Maximillian Bacchus is the ringmaster, ruler, guide, and owner of what he considers the greatest show in the world. Traveling with a crocodile named Malachi, a trapeze girl named Ophelia, a strongman they call Hero (which is short for Hieronymus), and a clown named Domingo de Ybarrondo, who paints in a wagon pulled by a giant ibis bird, the troupe wanders from adventure to adventure with mythic aplomb.
From the first story, in which Indigo Murphy, the best bird handler in the world, leaves the show to join in matrimony with the Duke Lorenzo de Medici, to the fabled court of Kubla Khan, the magic never stops. You will meet a young apple thief named Angelo with magic eyes, an orangutan named Bathsheba, and a host of other amazing characters with names and personas cut like a patchwork quilt from the mythologies and dreams of the world.
Though written 40 years ago, these stories are full of the same magical side steps that have always been woven into Clive Barker's fiction. These are worlds not quit our own, and yet so real they ring with truth and leave you wishing you could step from your mundane life into that other place - into those caves of ice - if only long enough to catch Maximillian's show.