Washington Post Book World
Rich in plot twists, byzantine intrigues and hidden secrets, Imajica is a Chinese puzzle box constructed on a universal scale...Barker has an unparalleled talent for envisioning other worlds.
Barker's most ambitious work to date...rapturously full of emtions.
New York Daily News
Wonderfully entertaining...Clive Barker is a magician of the first order.
Book World Washington Post
"Rich in plot twists, Byzantine intrigues, and hidden secrets, Imajica is a Chinese Puzzle book constructed on a universal scale...Barker has an unparalleled talent for envisioning other worlds."
Dazzling metaphysical epic-adventure as Barker surpasses his previous ground-breaking work (The Great and Secret Show, 1989, etc.) to reconfigure the Fall and to imagine a modern-day attempt to reverse it. A complex cosmology underpins the vigorous, at times horrific, action here: "Imajica" is the known universe of five "Dominions," or parallel worlds, four "reconciled" but the fifth, Earth, "unreconciled"unaware of the other four, of the tyrannical "Autarch" who rules them, and of the "God Hapeximendios," who oversees all five (and who wrested "His" power from the "Goddesses" of old). Periodically, Hapeximendios has sent His "sons"including Christto attempt to unite, by magical rites, the Fifth Dominion to the others. The last attempted "Reconciliation" ended in catastrophean invasion of Earth by hellish powersand today magic has been nearly eradicated from Earth by a "Society" that alone knows of the Imajica and of the catastrophe. The densely woven story here opens with a jealous man venturing into London's dankest slum to hire an assassin to kill his estranged wife, Judith; the assassin turns out to be a "mystif," a fabulous creature from the Second Dominion, capable of appearing as the erotic ideal of any who behold it. As the mystif hunts Judith, it in turn is hunted by Judith's former lover, "Gentle," who in time learns that he is the new "Reconciler"and the mystif his long-forgotten servant. Undertaking dangerous, splendor-filled journeys through the other Dominions, Gentle and the mystif fall in love, marry, and encounter numerous fantastic creatures and, finally, death; later, Gentle helps dethrone the Autarch, learns the chilling secretof his and Judith's origin, helps free the Goddesses and slay God, and, back on Earth, inspires the destruction of the Society and undertakes Reconciliationwith hell-borne, then heaven-sent, results. An astonishing feat of the imagination, immensely engrossing despite its demandingat times indulgentlength, running riot with ideas, fantastical inventions, graphic sex and violence, soul- terrors, and emotional and intellectual resonances. Barker's best yet.
Read an Excerpt
From Book I
The Fifth Dominion
It Was The Pivotal Teaching of Pluthero Quexos, the most celebrated dramatist of the Second Dominion, that in any fiction, no matter how ambitious its scope or profound its theme, there was only ever room for three players. Between warring kings, a peacemaker; between adoring spouses, a seducer or a child. Between twins, the spirit of the womb. Between lovers, Death. Greater numbers might drift through the drama, of course thousands in fact but they could only ever be phantoms, agents, or, on rare occasions, reflections of the three real and self-willed beings who stood at the center. And even this essential trio would not remain intact; or so he taught. It would steadily diminish as the story unfolded, three becoming two, two becoming one, until the stage was left deserted.
Needless to say, this dogma did not go unchallenged. The writers of fables and comedies were particularly vociferous in their scorn, reminding the worthy Quexos that they invariably ended their own tales with a marriage and a feast. He was unrepentant. He dubbed them cheats and told them they were swindling their audiences out of what he called the last great procession, when, after the wedding songs had been sung and the dances danced, the characters took their melancholy way off into darkness, following each other into oblivion.
It was a hard philosophy, but he claimed it was both immutable and universal, as true in the Fifth Dominion, called Earth, as it was in the Second.
And more significantly, as certain in life as it was inart.
From Book II
Like The Theater District Of so many great cities across the Imajica, whether in Reconciled Dominions or in the Fifth, the neighborhood in which the Ipse stood had been a place of some notoriety in earlier times, when actors of both sexes had supplemented their wages with the old five-acter hiring, retiring, seduction, conjunction, and remittance all played hourly, night and day. The center of these activities had moved away, however, to the other side of the city, where the burgeoning numbers of middle-class clients felt less exposed to the gaze of their peers out seeking more respectable entertainment. Lickerish Street and its environs had sprung up in a matter of months and quickly became the third richest Kesparate in the city, leaving the theater district to decline into legitimacy.
Perhaps because it was of so little interest to people, it had survived the traumas of the last few hours better than most Kesparates its size. It had seen some action. General Mattalaus' battalions had passed through its streets going south to the causeway, where rebels were attempting to build a makeshift bridge across the delta; and later a party of families from the Caramess had taken refuge in Koppocovi's Rialto. But no barricades had been erected, and none of the buildings burned. The Deliquium would meet the morning intact. Its survival, however, would not be accorded to general disinterest; rather to the presence at its perimeter of Pale Hill, a site which was neither a hill nor pale, but a circle of remembrance in the center of which lay a well, used from time immemorial as a repository for the corpses of executed men, suicides, paupers, and, on occasion, romantics who favored rotting in such company. Tomorrow's rumors would whisper that the ghosts of these forsaken souls had risen to defend their terrain, preventing the vandals and the barricade builders from destroying the Kesparate by haunting the steps of the Ipse and the Rialto and howling in the streets like dogs maddened from chasing the comet's tail.