12-13

Keeps you glued to the earphones

This offering from Dan Simmons is more of a horror thriller than a strictly sci-fi genre book. Ordinarily I wouldn't have listened to this book, but having recently listened to the Hyperion series I decided on the strength of the storyline to give it a go. Needless to say I wasn't disappointed, despite the lack of "sci-finess" (or fantasy) which I usually look for.

This is a long book and understanding Simmons penchant for long and involved descriptions, almost rambling sometimes, he still builds a wonderful and gripping story that begs you to listen to the next chapter.

Simmons provides an interesting twist on the vampire theme now so common in print and video and with this being written almost 25 years ago, the variation is quite unique. In addition he skillfully blends in historical events and presents questions of morality that help to build the depth of the main characters in the book.

The bad characters are so horrible, they are almost likeable. They do the bad things you expect and the good guys are presented with situations that question their ethics and morality. Questions that still very relevant in today's society.

The narrators do an excellent job. The point of view swaps between first and third person depending on the character, but is consistent and works well as intended by the author.

The book and historical material is deep, insightful and well researched, giving great support to the overall premise of the storyline. If you wear a tin-foil hat you might almost believe it!

Overall a great book and worth the time to listen to a great yarn from an outstanding author.

14 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Vira
  • 24-08-12

Captivating!

A masterful thriller, packed with suspense and intrique which kept my unflagging interest through all 5 Parts. It had me thinking and questioning the limits or boundaries of what human beings are capable of doing to one another, within a given set of circumstances. Are there any? A frightening thought.

Narration was excellent and unobtrusive, by both readers, the voices well-matched with the characters. The only criticism i would have, is Mr Foster's inability to read the German phrases. Simple rudimentary elements such as the phonetic structure of the alphabet are misread. The German glyph for double 's' is read as an 's' not a 'b'. "Dass...dass" should not be rendered as "dub, dub". The least bit of research would have elminated such ridiculous pronunciation.

I tend to evaluate a book by 2 sets of criteria: My own subjective enjoyment, and then also by literary standards.

From a literary standpoint, this is a good book, but not a great book. The characters are uni-dimensional. The good guys are angels, the baddies are rotten to their grotesque evil cores. No nuances; black and white like the chess board of the "game".

All round, i thoroughly enjoyed it and can recommend it as a captivating read.

17 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Brian
  • 18-10-11

A classic

This is one of the all time classic horror novels. Well read, thought it would be long but I wanted more. Fascinating concept.

26 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Denise Dalrymple
  • 23-06-18

Not so great

I think Dan Simmons is a brilliant writer and so I was surprised how much I disliked this. I forced myself to listen to the whole thing. The prose is great, the voice performances are top notch. The story is awful, filled with stereotypes, trite plotting, too much killing off of sympathetic characters, implausible side plots, and it is TOO LONG. There are easily three stories uneasily meshed into one. My advice is to skip this one and read or listen to his other work.

10 people found this helpful