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Here is storytelling on a grand scale — the stuff of which a classic is made. Weaveworld begins with a rug — a wondrous, magnificent rug — into which a world has been woven. It is the world of the Seerkind, a people more ancient than man, who possesses raptures — the power to make magic. In the last century they were hunted down by an unspeakable horror known as the Scourge, and, threatened with annihilation, they worked their strongest raptures to weave themselves and their culture into a rug for safekeeping. Since then, the rug has been guarded by human caretakers.
The last of the caretakers has just died.
Vying for possession of the rug is a spectrum of unforgettable characters: Suzanna, granddaughter of the last caretaker, who feels the pull of the Weaveworld long before she knows the extent of her own powers; Calhoun Mooney, a pigeon-raising clerk who finds the world he's always dreamed of in a fleeting glimpse of the rug; Immacolata, an exiled Seerkind witch intent on destroying her race even if it means calling back the Scourge; and her sidekick, Shadwell, the Salesman, who will sell the Weaveworld to the highest bidder.
In the course of the novel the rug is unwoven, and we travel deep into the glorious raptures of the Weaveworld before we witness the final, cataclysmic struggle for its possession.
Barker takes us to places where we have seldom been in fiction--places terrifying and miraculous, humorous, and profound. With keen psychological insight and prodigious invention, his trademark graphic vision balanced by a spirit of transcendent promise, Barker explores the darkness and the light, the magical and the monstrous, and celebrates the triumph of the imagination.
This long second novel by Barker, whose first, The Damnation Game, was published earlier this year, is an unusual and not totally convincing mix of adventure and fairy tale. Barker envisions a race of fey folk known as the Seerkind who live undetected among mere mortals (whom they slyly refer to as the Cuckoos) until threatened by destruction. In response, the Seerkind weave themselves and their living places into a carpet, a magical riot of color and wonder known as the Fugue, which is then placed in the care of a mortal woman. Years pass, the woman grows old and dies, and her death signals to malign forces who wish to possess it that the Fugue is no longer protected. These are the demonic, immensely powerful woman known as Immacolata, her two ghostly, repulsive sisters, and her mortal cohort, the avaricious and power-hungry Shadwell. But the granddaughter of the Fugue's former caretaker manages to get possession of the rug, and so begins a long pursuit. A wealth of characters walk (or fly or crawl) through these pages, and the plot is a busy one. At times the story has a rather mechanical feeling, lacks conviction and excitement. Barker has less real emotion here than in his first novel, and has for the most part abandoned his trademark grisly details. Nevertheless, the book is often diverting and quite inventive. 100,000 first printing; $125,000 ad/promo; BOMC featured alternate.