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A famous photographer lying in a coma holds the key to the salvation of the world. But first he must travel back into the traumatic events of his childhood. / Reissued in the sumptuous new series style of Galilee, Weaveworld and Imajica / One of Barker's crowning achievements -- a resonant and profoundly compelling novel of the loss of innocence, and the dark secrets of the world / Clive Barker to tour in Autumn 1999, which will boost sales through the following months / Superb blend of mainstream thriller with contemporary dark fantasy / Competition: King, Grisham

About the Author

Clive Barker was born in Liverpool in 1952. His earlier books include 'The Books of Blood', 'Cabal', and 'The Hellbound Heart'. In addition to his work as a novelist and playwright, he also iilustrates, writes, directs and produces for stage and screen. His films include 'Hellraiser', 'Hellbound', 'Nightbreed' and 'Candyman'. Clive lives in Beverly Hills, California.


A giant of horror strides toward mainstream fiction in this awesome but skewed novel. Not that Barker (Everville, etc.) has forsaken the fantastic and outré; but here, the premier metaphysician of dark fantasy mutes his usually riotous imagery, placing it in the service of an elegy for the natural world. He also creates his first proudly gay hero, Will Rabjohns, celebrated for his photographs of endangered species. Will's profession, as well as his sojourns in San Francisco's gay community, reflect the themes of the novel‘creation and, above all, extinction, both of animals and of humans, especially of gay men through AIDS. The story opens with Will being mauled by a polar bear and plunging into a coma from which he recalls his boyhood in England. In flashback, Will meets Steep, a gaunt, inhuman creature clad in human form, and Steep's lethal, lamia-like partner, Rosa. Steep's passion is to snuff species into extinction; his mate's, to give birth to her and Steep's progeny. Awakening from his coma, Will travels to S.F., then to England for an apocalyptic climax at a hovel inhabited by lost species and souls. Barker's prose is as fertile as always, and his characters are rubbed raw with life and death; but the story line lacks the narrative urgency and grand arcs of his other works. The symbolism can be strained at times. Likewise, despite the thematic paste, the gay and fantasy elements don't bond well, though both provoke moments of breathtaking drama. Even in this fractured tale, Barker presents an astonishing array of ideas, visions and epiphanies; but they're seen as if through a glass beveled and crazed. $175,000 ad/promo; simultaneous HarperAudio; dramatic rights: Sterling Lord Literistic; author tour. (July)

'A gripping book that weaves a compulsive spell! vintage Barker' The Times 'Barker's unique brand of eco-mysticism weaves as potent a spell as ever' Maxim 'The premier metaphysicist of contemporary fiction. Breathtaking.' Locus

Barker, known for his literate, imaginative dark fantasy (Incarnations, HarperCollins, 1995), tries his hand at more mainstream work here. Brilliant, gay wildlife photographer Will has spent his career chronicling death‘something he doesn't dwell on until an accident sends him into a coma. During his physical stasis, Will's mind explores the past, and he relives his life-altering meeting with the inhuman Joseph Steep. Steep taught Will the pleasures of causing death. Will lives Steep's memories and sees things that weren't intended to be remembered, which shapes the next 30 years of his life. But the eyes of an adult see differently from those of a child. Will awakens to new purpose: to uncover or perhaps recover a powerful artifact. Sacrament is not as inventive or all-encompassing as Imajica (HarperCollins, 1991) or The Great and Secret Show (LJ 1/90), but it should appeal to both established Barker fans and a more general audience. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 3/15/96.]‘Jodi L. Israel, Westwood, Mass

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