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In the little town of Palomo Grove, two great armies are amassing; forces shaped from the hearts and souls of America. In this New York Times bestseller, Barker unveils one of the most ambitious imaginative landscapes in modern fiction, creating a new vocabulary for the age-old battle between good and evil. Carrying its readers from the first stirring of consciousness to a vision of the end of the world, The Great and Secret Show is a breathtaking journey in the company of a master storyteller.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780006179085
ISBN-10: 0006179088
Format: Paperback
(178mm x 111mm x 21mm)
Pages: 704
Imprint: HarperVoyager
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publish Date: 23-May-1990
Country of Publication: United Kingdom


US Kirkus Review » Barker's most ambitious work yet, topping even Weaveworld: a massive (560 pp.) and brilliant Platonic dark fantasy that details an eruption of wonders and terrors - as the veil between the world of the senses and the world of the imagination is rent in a small California town. The torrent of invention here is astounding In the First 44 pages alone, antihero Randolph Jaffe, a clerk at the Dead Letters Office in Omaha, discovers among the letters hints of a gloat esoteric knowledge called the "Art"; goes mad with lust for the Art, savagely kills his boss, and flees; wanders into a time loop beyond our universe to match wits with Kissoon, erstwhile guardian of the Art; in order to prove worthy of the Art, teams up with a top scientist, Richard Fletcher, to isolate the substance - the Nuncio - responsible for evolution; ingests the Nuncio, thus becoming transformed into a near-immortal, the Jaff; and goes to war with Fletcher, who's also partaken of the Nuncio. And all that is just prelude to the main conflict: the war that's fought a decade later between the evil Jaff and good Fletcher - a war that's witnessed by their children (spawn of their rape of four teen girls) and by a sympathetic reporter and his semi-girlfriend (the novel's hero), and that, played out against an all-American mall-bound town, threatens the order of our universe. For if the Jaff wins, and thus can practice - imperfectly - the Art, Kissoon will lead an invasion into our world of the lad, monstrous lords of a parallel universe separated from ours by the great sea of dreams, Quiddity. With monsters made of animated feces and of foul emotions at his command, the Jaff finally does win - plunging many folk into Quiddity, from which a heroic, transformed few will return to do final battle even as the terrible Iad draw ever closer to our world. Over the top and at times out of control; but the total impact is staggering as Barker creates (with borrowings, e.g., from Lovecraft) - in addition to a prime sex/gore fright entertainment - one of the most powerful overtly metaphysical novels of recent years ("mind was in matter, always. That was the revelation of Quiddity. . . Before life, the dream of life"). A major horror novel. (Kirkus Reviews)

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Author Biography - Clive Barker

Clive Barker was born in Liverpool in 1952. He is the worldwide bestselling author of the Books of Blood, and of numerous novels including Imajica, The Great and Secret Show, Sacrament and Galilee. In addition to his work as a novelist and short story writer, he also illustrates, writes, directs and produces for the stage and screen.

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