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The great and secret show : the first book of the art
Clive Barker
Adult Fiction BARKER

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Early in his new epic novel, Barker describes the thoughts of one of his characters as ``barbaric and baroque''--and the words fairly sum up the book. Down-and-outer Randolph Jaffe works in the dead-letter office in Omaha. Reading through the mass of mail, he finds clues to an alternative reality, the laws of which are called ``the Art.'' Mastering these principles, he becomes powerful but evil, and presses into service a man named Fletcher, who synthesizes a transforming drug, the Nuncio. Later understanding the corrupting nature of his creation, Fletcher rebels against Jaffe, and the two, now demigods, engage in a cosmic struggle. To enlist allies, each sires offspring (using the seed of mortal men), and their spiritual children help to carry on the bizarre battle. Though diverting, the novel is something of a potboiler, and despite its pervasive horrific imagery, it fails even to frighten us--or invite us to suspend disbelief. This is the first book of a projected trilogy. 100,000 first printing; $125,000 ad/promo; Preferred Choice Book plan main selection; author tour. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

Englishman Barker's latest novel, the first part of a trilogy, is an ambitious fantasy/horror fusion of dazzling scope which stands alone as a complete story. Nebraska postal clerk Randolph Jaffe works in the Dead Letter Room, opening and inspecting loads of undeliverable U.S. mail. Soon, through a series of cryptic dead letters, he taps into an ethereal network of mysterious revelations which provides access to enormous power channels. The customary battle of light forces versus dark forces commences, with greedy Jaffe heading the latter, and mad yet philanthropic scientist Richard Fletcher representing the former. Despite occasional and convenient lapses into nonsensical elements of fantasy which characterize too much of the genre, this original, intelligent treatment of a complex idea by the author of The Damnation Game ( LJ 5/15/87) and Weaveworld ( LJ 10/15/87) is amazingly believable and compulsively readable. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 10/15/89.-- Mark Annichiarico, ``Library Journal'' (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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