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.
Will Rabjohns has everything. He’s handsome, he’s rich, and he’s revered as the world’s greatest wildlife photographer. He’s also a haunted man, driven to risk his life for his art – to capture the raw tragedy of the wild, the beauty of nature’s violence.
After a near fatal encounter with a polar bear, he lies in a coma. There he must relive a central childhood memory: a meeting with ancient and terrible forces which revealed to him the mystery at the heart of nature. And he realizes that if he awakes, he must confront the darkness of his past and wage a war, not only for his own soul, but for the soul of the planet and every animal that breathes upon it.
‘A gripping book that weaves a compulsive spell… vintage Barker’
‘Barker’s unique brand of eco-mysticism weaves as potent a spell as ever’
‘The premier metaphysicist of contemporary fiction. Breathtaking.’
About the author
Clive Barker was born in Liverpool in 1952. He is the worldwide bestselling author of the Books of Blood, and numerous novels including Imajica, The Great and Secret Show, Sacrament and Galilee. In addition to his work as a novelist and short sotry writer le also illustrates, writes, directs and produces for the 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 outre; 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.