Once again Clive Barker breaks away from the genre labelling tag of a `horror author' for which he has been undeservingly stamped with since his early work. With Galilee, Barker takes to a new path with a beautifully written story of love that dances with the celestial and magical throughout. Indeed, elements of his past work such as `Sacrament', `Imajica' and dare I say even the `Book of The Art' novels are clearly visible within this epic tale.
With an obvious dedication of passion and love to his lover David Armstrong, Barker has crafted a deeply emotional and poetic tale that delves the deepest Barker ever has to date, into the sheer importance of love, revenge, power and lust. Deliberately throwing added weight towards the emotional states of each character within the story, Barker brings out such full-bodied and life like characters that form the main crux of the tale.
Written by way of the hand of one of the books almost secondary characters, the story follows the lives of two powerful families, whose paths have intertwined throughout history. One of these families (the Barbarossa's) is more godlike than they are human. The other family (the Geary's) are extremely wealthy and powerful business men whose unsympathetic lives mirror that of many of the more dramatic circumstances that surround the storyline. One interlocking individual for the two families is the outcast by the name of Galilee. This character, to which the writer shows immense love for, was obviously based on Barker's lover David Armstrong.
The flow of the storyline, the intertwining subplots, the poetic use of words throughout, and the magnificent characterization, all form the main thrust to the novel. The developing storyline, with its carefully constructed delivery (by way of a historical account of the two families), is mere mortar to the stonework that is the passion of each character within the tale.
Barker clearly took great joy in creating and developing on each one of the characters, setting down detailed histories for each, setting their individual places within the families and indeed the tale itself.
For imagination alone, `Galilee' is a joyous novel to read, but with the carefully crafted and beautifully delivered love for each character, the novel as a whole is breathtaking. Indeed, this is not like any other piece of work by Barker, yet it still holds strange elements of many pieces of his work. Almost a contradiction in itself, but after reading the novel, I am sure that many of you will agree with that very statement.
The novel's ending is extremely open, paving the way for the sequel which has a preliminary publication date of December 2009. Having just read the novel for the second time after a good ten years, I have once again fallen in love with each one of the characters that draw you deep into this magical story of romance and revenge.
The novel runs for a total of 804 pages and was released back in 1998.