(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Earth approaches a portentous moment, a time of destiny which occurs only once in two hundred years. As most of her inhabitants live their lives in ignorance of the coming crisis, Earth, the Fifth Dominion, rapidly moves into alignment with the other four hidden worlds. When the dominions are aligned, a powerful magician might be able to blast through the void separating Earth from her four companions, bringing about the long-awaited Reconciliation.

However, not all who know of the alignment favor the Reconciliation, and the opponents are no less dedicated to preventing the joining than are those who favor releasing the earth from her darkness. Voiders, shape-changing killing machines from the In Ova, hungrily watch the escalating hostilities, as passion and ambition, horror and hope, mystery, magic, and monstrosities begin to converge upon the players.

John Furie Zacharias, better known as Gentle, pursues the assassin Pie ‘oh’ Pah, to discover instead a mystif, a sexually ambiguous creature whose function is to please others, and who leads Gentle into an epic journey through the dominions. Judith, too, discovers miracles in a blue stone, and crosses the void to a realm of desperation and intrigue. Finally the travelers reach the First Dominion and the Holy City of the Unbeheld, where the forces clash in a final conflict.

As always, Clive Barker introduces us to sympathetic characters in a plausible world, and then slowly, carefully, transports us to another realm, a world where the bizarre seems believable, and the unreal simply unusual.

The Plot

(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

The epic quest to reunite Earth with its four companion Dominions provides the story line for Clive Barker’s Imajica. The Four Dominions, which are already united, Earth, and the mysterious space between these worlds compose the Imajica. The Reconciliation, a ceremony that can be performed only once every two hundred years, will provide the power to reunite Earth and the Dominions and to heal the Imajica. As the story of the quest unfolds, the evil nature of the Unbeheld (the strongest god in the Dominions), the true pasts of the main characters, and the nature of the Imajica itself are revealed. The quest succeeds, and after the Reconciliation a new order rises out of the old to create a better world for all the inhabitants of the Imajica.

The quest begins in twentieth century England when Gentle, the Reconciler of the Dominions and son of the Unbeheld, is hired to save his former lover, Judith Odell, from an assassin, Pie oh Pah. Gentle saves Judith and discovers that Pie has the ability to change shape at will. A memory loss following the last attempted Reconciliation leaves Gentle unaware that Pie was once his servant. Gentle nevertheless feels drawn to Pie and the two become lovers, eventually marrying later in the novel. Their relationship and Gentle’s desire to understand his past, along with his wish to explore the Imajica, lead them to venture into the Four Dominions.

During the journey through the Dominions, Gentle...

(The entire section is 522 words.)