Read The Fall of the House of Cabal by Jonathan L. Howard Online


Johannes Cabal, a necromancer of some little infamy, has come into possession of a vital clue that may lead him to his ultimate goal: a cure for death. The path is vague, however, and certainly treacherous as it takes him into strange territories that, quite literally, no one has ever seen before. The task is too dangerous to venture upon alone, so he must seek assistance,Johannes Cabal, a necromancer of some little infamy, has come into possession of a vital clue that may lead him to his ultimate goal: a cure for death. The path is vague, however, and certainly treacherous as it takes him into strange territories that, quite literally, no one has ever seen before. The task is too dangerous to venture upon alone, so he must seek assistance, comrades for the coming travails.So assisted--ably and otherwise--by his vampiric brother, Horst, and by the kindly accompaniment of a criminologist and a devil, he will encounter ruins and diableries, mystery and murder, the depths of the lowest pit and a city of horrors. London, to be exact.Yet even though Cabal has risked such peril believing he understands the dangers he faces, he is still underestimating them. He is walking into a trap of such arcane complexity that even the one who drew him there has no idea of its true terrors. As the snare closes slowly and subtly around them, it may be that there will be no survivors at all.The Fall of the House of Cabal is the fifth book in Jonathan L. Howard's acclaimed Johannes Cabal series....

Title : The Fall of the House of Cabal
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781250069979
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 384 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Fall of the House of Cabal Reviews

  • Sean Gibson
    2019-03-10 03:57

    If Jonathan Howard’s wit were a grasshopper, it would be delicious and covered with chocolate, but also capable of leaping about hither, thither, and yon in patterns undiscernible to the human brain.Does that make any sense? No. Have I gotten 14 hours of sleep in the past 4 days? Zucchini.That said, I can’t think of a series that has made me laugh out loud more over the course of the past few years than this one, and I’m sorry to see it come to a close (if, indeed, it has come to a close). If this book didn’t quite reach the magical highs of The Brothers Cabal (which I previously waxed eloquent about), that’s more a reflection of the prior book’s chocolate-covered grasshoppery goodness than any particular deficiency in this book. Admittedly, there are a few long stretches here where not much happens (which has happened from time to time in the other Cabal books as well), but the parched-throat-dry humor and crackling dialogue make even those scenes a giggle-a-minute read (I’ll note that when I giggle, I sound something like an asthmatic kitten playing a kazoo, so Mr. Howard’s effervescent wit may be doing society, or at least the good folks who stand next to me while I read on the metro, a disservice). Give this series a shot—you won’t regret it (just be aware that the first book is not, as a whole, quite as delightful as subsequent volumes...the series goes from good to great).

  • Carol.
    2019-03-20 03:46

    So much is quotable here, so much extreme deliciousness.The Brothers Cabal are back together, each having done a bit of personal growth. One of the rewarding arcs of the series is how Johannes has thawed--just a little, mind you--in acknowledging brotherly affection, even displaying concern for boon companions."Here, Cabal paused. Yes, he had done good. By accident, as a by-product, by serendipity. But yes, he had done good. He just didn't see why people kept wanting to rub his nose in it."Howard doesn't spend much time rehashing past plots, noting that "In an ideal world, the reader would have the common courtesy to have read all the previous novels in this series and retained sufficient of the plot that a pithy summation would be unnecessary. As has been noted by observers more perspicacious than the author, however, it is far from an ideal world and a distinct proportion of those reading these words will have had more pressing matters than to avail themselves of the four novels preceding this one. To these people, the author says, 'Yes, four. You jumped in at Book Five. What are you like?'" Characters were interesting, particularly the delightful spider-devil Madam Zarenyia. Really--for the second time this year, I'm enjoying spiders--her personality sparkled through the pages and her joie de vivre had me laughing out loud. Thankfully, Howard's footnote sent me searching back to the story in which she first appeared, A Long Spoon , which was equally entertaining."'I do so hate all this shilly-shallying. May I get all leggy and start killing people now?''You may not, madam, but that time is drawing close.'She nodded sagely. 'Deferred gratification. I've heard about that. So this is what it feels like. Hmmmm.' She considered this new sensation. 'It's slightly irritating.'"Horst perhaps suffers more in this book as a foil to Johannes, a straight-man for the others' cleverness, and a stand-in for the reader. I missed his daring and active personality in this book, although he does get his moment to shine in the last section."'No?" Horst's expression was of somebody trying to play a game wherein the other player keeps 'remembering' rules that tip things in his favor."I generally love Howard's writing style, a take perhaps on the ornate styles of Victorian tales (my historical fiction experience is sketchy). It's structurally and conceptually complex, although with enough sarcasm, asides and social commentary to make it amusing, even more so when it switches from verbosity to bluntness."As he did so, the battle suddenly attenuated, its combatants thinning out like magic lantern projections when the curtain is drawn back and daylight re-enters the room. Now they looked like ghosts, and now they looked like suggestive shapes in the evening mist rising from the damp land, and now they were gone altogether.Cabal cared not a jot. His main concern was how on earth he was supposed to entertain himself for a full day in a place as devoid of interest as Perkis Moor. After all, it was only haunted, and the ghosts were boring."The plot centers on Johannes gathering companions and embarking on a journey to five different locations to open the door to eternal life. Not for himself, mind you. The different locations are a way to delightfully revisit settings of the prior books and try out different styles. It plays to Howard's strengths as a short story writer. The culmination of the quest is altogether satisfying, an ending I couldn't really have predicted, though a door was left somewhat ajar so what a tale may be continued. Personally, when I heard the series was ending, I promptly went to Howard's page to discover more, and from there went and joined a Patreon for his works. Such delightful writing should be rewarded.Four and a half stars, rounding up for... enthusiastic spiders.

  • Ivan
    2019-03-18 01:34

    I didn't want to end this but here we are at last page of Johannes Cabal series. During this funny, cynical journey filled with wit and sass Johannes Cabal, Necromancer of some little infamy and freelance sociopath, has become one of my favorite characters in fantasy rivaled only by Sand dan Glokta of the First law series and Death from Discworld series.Writing in this series is like a darker version of Discworld just instead of fantasy setting this series uses late Gothic and early horror as a main building material for it's settingWhile I enjoyed immensely first book it's in no way representation of quality of the rest of the series. When this series hits it's high points it's just marvel to read with dark humor, cynicism and wit flowing from each sentence. Also I loved that every book is quite a bit different from previous so there is no pattern forming and each book is fresh experience.In the end this series has earned place on my favorite shelf and special place in my heart.

  • Althea Ann
    2019-03-25 03:33

    It's really funny!!!This was my first Cabal novel, and I did NOT stop reading it in order to go fetch the earlier books in the series, even when I was ordered to by the author (in no uncertain terms, too!) I'm so sorry, Mr. Howard! (I was snorting out loud with laughter on the subway, though.)Regardless of the author's stated wishes, I think the book works just fine as a stand-alone. Plenty of needed information on past events and character development is provided, and I quickly felt like I knew all the characters perfectly well. Although it follows up on prior situations, it's very much focused on current action, and it's mostly a self-contained 'quest' tale.The necromancer Johannes Cabal has come across an ancient tome which has given him clues to the existence of 5 magical thingummies, which, if collected, may reveal a way to revivify his lost love, whose corpse is preserved under his house. He gathers a group to join him, which ends up consisting, in the author's words, of "something cheerfully devilish, something engagingly vampirical, something stoically witchy, and something peevishly necromantic." The adventure will take them not only into alternate realities but into the very depths of hell (where the Satan we know has been replaced by a petty jumped-up bureaucrat with an axe to grind...) Many thanks to St. Martin's and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this highly entertaining and humorous tale. (Correct reading order be damned, but I think I may have to loop back and find the others now.) As always, my opinions are solely my own.

  • Tim
    2019-03-13 07:59

    In Which a Necromancer of Some Little Infamy Settles a Few Loose Ends.I don’t really review book series. I don’t mean just on goodreads, but any website where I’ve reviewed anything. If I review any volume in a multi-part series, it is generally the first and before there is a second volume. I do this because if I review one volume, part of my mind makes an obligation to review them all.I have not reviewed the first 4 books in the series, but I will make an exception for Herr Cabal. He has most certainly earned it. I will not recap the previous 4 books (like Howard rather comically does in the beginning, I would only ask would be readers why they are starting at book 5 instead of reading the first 4?). I will include my brief thoughts on the previous books though, as it helps with understanding my own perspective when reading my review. Johannes Cabal the Necromancer: My discovery of this book was purely accidental. I was browsing my local Borders (back when they were still around, which certainly dates my experience with the series) and stumbled upon the book in their horror section. A brief look at the back and I had to blind buy it. I love it when books and movies can combine horror and comedy, and the description made it sound like it had a good shot of getting it right. To put it simply, it far exceeded my expectations. This is of the most enjoyable books I’ve ever read and made me a Howard fan immediately. I loved the villain protagonist Cabal and his pragmatic outlook (and yet sympathetic goals). The take on the classic carnival of discord idea was delightful (and the reference's to Dr. Diablo and Dark's carnivals brought a smile to my face as a horror fan). 5/5Johannes Cabal the Detective: Alternately titled by me at the time; In Which Johannes Cabal Tries Another Genre. To say the sequel was not what I was expecting would be an understatement. Not a complaint mind you, but I expected more of the horror/comedy of the first novel. Instead I got a steam punk detective story with a healthy dose of comedy. While initially there may have been some disappointment, I got over it quickly as Cabal was as witty and humorous as his first adventure. Another solid read. 4/5The Fear Institute: This is where Cabal and I parted ways briefly, though not by choice. There was a fairly long delay in this one being published in the United States. On more than one occasion I was tempted to import it, but I luckily stumbled upon a copy at a used bookstore. To date this is the only one of Howard’s novels I have not bought new. My thoughts on this one… well, it is the low point in the series for me and actually took me two tries to read it. It starts off wonderfully, with a delightful set up and interesting ideas... then when they actually enter the dream lands, I found it lost a lot of steam. It makes up for it with quite possibly the best ending in the series (and made the next book needed a.s.a.p.). 3/5The Brothers Cabal: The fourth book again changed the tone of the story (a recurring pattern as you no doubt noticed). This time it becomes much more of an adventure story, with about half of the book focusing on Johannes’ brother Horst. I have noticed some reviewers feel the novel suffers from this, but I found it rather refreshing to see Cabal’s world from a different point of view and I really do love Horst's view in contrast to Johannes. Something about this one really just really works for me, and it is my second favorite after the first novel. 4/5Now we come to The Fall of the House Cabal, the fifth and quite likely final novel in the series. This book has been something of an emotional rollercoaster for me, with Howard starting his introduction saying that he may not continue the series. As such I will be looking at this book not only as another Cabal novel, but examining it as a conclusion. Let us go with the reviewer's old friends (at least this reviewer's old friends) some pros and cons (Note: the cons will all be listed as spoilers, as I do give away a bit of the later plot).Pros:Howard has once again made this feel completely different from the previous Cabal novels, while making it flow smoothly. There are some wonderful nods to the earlier books, and a couple of scenes re-examined in an interesting way. Cabal’s character growth. He has come a long way from the literally soulless necromancer of the first book. It has been a long ride for him, and he has changed quite drastically, but it all feels like a proper evolution for the character. Some of his interactions with the characters are almost... emotional. Zarenyia. I cannot state how wonderful this character is and how much she added to the novel. Her enthusiasm makes for a wonderful contrast to Cabal and the fact that they get along makes it even funnier. Apparently she was introduced in one of the short stories I have not read. Despite this, Howard introduces her in a way that makes it apparent that she and Cabal have a history, but doesn't really confuse the reader... just makes one curious enough to find the short story. The writing. Howard has a wonderful way with words. The Cabal novels have a delightfully witty writing style where even the narrator is as sarcastic as the many characters. Some may call it overly verbose, but even that is at times played for laughs (and interesting to compare to Howard's much simpler Carter and Lovecraft book, showing it's a purely aesthetic choice for this series).Cons:(view spoiler)[Let us start with the worst one here; it is not a very fitting ending to the series. If this is indeed the last book, this is very disappointing as so many things are left unresolved. In fact, so many more questions about the side characters are presented that if it were not for Howard’s introduction, I would think this was a novel entirely about setting up future events. That hurts this one a lot given the presentation.The closing of the Red Queen storyline felt… extraordinarily anti-climactic. For someone who was supposed to be such a big threat/a nemesis to Cabal, she didn’t really make much an impact. Her scheme with the five ways seems like it could have been built upon more as well.While we're on it, the five ways could have been explained better. As things stand, how much is real, is still very much in question as we only have characters saying what is real to judge on (characters who have been wrong multiple times in the series). Again, this feels like it is set up for future plot lines. Normally this wouldn't bother me, but again, as being presented as the final book, this hurts it. (hide spoiler)]In conclusion: Despite my complaints, I truly liked the book a lot. In terms of ranking the books I would place it third after Necromancerand The Brother CabalThe biggest flaws of the book really are that it leaves way too many loose ends for my liking. Despite that, it is a very enjoyable read.I love this series. I honestly can’t think of a book series in recent years that I’ve liked more than it save for Joe Abercrombie’s First Lawbooks. Herr Cabal stands out as one of my favorite anti-heroes (or villain protagonist depending on the book). I enjoyed Howard’s Carter and Lovecraft and would love to see a sequel. If he decides to write a standalone novel or start a new series, I’ll buy it day one… but it is my sincere hope that one day he will come back to this one and the brothers Cabal will ride again.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>

  • K.J. Charles
    2019-03-08 08:47

    I love this series. It's hilarious and involving and Cabal is a glorious creation, and I have the biggest Horst Cabal crush, and a fairly big spider-demon-lady-succubus thing developing also. Don't start here. This is very much the culmination of a series, weaving in any amount of plot threads from the first four books in a hugely satisfying way. Start at the beginning with Johannes Cabal the Necromancer and relish some of the best comic-horror fantasy you'll read.

  • Melora
    2019-03-15 05:44

    I am under the impression that this will be the last in the Johannes Cabal series, and, as such, I found it extremely satisfying. Plenty of metalit-humor, helpful footnotes, and amusing adventures with familiar characters who have continued their developmental trajectories and become surprisingly lovable... creatures. The story takes its time about getting going, and there was, for me, a slow patch around the middle, in Hell (though the “slowness” might actually have been me and not Mr. Howard, and a function of my non-reading life intruding with annoying demands that I cook and clean for the holidays – it's hard to be sure), but it picks back up nicely and, as I said, the conclusion is really well done. During most of my reading I'd have given this four stars, but I'm feeling generous and warm about it now and am tossing in that last one as a “thank you” for such a nice resolution.

  • Ricky
    2019-02-24 03:50

    As a member of the Cabal Cabal, I confess myself a tad disappointed in this fifth novel in the series. This, I think, largely stems from the novel's relatively unfocused, scattershot plot, in which there were simply too many characters (besides those Cabal brothers) to keep track of, and even as they trotted the globe, it was only too easy to forget, sometimes, what the stakes really were this time around. That said, I didn't find it lacking in the signature Cabal dark humor, and there were quite a few welcome callbacks to previous Cabal stories, including the return of the Mirkarvian aeroship, the Princess Hortense.Though I hear Jonathan Howard's taking a break from this series, I still can't wait to see what he gives us next.

  • Christopher Farrell
    2019-03-20 05:55

    I loved this book and I'm so sad that it's over. Howard's writing is at its peak with this book - I laughed long, loud, and hard at several passages. The story of another adventure of Johannes is beautifully crafted, with every little sarcastic barb, clever quip, and acute observation adding something delicious to the general flavour of the novel. While I've sadly heard that this may be the last Cabal book, I feel it ended well, although with several loose threads I much desire to be picked up. Jonathan L. Howard has a Patreon active, and I urge all my fellow Cabal readers to donate. Let's let the man do his work.

  • Ярослава
    2019-03-14 05:34

    Одразу скажу, що фінальний великий бадабум малопритомний, але не буду вдавати, що це дитя грішної любові Е.А. По і Пратчетта читається заради сюжету. Мені подобається гуманістична, так би мовити, складова квесту: історія про дружбу й родини, які обираєш собі сам, припорошена чорним гумором, частинами тіла і літературними штампами (рушила в дорогу група лузерів - знеславлений некромант, його брат-вампір з мораллю, суккуб-напівжінка-напівпавук і дівчина, що хоче стати шерлоком холмсом, коли виросте - і до кінця квесту вони всі мають стати кращими людьми/вампірами/непонятною фігнею, кожен на свій спосіб; хто перший скаже "чарівник з країни оз", тому цукерка). Бонусна цукерка для нас, українців: країна-головне зло явно списана з Росії.Коротше кажучи, шкода, що вже дочитала цілу серію, мені її бракуватиме.

  • Bryce
    2019-03-10 04:55

    Reread Review, 2017The Johannes Cabal audiobooks have had a few different narrators, which really upsets the Type A block of my personality, that demands consistency and completion-ism in all things. But since I'm not able to go back and demand that Jonathan L. Howard just settle on one narrator and see it through, for god sake, the only thing left for me to do is rank my preferences in order: 1. Christopher Cazenove, Johannes Cabal the Necromancer. He gives Johannes the best German accent and really has a wide range of voices for the carnival. 2. Nicholas Guy Smith, Fear Institute and Fall of the House of Cabal. Johannes has a very slight accent here, but Horst's working-class English accent is a poor choice and terribly grating. 3. Robin Sachs, Johannes Cabal the Detective. Very droning. Review, 2016Johannes Cabal’s final novel – or at least, the final novel in this particular storyline. I don’t know if it was that fact, the end of one of my favorite necromancers, that caused me to read this book so slowly or… if this particular book was just not the greatest. Now, it was fun. Especially Zarenyia, a spider-lady demon with a love of life and murder. And the plot did pick up at the end. But the first half of the book involved Johannes and his brother Horst splitting up and setting forth to find the secret of Life. Splitting those two up was a bad idea, but even worse, Leonie returned and then also split from Johannes. Jonathan Howard was messing with my ‘ship and my sibling snarking in an inexcusable way! It’s nice that Johannes did grow a great deal from his initial appearance as a soulless carnival proprietor and the ending of this book was a surprising and perfect summation of that character growth – but at times, I missed the monster. I wanted him less floofy and more… shooty. Johannes hardly shot anyone in this book.

  • Ubiquitousbastard
    2019-03-24 06:43

    This is seriously the only book that I have actually felt like reading in a long time, and I am so glad that it didn't disappoint. Howard was at his very snarkiest throughout, to the extent that the preface was even enough to make me laugh out loud several times. Alright, I wasn't in love with the reappearance of Leonie, but the other supporting characters were magic (both figuratively and literally, now that I think of it.) Zarenyia in particular was almost always perfect, which is kind of surprising to me, but somehow Howard made it work.My only real issues with this book is the fact that the author has said that it may or may not be the last book, it depends on how he feels. That doesn't quite work with me in this case, being that (view spoiler)[ Cabal still hasn't revived his lady, and I sort of thought that was the point of everything that he did. So, since that isn't wrapped up, I really can't believe that the series is. For some reason, two very undeserving characters instead got to be brought back to life. I was like, no. (hide spoiler)]Oh, and one tiny little issue, George, Duke of Clarence, was not a rival of Richard III, he was his older brother. Richard was the youngest son, and all of his brothers were dead before he took the throne. George in fact actually rebelled against Edward IV more than once, and constantly undermined him, so it was in fact that king that had him executed. But other than that, the history was basically spot on.

  • Toni
    2019-03-08 03:37

    This is one of the most entertaining, and amusing novels recently out in the genre. In the narrative, in which the author often speaks directly to the reader via footnotes, there are twinges of Douglas Adams, a sprinkling of Monty Python, the occasional pun, and a dash of Richard Armour—all wrapped up neatly in Jonathan L. Howard’s own dry and very talented wit.If the reader has never had the pleasure of perusing any of the other novels in the Cabal series (though he is urged on page six—by the author himself—to stop then and there to go back and do so), he will have no idea what a delightful story this is going to be . . . and delightful it is, full of a fantasy-filled narrative punctuated with a plethora of wry and imagination-piquing words of more than four syllables—all of which will illuminate and educate the reader while entertaining. Truly an imaginative use of syntax.If you like paranormal novels containing characters with sly humor and pithy wit, The Fall of the House of Cabal, will definitely be your cup of tea.This novel was supplied b y the publisher and no remuneration was involved in the writing of this review.This excerpt is taken from the full-length review written for the NY Journal of Books online.

  • Lea
    2019-03-19 03:51

    Hopefully not the final chapter in the story of Johannes Cabal, this book takes us on a quest with Cabal and his companions (brother Horst, Leonie Barrow, Miss Smith, and the demon Zarenyia) to discover the Five Ways in hopes of finally finding a way to bring Cabal's wife back from the dead. While retaining much of the charm and hijinx of the previous Cabal books, this one takes a darker turn towards the end -- not in an unsettling way, but rather in a cinematic aspect, as Cabal is propelled through various pasts and futures on his way to the heart of the Five Ways. I found this book very slightly slower than the others in this series, at least until we reach the final part. It picked up again and regained a more familiar jovial tone. The author explored each character's experience on this quest individually, and I think that was what felt slower to me, as I found some characters more interesting than others. Don't get me wrong, they're all charming, but -- for me -- a little Horst goes a long way. Jonathan L Howard has left the door open for the possibility of another Cabal book -- fingers crossed!

  • Tzurky
    2019-03-16 06:59

    Neat little ending to the story, wraps everything up nicely while still leaving room for a sequel. The plot was interesting and the stage pieces were very diverse but it honestly wasn't that good a book. The reason for the 5 stars is Zarenyia and her interactions with the other characters which are uproariously funny.

  • Eileen
    2019-03-15 02:45

    I'm overwrought and thrilled, puzzled and delighted. One can never guess the trajectory of the next Cabal book based on the previous--it's one of the series' great appeals. SPOILERS. NOT KIDDING.After spending so much of the previous novel occupied with Horst's activities, I was glad to see our own necromancer back at the center of the fifth book, albeit accompanied by several companions. Zarenyia is a joy, of course, as is Miss Smith. It's good to see the genders of characters balancing out.I had hoped to see Leonie return with every novel following the Detective and she did not disappoint. Charming as Cabal is, Leonie is my favorite character by far. They make excellent foils for one another and I appreciate the uncertainty they provoke in each other. The flashback to the Princess Hortense was tantalizing in the extreme after 300-odd pages peppered with hints that the belligerent sexual tension of the first and second novels has yet to disperse. I strongly suspect that when Mr. Barrow was left dumbstruck by Cabal at the start of the novel, it wasn't simply because Cabal had told him he would die for Leonie, but that he also remembered his words to Cabal at the end of the Carnival of Discord, when he accused Herr Cabal of falling in love with his daughter. Leonie, naturally, is far too smart to ever fall for Cabal--which makes her all the more engaging a character for a female reader tired of those cliches (and yet entranced by the pairing specifically because they have been inverted). I wanted to see more of her and perhaps to see her cause more trouble for Cabal. I wonder what her trial indicated about her changing perspective on Cabal, since she seemed to be tracing his footsteps as much as her father's. If it is the nature of the Five Ways to offer some (perverse) version of what the contestants truly want, does Leonie want to be some kind of Cabal? I may have misunderstood part of this--I essentially read the book in one sitting overnight. It was obvious, of course, that Leonie would have to spend some time dead, and that Cabal would have to make the choice between reviving her and reviving his love. It didn't precisely play out in the manner I had predicted--which I prefer, anyway! I hate to see her part ways with the brothers, though--I am still waiting to read her reaction when she discovers how, precisely, Cabal became so very fucked up.I'm considering becoming a Patron on Patreon (is that what it's called?) to see more of Howard's work. I have heard the rumors that this may be the last novel Cabal and would do pretty much anything within my power to make sure this is not the case! I hold out hope that the next book may be a western.

  • Toni
    2019-03-15 03:45

    Despite a slow first half, the (possibly) final novel in the Johannes Cabal series is definitely worth the read! The story picks up from where the last book ended, namely, with Johannes and his vampire brother, Horst, having returned home with what Cabal believes is the final key to discovering his cure for death, "The One True Account of Presbyter Johannes by His Own Hand". After much deciphering, Johannes has discovered the Path to what some call the Fountain of Youth, but what he knows to be less obvious and more arcane. To obtain the prize, he and three others will have to go on a quasi-journey of discovery, and so he enlists allies he can trust: Horst, Miss Leonie Barrow, and a new face, Madam Zarenyia, a spider-she-demon with whom Cabal has had past dealings (she has a soft side for the necromancer). As I said, the first half of the book is rather slow: the four split in two, Cabal with Zarenyia, Horst with Leonie, in order to try and find their way, with every intention of meeting up. The four enter what can best be classified as spaces which resemble real or Dreamland-esque places, but are in fact merely illusions. There, they are tested in different ways in order to find the way out again. Of the two adventures, I found Horst and Leonie's to be the more dull of the two, and I didn't like how Horst suddenly turned into the half-wit comedic relief; he's better than that. For Johannes's part, his journey wasn't that much more exciting, although it gained interest with the addition of Miss Smith, whom we met previously in the Dreamlands. She thus becomes a permanent member of the consortium, if somewhat unwillingly. Once the four-now-five are reunited in a pseudo-London to face the nefarious Orfilia Ninuka, who is behind all of this, the pace really picks up, leading to a great climax. The resolution was surprisingly perfect. I say "surprisingly" because so much is left unresolved. There were a great number of questions left unanswered, and yet when I closed the book on the final page, I did not feel a lack; rather, I felt that it ended just as it should have. Indeed, the author says it best in his afterword, "And there you have it."If one were to compare this book to the first book, one would see a vast difference, not only in the feel of it, but in the characters themselves, especially Johannes. This could be because he didn't have a soul in the first book, but even so, his character is very different from when he made his first appearance. And I mean that in a good way; he still retains his infamous traits, but his humanity has since grown and strengthened, which makes for some interesting choices and rumination on his part. The author himself states in his preface that this book is as similar to the other volumes as they are to each other; namely, they aren't. Each one is its own entity, with its own personality. But I see the greatest variance in this last novel, and it is a deviation that enriches, rather than detracts, from the story. Do not be misled, however: this is not a happy book with a happy ending. It is a novel of multifarious degrees of emotion with the right and necessary conclusion. Hats off to Jonathan Howard for writing an amazing series.

  • The Irregular Reader
    2019-03-02 01:52

    Fair Warning: This review will include major spoilers for the previous four Johannes Cabal books, as well as several of the short stories. If you haven’t read any of the previous books, you really should stop now and click HERE.Now, on with the show.If H.P. Lovecraft and Douglas Adams had a lovechild, that gibbering lunatic is surely Jonathan L. Howard. Howard (who does borrow from the Lovecraft mythos) uses a sense of cosmic horror, peppered liberally with dry ridiculousness and wry humor to create something truly unique and fantastic. We are speaking here of Johannes Cabal.Readers of the previous books will know Johannes Cabal as a necromancer, formerly also the ringmaster of an infernal circus, foiler of despotic maniacs, wanderer of Dreamlands, and foiler of despotic maniacs’ daughters. He is the kind of cold-blooded analytical soul who makes Sherlock Holmes (and also Professor Moriarty) look like puppy hugging imbeciles in comparison.This fifth book finds Cabal hot on the trail of his ultimate goal: a cure for death. Clues left behind by an old defeated enemy point to a metaphysical path which leads (theoretically) to the fountain of youth. Cabal, never one to be turned from his goal once his mind is set, must recruit the help of his vampire brother, Horst, along with what allies he may call upon (you’d be right in guessing that the list is not long) to tread this path and finally achieve his heart’s desire.I am (obviously) a fan of Howard’s previous Johannes Cabal stories, and have been waiting quite (im)patiently for this one to come out. I’m pleased to say that I was not disappointed. Howard brings back a few beloved characters from previous books, and it is always delightful to watch the misanthropic Cabal navigate the world of human social interaction.So bottom line: if you’re a fan of the series, you’ll be quite pleased with the latest book, and should begin reading immediately. If you’e never heard of the series, you really shouldn’t have read this far. But as you are reading this, you should go get the first book in the series: Johannes Cabal the Necromancer, and begin reading immediately.The Fall of the House of Cabal is currently available for purchase.More reviews on my blog!

  • James Adams
    2019-03-20 03:33

    Reading the Johannes Cabal series has been one of the highlights of my year so far, and this fifth installment solidifies that. This may not be the best in the series (#3, The Fear Institute, holds that spot for me,) but this is a strong culmination, and possibly conclusion, of all that has come before.Many previous characters, both friend and foe, encounter the brothers Cabal in this volume, rewarding series readers. Even many of the short stories get call-backs, which is neat, but can occasionally feel like fan-service at the expense of momentum. These instances are fleeting, however, and I feel the pluses outweigh the minuses in this regard.The same cannot be said for the split narrative, though. Dividing the team limits the chemistry of its members, and focusing on each sub-team for a full adventure as opposed to cutting back and forth doesn't help. This problem is even noted, jokingly, in an aside by Johannes, but self-awareness isn't always enough.That said, the humor as a whole brings this book much higher than it could have been. This is possibly the funniest volume in the series, no mean feat, ad had me laughing out loud several times. Of course, said humor may not appeal to everyone, but those whose humor is a bit dark will have a blast.The humor does not detract from the stakes of the adventure, which is always a risk. No, the sense of adventure here is second only to that in The Brothers Cabal, while having the scavenger hunt feel of The Fear Institute.As noted, this is a culmination of the moods, styles and characters of the preceding books, and thus best serves longer-term fans. Newcomers would likely feel a bit lost. That said, fans are in for a treat, and if this proves to be the final book in this series, it went out on a high.

  • Hillary
    2019-03-07 08:52

    Johnathan L. Howard's subtle use of hints and clues neatly hidden in the previous four books and short stories (whether it was intentional or later incorporated as a part of the series grand design, is privy only to the Author. I bet he's very smug about this... ) created a work of Absolute (capital) Brilliance. All those coincidences, those quotes (some obvious, others less so), those sneaky deus ex machinas that, at the time were neatly shrugged off with entertainingly dry humour and exciting characters, suddenly possessed more importance to the conclusion of this fifth delightful book. I found myself picking up his previous books and re-reading certain lines of dialogue, chuckling at the intended hints. Makes me, and likley many of the other readers, feel foolishly clever. Even though, in truth, Howard had been quietly sitting on a throne of basalt, waiting to for us to figure it out and preparing a pleasant 'How about those apples, eh?' response to our blinking expressions.You little bastard. That was better than I expected.I hope that the journey continues for Cabal and his mismatched entourage of friends and foes. But if this is the last of the series, I'd say it was worth the wait, and its end was left satisfyingly open for the mind to wonder for years after.Good job, Howard.

  • Jon
    2019-03-14 05:47

    Oh Mr. did it again. I love that each book is both distinct, yet part of a larger whole (including the short stories). I love that Johannes is not just a cold necromancer, but an actual human with (somewhat of) an actual set of human reactions. Really, I just love this series lol. If you haven't read anything by Jonathan L. Howard, go pick up Johannes Cabal: The Detective. It's actually a bit funnier to me (personal opinion, your mileage may vary) and an easier introduction to the series without losing too much background. Then you can jump into JC: The Necromancer and it seems more poignant because of what you know that comes after. And like I say with every review of these books, you HAVE to read the short stories. It's not so much that you'll miss out on extra, related, information (although you will) but because you'll miss out on extra -laughs-. Everything is a piece of the whole, and you'll love all of it.

  • Miss Banana
    2019-03-22 04:51

    (I received an ARC copy from a friend who saw Howard at DragonCon so seeing as it has not been released yet we'll just say that everything included below is spoilers) This is by far not what I was expecting but is now probably by far my favorite of the series. I just absolutely adore the development that has gone on for Cabal from the first book, and I love all the moments where the Brothers Cabal could actually act like brothers. Also, I absolutely loved the references back to the other books. And for a book where we don't know if/when the next will appear, an all around satisfying ending.

  • minz
    2019-03-10 06:36

    Loved it, it was LOL funny to a guy with no sense of humor! My wife kept asking me what the heck I was reading. Horst was funny and this book was about half him. The story twisted back and forth faster than I could anticipate and it worked very well (except for one exception). Traditionally I can call where a book is going 5 pages ahead of time but not with this one. It was a cool and rainy weekend and I do not remember a time that I could not put down a book.

  • Candice
    2019-03-22 03:35

    Perhaps my anticipation of this book was too much to live up to, but I honestly didn't enjoy it as much as the first 4 in the series. I found the plot line a bit scattered and it just kind of fell flat. I hope this isn't the last we've seen of Johannes Cabal and I certainly hope the author fills in the missing pieces of the story line. There are too many unanswered questions and there is a gaping hole in the history with Leonie! Please step up your game Mr Howard!

  • Victor
    2019-03-15 07:43

    This is, absolutely and completely, my favorite series. I could not have asked for a better 'final' addition to the series, honestly-- it was quite fulfilling in that role, though still begs for another sequel. It's full of rich characters and witty banter that almost is almost always sardonic.

  • Sierra
    2019-03-09 01:50

    They found a quiet corner in which to compare notes. Horst's were mainly pictures of goats.

  • Owen
    2019-03-01 01:39

    Oh! How I feared that this book would be the end of Johannes Cabal's adventures. It could have been. Even with the assurances of the author in the preface, still did I wonder, "is this the end?"It is not. Once more, we see Johannes Cabal in a supernatural adventure in a world that is similar to, but definitely not the early 20th century England that we might have known. Our version has fewer zombies, vampires, demons, devils, lycanthropes, Elder Gods, ghosts, & witches to be sure. We do not have entomopters and I cannot find Mirkavia on any map.But that is OK. For this is the world of Johannes Cabal, a necromancer of some little infamy, and his quest for mastery over death.This is the fifth book in his series. It is definitely NOT the place to start. The reader would be consistently wondering, "who is this person? How do they know each other? Why is this happening?" It is highly recommended that a person read all four of the other Cabal novels. Furthermore, there are several short stories that take place between the novels. One of them, "The Long Spoon" introduces a character who is very important to this book. I had not read it before reading this novel, and while it was mostly understandable, a few references made me long to go find the short story before proceeding. But, as I had finished a significant portion of the novel by that point, I decided to soldier on. I do not regret that decision, but I felt it would be irresponsible of me to allow others to proceed without warning. The Long Spoon is available for free on, and all of the Cabal short stories are available on as purchasable e-books. After reading this book, I have decided that I shall read all of the Cabal stories in order, including the shorts so that I might get the full flavor of his adventures.But, the reader asks, will I like this newest book in the series?Have you enjoyed the previous? Do you like the wit and cynicism of Cabal? The occasional humorous footnote? Have you enjoyed Cabal's interactions with characters from the previous books? If so, this promises much of the same. And I enjoyed it immensely. There are moments, very few of them, where I felt that the writing had hit a mire and was slogging through. They were brief. And the humor and action picked up again forthwith. In particular, I enjoy seeing the evolution of Cabal and the next phase of his quest. While I am saddened that there will be no more stories for a while, I shall hope that this break will see even more work from Jonathan L. Howard. And I shall happily give his next work a try.

  • Jefferson
    2019-03-04 06:50

    What has been delicious about the Johannes Cabal series is that, though each book follows the necromancer of some little infamy and his adventures through the living, dead, and undead worlds, each book is also of its own style. The Necromancer is a Faustian horror story, The Detective an Agatha Christie mystery. The Fear Institute pays fealty to H.P. Lovecraft, and The Brothers Cabal is a action/adventure tale of war and politics. Yet the common denominator throughout them all has been Jonathan Howard's wry humor, place the word "comic" before each description and it holds true, though it is so much more: a "comic Faustian horror story," a "comic Agatha Christie mystery," etc.With the fifth book, Howard wraps up an arc that I didn't even realize he was following... characters, settings, plot points, and most especially styles from the previous books all come together. On the trail of his ultimate goal, the ability to restore the dead to life, Johannes unwittingly sets foot on the supernatural Five Ways. He and his companions (his vampire brother Horst, the she-devil Madame Zarenyia, former necromantrix and current witch of the Dreamlands Miss Smith, and the resourceful-but-mundane Leonie Barrow) each are tested and challenged in turn, leading them to a confrontation with the powerful Red Queen, Orfilia Ninuka. The plot is convoluted and doesn't quite make sense, but it doesn't matter... the style is the substance, and Fall of the House of Cabal has style in abundance. Each page drips with wordplay; even in the title, which leads you to assume one thing, ends up meaning another in the most literal and unexpected sense. An example that I liked:"I punched Satan!" Horst was all a-bubble with boyish enthusiasm."Yes, you did, darling, and I'm sure we're all enormously proud of you. But now, see, Satan is coming after us, and I fear he will be in a frightful bate.""Yes, true. Still, pow!"The five-book arc is neatly wrapped up, with a few dangling threads that can lead to an extension of the series at some point in the future. For now I think Howard is concentrating on another series of books that pay homage to Lovecraft, but I hope he returns to Johannes Cabal sooner then later. This has been great fun.

  • Brittany
    2019-03-16 01:00

    This book...this book, this book, this book. The last novel of the Johannes Cabal novel...It was FANTASTIC. I loved every bit of it and I really want Jonathan Howard to write more from this series because I'm starving for more and I just wanna read more about Cabal and Horst and Leonie and Zarenyia-everyone. And splitting it up to five parts...OMG I LOVED EACH AND EVERY PART. Espically the Great Detective part, when Horst became human for a moment and ate bacon while they were investigating the death of Maximilian Maleficarius, which was saddening and also a bit funny because of Horst eating the bacon...but I have to say, the star of the book has to be Madame Zarenyia, my sister from another mister. Even her quotes were funny and spot on:"You’re telling me,’ muttered Zarenyia, drifting at the edge of consciousness. ‘Johannes has one, you know. Terribly clever with it. He got me my sweater. Lots of fish. So many fish.’ Her voice faded into sub-vocalized semi-words.""Hello darlings!“ said Zarenyia as she breezed back into Satan’s throne room, a shambling, scuttling sound in her wake assuring her that Ratuth Slabuth was following. ‘Forms signed, bona fides authenticated. You will be delighted to hear that I am now declared a legal visitor to the scenic heart of Hell. Hooray for me!" "Scrawny creatures, aren’t they? Still, a soul’s a soul.’ She sighed. ‘I am making myself ever so available, and I’m getting for my troubles is a lot of frightened looks and scuttling. Haven’t they ever seen a gorgeous woman before?" "Do you suppose this is part of the trap, too?’ Zarenyia weighed up the possibilities. “I must say, as traps go it’s a little bit lazy, isn’t it? Tiny it short in the bait department. Why would we want to go in there?’ She squinted, her inhuman senses apparently able to make something out of the pervading shadow. ‘Oh, it’s all right, after all. It’s not trying to get us to go in. It’s letting something out. Much better." And the ending, when Horst because of dhampir (yay!!!) and I FINALLY found out that woman in the coffin's name (Berenice, what a lovely name) and I really do reconmend this series a whole lot!!

  • Cheri
    2019-03-02 04:54

    Jonathan L. Howard is my new favorite author. I am being totally honest to say that it is difficult for me to be objective when it comes to his work. I am devastated that this is the end of the Cabal series (despite postscripts that clearly indicate that Johannes has more work to do). I loved this book, however, and I thought that it was a fitting conclusion to my beloved series. I would rank it just below the first book in terms of my personal enjoyment of the work. The addition of the entomopter pilots as characters really did a lot for this book, I thought, as other than Johannes and Horst, there often aren't very many "sympathetic" characters in the books (other than Leonie Barrow, who I really miss and should have her own series) that make you want to root for them. As an aside, Jonathan L. Howard should be applauded for his ability to create strong story lines, smart dialogues, and three-dimensional male and female characters (where warranted...some are intentionally unidimensional). If you don't read his books now, start immediately.