It’s summer and Harvey Swick, a ten year old with an active imagination, is bored. That’s how he gets lured into Mr. Hood’s Holiday House. It’s a wonderful place that’s fun and exciting, where Harvey gets everything his heart desires, and where he and the other kids who live there can play all day every day and eat delicious food whenever they want. As the seasons fly by, Harvey is happy at Mr. Hood’s house until things start to get a little spooky and it starts to dawn on Harvey that the place seems unnatural. When Harvey tries to leave, the Holiday House gets downright scary.
I was thoroughly entertained by Clive Barker’s The Thief of Always and I suspect that most children and teens will easily identify with Harvey and, perhaps, will come away from the story with a new appreciation for the slow pace of what seems like their never-ending childhood. For that is the “moral” of the story: cherish your family and appreciate the time you have with them. Don’t be so eager for excitement and fun that you forget to savor the down-time you have with people you love.
The Thief of Always is a beautifully written short novel. The print versions are less than 300 pages and the audio version I listened to (Crossroad Press) is 4.3 hours long. Adam Verner does a nice job with the narration. I’d recommend this for all ages, but it’d be especially nice for a family to listen to together. There are horror elements (vampires and other frightening things), but any child who can handle Harry Potter can handle The Thief of Always.